On Thursday night, Green Day made their long-awaited official return to the road at the Allstate Arena in suburban Chicago. I was there both as a professional (you can read my full critical take on the show in next week’s issue of EW), and as a longtime admirer of the group whose fandom has waxed and waned over the course of their career. Below is a series of musings about the scene that was.
1. Green Day performed a handful of club dates leading up to their South By Southwest showcase, but this was the first show of the proper arena tour (dubbed the 99 Revolutions Tour, after the track on ¡Tre!) the band was supposed to start a few months ago. Though frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has been in rehab for the last few months, there were no references made by the band that they had ever been away. It was business as usual, without any nods to the news.
2. Just because the band ignored it didn’t mean the crowd did as well. There were a handful of signs held up by fans on the GA floor expressing their support of Armstrong through his recovery. One read: “You are always here for us, now we’re here for you.” There was also a guy who brought a cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber, a reference to Armstrong’s infamous on-stage rant in Las Vegas last fall—the incident that led directly to his rehab stint. (Too soon, dude!)
3. Even if the show wasn’t strictly sold out, the band will most certainly make up the difference in merch: The lines for T-shirts (and hoodies and hats and copies of Kerplunk on vinyl) were huge, which meant that the bulk of the crowd missed opening act Best Coast in favor of snagging gear. READ FULL STORY »