Monday, August 24, 2009
Green Day at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas
I have lots of fond memories of attending Lollapalooza in 1994 in San Diego. It was headlined by the Smashing Pumpkins and the Beastie Boys who both turned in amazing sets.
I was excited to see those bands but was particularly interested in showing up early to catch a punk band from Berkeley called Green Day. Green Day was on the verge of breaking big and rambled through a batch of songs that was one of the many highlights of the day.
It was thrilling to be in a full arena of crazed screaming fans/kids at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas to watch the Berkeley trio put on a full on rock show lasting two plus hours and blazing through a two page setlist.
"21st Century Breakdown" kicked off the chaos as I needed a skateboard to keep up Billie Joe Armstrong (Vocals/Guitars) who was bounding around the stage. It didn't take long for him to run out into the bleachers to play guitar in the midst of the adoring fans. Green Day never relented throughout the evening as they tackled "Know Your Enemy".
I find it interesting that they employed Butch Vig on their latest album. 21st Century Breakdown is constructed like a huge arena rock album and plays out like one brilliantly. Billie Joe doesn't use an army of guitar pedals and may not be the most talented guitarist but he sure as hell knows how to write songs and perform them live.
It would be remiss to not mention his comrades in arms Tre Cool (Drums) and Mike Dirnt (Bass) who make up the engine and wheels of the driving machine that is Green Day. The only thing missing was a Tre cam to show all the funny faces that Tre would make while he was drumming. Mike would pace the stage with his Fender bass tearing through song after song.
"Holiday" was an explosion of fireworks and a barrage of power chords with the crowd furiously chanting along. Green Day may be one of the best in business in terms of crowd interaction by pulling up fans on stage to play guitar or to sing along giving a few lucky fans the time of their life.
One of the many comical events occurred during "Longview" when a female fan was unable to recite all the lyrics to the song leading to a really young fan who replaced her and owned the stage. I give him an 8 out of 10 on the stage dive after he finished the song.
The hits didn't stop as they ran through "Basket Case", "She", "American Idiot" and another fan assisted "Jesus of Suburbia". Billie did slow things down momentarily for an acoustic lead ballad of "21 Guns" and "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" which I never would have predicted back in 1994. I am only surprised they aren't playing a bigger place than the Forum for the Los Angeles stop.