Aug. 10, 2005
Green Day Kicks off American Tour Chicago Style
By Randy J. Klodz
The past year has been a smash success for Green Day. It’s not often
a punk or alternative rock band earns a Grammy, but the 2004 album “American
Idiot” earned the band a Grammy win for “Best Rock Album,” and while the album
has been out for almost a year now, Green Day kicked off one of its largest
tours ever at Allstate Arena on Aug. 10 with a bang.
Green Day—which includes Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals, guitar),
Mike Dirnt (bass) and Tre Cool (drums)—used the spacious confines of
Allstate Arena to throw in some tricks such as firework blasts, fire towers,
the wave, a binge drinking pink bunny, and Armstrong’s patented crowd interaction
during the band’s nearly 2-hour set.
With the crowd interaction comes Armstrong once again taking the stage
to begin Green Day’s set atop his stage monitors with his arms raised outward
in the fashion of a cross as the sold-out Allstate Arena crowd roared.
As successful showmen do during large venue concerts, Armstrong had his
way with the crowd, and it loved every minute of it. Upon completion of the
set’s opener, the hit “American Idiot,” Armstrong started the wave throughout
Allstate Arena reminiscent of one that could be found at U.S. Cellular Arena
or Wrigley Field.
A sincere Armstrong wasted no time as he greeted the Chicago-area crowd
in a way that showed the band’s absolute appreciation for its strong support.
“This is the first show on our American tour, and what better place to start
it than Chicago,” he said. “We’ve been a band for over 16 years now, and we
come to Chicago year after year after year, and it just gets better and better.
Thank you all very much.” He later commented: “I hope the Bears win the Super
Bowl, the Cubs and White Sox win the Word Series, and the Bulls…get Michael
And as ring leader, Armstrong kept the music coming. During “Hitchin’
A Ride,” Armstrong often paused and got the crowd to repeat chants of “Hey
Ohhhhhhhhhh” and “Hey Wowwwwww,” occasionally holding a vocal note to last
30 seconds each. The crowd complied and enjoyed a set list that included “Jesus
of Suburbia,” “Longview” “She,” and the new single “Wake Me Up When September
Ends” among others.
Green Day also invited several fans onto the catwalk stage. Before blasting
out hit song “Brainstew,” Armstrong invited a teenage boy up to the stage
and instructed the boy on how to shoot water into the crowd. The boy complied,
and sweaty fans in front got cooled off. Another surprise ensued when two
young male fans were brought on stage to play guitar and drums during Green
Day’s cover of the Operation Ivy song “Knowledge.” A young female also played
with the band, where she assumed bass guitar duties. Armstrong rewarded her
performance with his guitar as a gift.
Other surprises included a rousing version of Chubby Checker’s “Twist
& Shout” and a heart-felt version of Queen’s “We Are The Champions.” Armstrong
ended the set with a solo version of one of Green Day’s most mellow numbers
“Time of Your Life,” and a confetti shot covered a majority of the arena.
A spectacular performance such as this shows that although Green Day
has earned a Grammy, plays to sold-out crowds worldwide, and has been together
for nearly two decades, the band still finds ways to keep its dedicated fans
The current tour is scheduled to close on Oct. 9 when Green Day invades
Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. For more information on Green Day log
on to www.greenday.com