Green Day - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto - August 18th, 2010
by Laurie Lonsdale
Photography by Mike Bax
Most Green Day fans are well aware of the band’s superb stadium presence and command of their live performance. But it’s possible that even the most schooled fan was unprepared for Green Day’s frenetic 3-hour long Toronto appearance last night, packed full of favourite tracks from the band’s catalogue of music and a myriad of other things to keep the crowd on their toes throughout the show. What the California punkers might have lacked in structure, they more than made up for with fun-loving antics, pyro, and an unheard of amount of audience participation that made it one of the most interactive shows I’ve seen in a long time.
A presumably drunken pink rabbit staggered on stage to get the crowd warmed up and managed to set the tone for the hijinx that would ensue. Soon, the newly blonded-up Billy Joe Armstrong charged out in red and black striped pants, a black shirt and white tie, and doggedly paced while band members assumed their positions. Instructions that included “Toronto, get up off your ass!” kicked the show into gear and saw the almost-full-to-capacity venue rise to its feet. The outrageous energy that accompanied the opening numbers of “Song of the Century/21st Century Breakdown” continued into “Know Your Enemy”, and saw Armstrong leave the stage and proceed to run through the crowd. “East Jesus Nowhere” included plucking a nine-year-old boy from the audience to be saved by Billy Joe the televangelist. On cue, the child collapsed, and when pulled back to his feet, informed Armstrong that his name was Sawyer. That gave way to the band striking a few chords of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” while Armstrong smiled wide and commented that the boy had just given him a gift.
Playing to a mixed crowd with an obvious age span, the band successfully varied the set list with old and new material. Songs from the band’s Dookie days proved to be crowd pleasers and caused fans to dance in the aisles, while staple favourites like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “When I Come Around” had them singing along.
Unexpected riffing on borrowed material gave way to a short medley’s worth of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, Rush’s “Fly by Night”, AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love”, after which Armstrong stood with arms outstretched awaiting audience praise. But that wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last that he would pose dramatically for an extended period, in anticipation of crowd reaction.
In addition to inviting approximately 50 fans on stage at one point, other audience participation included having a male fan sing “Longview” in its entirety. Surprisingly, he did the song justice and with a decent amount of stage presence, causing Armstrong to reward him with his guitar.
A close-up on drummer Tre Cool gave fans a quick glimpse at a look of concern, but whatever he was momentarily focused on, it quickly passed. Soon, he was having as much fun as bassist Mike Dirnt and frontman Armstrong, who continued to deliver ongoing antics, including soaking the crowd with hoses, firing T-shirts from a hand-held cannon, toilet papering the first few rows with an automatic shooter, and donning crazy costumes.
The show slowed somewhat towards the end of the main set when the band lay on the stage to play bits and pieces The Stones “Satisfaction” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”, and then ran around while the Benny Hill theme played. But they quickly got things back on track for “21 Guns” and “Minority” to round out the key portion of the show.
Two encores ensued, giving fans the much-anticipated hits of “American Idiot”, “Wake Me When September Ends” and “Good Riddance”. Considering “Riddance” is often better known as “Time of Your Life”, it was a fitting end to the show, considering everyone had certainly had the time of their life; audience and band included.
1. Song of the Century
2. 21st Century Breakdown
3. Know Your Enemy
4. East Jesus Nowhere (feat. Tom Sawyer Guitar Riff)
6. ¡Viva la Gloria!
7. Give Me Novacaine
9. Are We The Waiting
10. St. Jimmy
11. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
12. Nice Guys Finish Last
15. Dominated Love Slave
16. J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)
17. Paper Lanterns
18. 2000 Light Years Away
19. Hitchin' A Ride
20. When I Come Around
21. Iron Man/Eye of the Tiger/Sweet Child O' Mine/Fly By Night/Highway To Hell/Ain't Talkin' Bout Love Medley
22. Brain Stew
25. Basket Case
27. King For A Day
28. Satisfaction/Hey Jude/Shout
29. 21 Guns
Jesus Of Suburbia
Last Night on Earth
Wake Me Up When September Ends