Green Day / The Interrupters
Quodos Bank Arena, Sydney 08/05/2017
Quodos Bank Arena, Sydney 08/05/2017
Do you like Rancid? And Operation Ivy? Then you like The Interrupters now. This LA four-piece were the perfect team to be tasked with crowd-warming duties tonight, an upbeat, upstroke-heavy ball of Californian summertime vibes.
The Green Day catalogue from 1994-2004 is pretty much invincible, a cavalcade of "oh I love that song" and "man, I forgot how good this one is". While the quality of their output beyond that wavers drastically - let's try to forget that time they put out three albums in a year without a single good song - you can't fault the band for wanting to play some fresh stuff.
On the surface the current Australian tour is in support of their latest album, Revolution Radio but at this stage everyone knows that a Green Day show is very much a greatest hits experience and once the obligatory run of the title track and big single "Bang Bang" (which works surprisingly well live) was out of the way, the hair-dye heavy core trio (and several helpers) got down to the business of joyfully pummelling the crowd with exactly what they wanted.
With a long runway out front so frontman Billie Joe Armstrong could immerse himself in a sea of clambering fans whenever the moment called for it (it seriously looked like something out of The Walking Dead at points) this was a full stadium rock experience: pyrotechnics, enormous banners dropping away to reveal a never-ending stream of other enormous banners, pulsating lights, costume changes, medleys, you name it.
But do they really need it? They're tight, nimble, energetic as ever and have the songs'n'chops to back it up. The pageantry actually does more to hold the show back than advance it, Armstrong's reliance on the audience singing the old "hey, oh" got tired about five songs in, and he still felt he needed to do it another 17 times before the lights went up post "Good Riddance".
Having seen them tear the roof off at no-nonsense secret show at The Captain Cook Hotel in Moore Park a few years ago, we know how phenomenal they can be when it's just about "four chords and the truth"... and maybe second guitarist Jason White... but definitely not the extra back-up vocalist or the keyboard player or the 10ft high synchronised flames. All the bells, whistles and cover songs leave the show straddling a strange line between a blistering pub gig and a Vegas revue: enormously fun but a little bloated and very silly. Hidden somewhere in the middle of the two-hour spectacle was a perfect lean hour of pure pop-punk power.
However, there is one gag that never gets old: the handing off of the mic or guitar to a shaking super fan to join in with the band. Only those with the blackest of hearts didn't feel a surge of joy when a teenager got the mic for "Longview", hugged Armstrong harder than anyone has ever before and absolutely ruled the verse before a run'n'dive back into the moshpit.
Beyond all the stadium trimmings, Green Day are a band that continue to provide us with the healthy reminder that all you really need is a handful of power chords and some solid pals to have an exceptionally fun time playing music. The message being that you're never too old (or young) to let the gleeful, scrappy kid with a guitar within run free. Oh and "fuck Donald Trump". That also got a few airings.
The monstrous 25-track setlist, though sans a few notable older cuts - "Welcome To Paradise" and "Brain Stew" were sorely missed - delivered comfortably for anyone who's been anywhere near an FM radio in the past two decades.
The feverish punch with which those hits were served up ensured we'll all be snapping up tickets again next time - hell, maybe they'll play "Geek Stink Breath" or parachute in from a golden helicopter. Our vote is for the former. Or both. People seem to like both.