This summer they’ll be playing some of the biggest arenas in the world, including two nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden. But last night, Green Day performed an electric set comprised largely of their new album, 21st Century Breakdown, for a lucky — and relatively miniscule — audience of roughly 1400 at the city’s historic East Village venue Webster Hall.
Presented as part of MySpace’s The List concert series (300 MySpace users were issued free passes; the rest were able to watch it stream live on the site), the show kicked off promptly at 9pm, and rarely let up for the next two hours. Now eight albums into a 22-year(!) career, the Bay Area punk-pop trio are as tight and well-oiled as any band out there today, and it shows in a live setting: From the first notes of the album’s title track, the group — aided by several backup players, including a guest saxophonist — went hard and fast, stopping only to incite the crowd to call-and-response singalongs, and for frontman Billie Joe Armstrong to throw out phrases like "This is f—in’ religion right now, this is rock ‘n roll," bounce from the amps like a Tigger in black guyliner, and demand that security remove the f—in’ boxes near the stage that were f—in’ keeping him from the fans he wanted to get f—in’ closer to. Naughty mouth!
Nearly all the album’s high points were hit, including first single "Know Your Enemy," "The Static Age," "!Viva la Gloria!," and "Last of the American Girls," though a few slower paces were allowed, as when Armstrong announced, "We’re going to do a little campfire song" for the relatively ballad-esque "Before the Lobotomy," and later, the soaring "21 Guns."
Just when it seemed that Breakdown would be hogging the night’s entire set list, the band returned to the stage with the title track to their 2004 monster-smash American Idiot, along with "Jesus of Suburbia" and "St. Jimmy," a track from the group’s largely unknown first E.P., 39/Smooth, as well as a fan request from 1992′s Kerplunk!, plus favorites from 1994 breakout Dookie, including "She," "Longview" and "Basket Case." Not content to leave the house without a cover (or two), they also launched into the Isley Brothers’ "Shout" and Cheap Trick’s "Surrender" before finally bidding the ecstatic, exhausted room goodnight.
If you’re in the New York metro area — and you’ve got ninja ticket skills — you just might be able to make your way into tonight’s "secret" show at PC Richards & Theater; otherwise, they’ll be making the rounds on Letterman and Colbert in the next few days, hitting up the Today Show Friday morning, and kicking off their official summer tour July 3 at Seattle’s Key Arena. Tell us, Music Mixers, will you be joining them?
More from EW’s Music Mix:
Green Day dominates the albums chart with a single weekend’s sales
Blink 182′s first comeback performance on ‘Leno’: Did you watch? Do you care?
What’s the loudest band you’ve ever seen (or been deafened by)?
Linkin Park returns for new ‘Transformers’ tune: Welcome back?
‘True Blood’ exclusive: CC Adcock’s "Bleed 2 Feed"