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Green Day stays (mostly) politically positive at explosive Des Moines show

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  • Apr 04
    Green Day stays (mostly) politically positive at explosive Des Moines show

    It was all smiles in Wells Fargo Arena Monday night.

    Smiles on the 20-something couple in the back row, singing every word and holding each other tight during the ballads. Smiles on the fans pinned against the barricade as every fiery explosion ignited from the back of the stage. Even the ushers could be seen grinning, bobbing along to the music.

    And that’s what Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wanted when he and his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band invaded Iowa’s biggest indoor venue for two-and-a-half hours of non-stop energy. Playing 27 songs, including the nine-minute “Jesus of Suburbia” and a 10+ minute rendition of “King For A Day,” the band brought a ruckus unmatched by any in punk and few in modern arena rock. Pulling an estimated 8,700 people to the arena for the show, the band stopped in Des Moines as part of the “Revolution Radio” tour, which shares a name with the group’s 2016 No. 1 Billboard-charting record.

    Known as a group not afraid to share opinions, Armstrong established early in the set that Monday night would be a positive show, not one weighed down by political banter. During 2004’s “Letterbomb,” the fifth song of the evening, the 45-year-old, black-haired performer frantically told the crowd the evening’s show was first and foremost about having fun.

    “Tonight, brothers and sisters, tonight is about having a … great time,” he declared. “It’s about humanity. No more lies. No more conspiracies. No more corruption. We’ll all have each other's backs in Iowa.”

    But, still, in the same speech, he found a place for a subtle jab at the administration to which he’s shown consistent opposition.

    “You know what tonight is about? It’s about us coming together as human … beings because this country was not reserved for big, fat men in ties that go way too long,” he said. “Do you feel me?”

    Leaving the tone-setting address in the rear view, Armstrong and his band, consisting of bassist Mike Dirnt, drummer Tre Cool and a core of tenured backing musicians, went full-force into Green Day’s discography, striking fans with hit after hit from the band’s multi-decade career of international success.

    The music hits as hard as ever: Despite having been decades since many of the tracks were released, the band’s numbers from “Dookie,” such as “Burnout,” “Longview” and “Basket Case,” still sound snotty and sardonic. The loud, ambitious numbers from 2004’s “American Idiot,” such as “St. Jimmy” and “American Idiot,” still sound anthemic and head-turning. The mischievous banter from “Nimrod,” like on “Hitchin’ A Ride,” felt as clever as it did in the 1990s. The band relied heavily on “American Idiot” and “Revolution Radio” material, playing seven songs from the former and four from the latter, but also managed to fit in two numbers, “Waiting” and “Minority,” from 2000’s criminally underrated release “Waiting.”

    Green Day last performed at Wells Fargo Arena in 2005, on a tour supporting “American Idiot.” Fans had been waiting 12 years, through multiple record cycles, for the group’s triumphant return and Armstrong assured the 8,000+ onlookers it would be a night worth the anticipation.

    “Des Moines … it’s been way, way too long,” Armstrong said at one point. “By the end of the night we're going to be Green Day: from Des Moines, Iowa. I’ll tell you that right now.”

    Enough flash and bang for 10 shows: Green Day isn’t a band that wants to take an arena and make it feel small or intimate for its fans. The Oakland-born group does just the opposite ... making a mere arena feel larger-than-life. Pyrotechnics explode during nearly every song; Armstrong runs fervently across the stage at any given moment to lead the crowd through chants of “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and “Hey-oh!”; there are even instances where the antics go as far as Armstrong spraying the crowd with a water hose and launching merchandise into the crowd with a t-shirt gun.

    The booming riffs of songs like “Are We The Waiting” and “Still Breathing” were made to be heard in the world’s biggest venues and the band doesn’t try to undersell that.

    “Singing together and dancing together ... that’s what we should be doing,” Armstrong tells the crowd. “I don’t wanna talk about war. I want to talk about love and singing and dancing.”

