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Energy, charisma and more than two hours of hits - Green Day brought the goods when they visited Melbourne

Translating a musical act that, at its core, is based on stripped back punk rock to a giant stadium rock show is no easy task. To balance straightforward, raw songs with enough of a spectacle to fill an arena stage without becoming a Spinal Tap-style farce is a burdensome task that few bands have entered the league of even having to deal with.
 
With the 30 year career of Green Day originating from the pop-punk explosion of independent bands in the mid-‘90s to the band’s revival in 2004 with the inescapable rock landmark American Idiot, the band’s core has remained the same throughout their storied career from backyard punk shows to stadiums.
 
Opening the night was Los Angeles-based pop-punk ska act The Interrupters. Taking their cues directly from ‘90s mainstays Save Ferris and Dance Hall Crashers, the entire set was a throwback to the drastically outdated sounds of the yesteryear. While it was clear that the band was completely transparent in their influences and style, it remained puzzling as to how much new energy and innovation could come from a style of music that didn’t make it to the new millennium. The band was tight and well-rehearsed for a big stage, yet their friendly-faced nature and cartoon soundtrack sound did little to bring a rock‘n’roll edge to the show.
 
Opening with a string of new singles, Green Day took the stage greeted by a completely captivated crowd. Driven by the charisma and energy of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, the sheer ability of the band to bring that much energy to a show after three decades was remarkable.
 
With a set that lasted over two hours, featuring tracks from all eras of the band and all fan favourites, Green Day’s chemistry with each other and the crowd was like little I’ve ever seen. While the band had the massive backdrops and pyrotechnics an act of their calibre can indulge in, there was a refreshing looseness to the performance, with the organic and natural sound of a good rock band coming through clear as day.
 
While countless bands playing stages that size rely on backing tracks and precisely programmed light shows, the band could have easily put on the same show at a venue a fraction of the size. It’s rare that this reviewer ventures to giant arena shows like this, and I was admittedly skeptical of an “uncool” band like Green Day delivering such an impressive show, but damn it they were great.  
 
Words by Joe Hansen
Image by Ian Laidlaw
 
Highlight: Seeing classics When I Come Around and Longview for the first time live.
Lowlight: Room temperature gin and tonic in a plastic cup.
Crowd Favourite: Any and all from Dookie or American Idiot.