'Green Day in Green Bay!!!' Any time there was a lull in the excitement from the crowd, that's all singer Billie Joe Armstrong would have to yell. It was always met with a roar of approval. It's hard to believe that in the thirty-one years that the band has existed that this was their first time in Titletown. Their fans were more than ready to welcome them.
I believe this is the first time there has ever been a 'pit' area at the Resch Center. Much like how concerts used to be, it's basically a large open area in front of the stage. In the pit fans can mosh, stage dive and surf. Although there was a lot of pyro and explosions, it seemed as though that most of those effects were reserved for some of their new songs that weren't as familiar as their hits. It's brilliant really, as that kept the energy level up during the lesser known songs. Several times they invited fans up on stage sing, play guitar, and stage dive. Most memorable was twelve year old Henry from Milwaukee, whom came up and played guitar while the audience went wild.
The songs off the new Green Day release, 'Revolution Radio', blended very nice with their other anthems. Songs like 'Bang Bang' and 'Youngblood' are simple and catchy enough to have those not familiar with them to be singing or chanting along by the end of them. The band was tight and sounded amazing. Billie Joe's voice was dead on and crystal clear over the bombastic sound that Green Day creates. Drummer Tre Cool was rock solid and came out from behind the kit a few times, once to sing the classic frat jam 'Shout'. Bass player Mike Dirnt was the least animated of the three, but still put on a great show while playing spot on.
I have to admit, my knowledge of the band is limited after the release of their breakthrough release 'Dookie' in the mid-nineties. Then they were a punk rock trio that took the world by storm. I'm familiar with all of their radio hits through the years, but I was secretly hoping to hear their classic songs. They did not disappoint! Of course they played that albums big hits 'Longview', 'When I Come Around', and 'Basket Case'. But they also pulled out lesser known songs 'Burnout' and 'She'.
Some claim that Green Day is a punk band. But this was NOT a punk rock concert. Yes, there was a pit. And while a few tried to mosh near the end of the night, it was short lived. Punk rock concerts do not have a keyboard player, back-up singers, and a saxophone solo playing the Wham hit 'Careless Whisper'. No, this was more of a love feast by a band that modified their punk roots and infused it with rockabilly and ska. The connection between band and fans could literally be felt in the air. There were times that the crowd was singing along so well that Billie Joe stopped and listened, urging them to continue.
Considering Green Day was on stage for two and a half hours, the time went by quickly. As rowdy as the crowd was, there was surprisingly very few incidents. According to the staff at the Resch Center, the crowd was tame compared to the craziness at some of the past country concerts. Perhaps that is because that Billie Joe willed the crowd to stay with him, matching his energy song after song. He definitely knew the right words to say every time to get a cheer from the crowd.
They saved one of their biggest hits for the end of the night. 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)' was the fans last chance to sing along with their heroes. The neon green sign behind the band proclaiming GREEN DAY changed to GREEN BAY, a fitting nod to the crowd that yelled and sang along with them for hours. With the welcome they received, I think it's safe to say that future Green Day tours will roll through Green Bay once again.
- Photos taken by Freddy Cantu