At most festivals, the headliners do nothing for me. In fact, I very often leave early during them. But for the past two days I’ve stayed until the festival closed because the headliners where that good. Yesterday I lauded Lady Gaga for her energy level and creativity. Today those very same awards go to Green Day. I don’t know that they can top My Morning Jacket for best rock and roll show, but they put on basically the best, most energetic rock show I’ve ever sen.
I would say that at every moment since 1994 there’s been someone, somewhere on earth that’s listening to Green Day. They’re iconic and they’ve managed to remain very important to the high school age group for almost two decades. I like to joke at the record store that their fan base hasn’t changed ages since their formation. If you know a 15-year-old who isn’t into Green Day, I don’t want to meet ’em.
And the front row was full of youthful fans. They sang along to everything and kept the show’s energy flowing. Billie Joe is a great frontman, but I get the feeling that he’d be nothing if he wasn’t getting back energy from the crowd. Not only did he take energy from the crowd, he also took one fan up to sing along. Then, he told all the photographers to put down our cameras and catch the kid when he took a stage dive. I don’t who looked the most surprised, the photographers, the venue security or the kid on stage. Security pushed us out of the way and the kid took a very impressive leap.
After photographing Phoenix, I came back for round two of Green Day. Shortly after I got back, they launched into one of the longest covers medleys I’ve ever heard. They did snippets of “Satisfaction,” “Hey Jude” and more, all during the skeleton of “Shout!” It might have been a bit of a time-waster, but it was a ton of fun.
Bottom line, Green Day have gotten even better since I saw them nine years ago. Sure, they’ve been around a while (BJA’s opening joke: “Welcome to Lollapalooza! After us is the Smashing Pumpkins… oh wait. The Beastie Boys! …No, wrong year. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds!”) but they’ve yet to overstay their welcome. I don’t know how many more years they can do it at this level, but we should be thankful for every one.
Lots more photos after the jump.