    Full review at The Des Moines Register: HERE

Brian's picture
on April 4, 2017 - 4:25pm

It was all smiles in Wells Fargo Arena Monday night.

Smiles on the 20-something couple in the back row, singing every word and holding each other tight during the ballads. Smiles on the fans pinned against the barricade as every fiery explosion ignited from the back of the stage. Even the ushers could be seen grinning, bobbing along to the music.

And that’s what Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wanted when he and his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band invaded Iowa’s biggest indoor venue for two-and-a-half hours of non-stop energy. Playing 27 songs, including the nine-minute “Jesus of Suburbia” and a 10+ minute rendition of “King For A Day,” the band brought a ruckus unmatched by any in punk and few in modern arena rock. Pulling an estimated 8,700 people to the arena for the show, the band stopped in Des Moines as part of the “Revolution Radio” tour, which shares a name with the group’s 2016 No. 1 Billboard-charting record.

Known as a group not afraid to share opinions, Armstrong established early in the set that Monday night would be a positive show, not one weighed down by political banter. During 2004’s “Letterbomb,” the fifth song of the evening, the 45-year-old, black-haired performer frantically told the crowd the evening’s show was first and foremost about having fun.

“Tonight, brothers and sisters, tonight is about having a … great time,” he declared. “It’s about humanity. No more lies. No more conspiracies. No more corruption. We’ll all have each other's backs in Iowa.”

But, still, in the same speech, he found a place for a subtle jab at the administration to which he’s shown consistent opposition.

“You know what tonight is about? It’s about us coming together as human … beings because this country was not reserved for big, fat men in ties that go way too long,” he said. “Do you feel me?”

Leaving the tone-setting address in the rear view, Armstrong and his band, consisting of bassist Mike Dirnt, drummer Tre Cool and a core of tenured backing musicians, went full-force into Green Day’s discography, striking fans with hit after hit from the band’s multi-decade career of international success.

The music hits as hard as ever: Despite having been decades since many of the tracks were released, the band’s numbers from “Dookie,” such as “Burnout,” “Longview” and “Basket Case,” still sound snotty and sardonic. The loud, ambitious numbers from 2004’s “American Idiot,” such as “St. Jimmy” and “American Idiot,” still sound anthemic and head-turning. The mischievous banter from “Nimrod,” like on “Hitchin’ A Ride,” felt as clever as it did in the 1990s. The band relied heavily on “American Idiot” and “Revolution Radio” material, playing seven songs from the former and four from the latter, but also managed to fit in two numbers, “Waiting” and “Minority,” from 2000’s criminally underrated release “Waiting.”

Green Day last performed at Wells Fargo Arena in 2005, on a tour supporting “American Idiot.” Fans had been waiting 12 years, through multiple record cycles, for the group’s triumphant return and Armstrong assured the 8,000+ onlookers it would be a night worth the anticipation.

“Des Moines … it’s been way, way too long,” Armstrong said at one point. “By the end of the night we're going to be Green Day: from Des Moines, Iowa. I’ll tell you that right now.”

Enough flash and bang for 10 shows: Green Day isn’t a band that wants to take an arena and make it feel small or intimate for its fans. The Oakland-born group does just the opposite ... making a mere arena feel larger-than-life. Pyrotechnics explode during nearly every song; Armstrong runs fervently across the stage at any given moment to lead the crowd through chants of “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and “Hey-oh!”; there are even instances where the antics go as far as Armstrong spraying the crowd with a water hose and launching merchandise into the crowd with a t-shirt gun.

The booming riffs of songs like “Are We The Waiting” and “Still Breathing” were made to be heard in the world’s biggest venues and the band doesn’t try to undersell that.

“Singing together and dancing together ... that’s what we should be doing,” Armstrong tells the crowd. “I don’t wanna talk about war. I want to talk about love and singing and dancing.”

Full review at The Des Moines Register: HERE

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