Green Day live @ SECC October 19th 2009

Arriving at the Big Grey Shed a little late meant I missed the support band. Nobody inside said anything good about them, so I presume that there wasn’t much to miss. I did, however, arrive in time to see a 6 foot tall pink bunny dancing to YMCA on stage, surely a better bet.

The set predictably opened with Song of the Century from the latest record. What wasn’t as predictable, for me anyway, was the assembled throng of Scots fans singing it back at the guys note for note before they even arrived on stage. They burst on to stage and launched into 21st Century Brekadown to a shower of applause, screams and even pyro. Yup folks, this is a Green Day arena show and that means production values that would put the X-Factor to shame.

This ain’t the snot nosed, bratty Green Day that fought their way to the top, kicking and screaming. No, this is – whisper it – a mature Green Day. This is a Green Day that could easily lay claim to being the best live rock show doing the rounds right now. As smooth and professional as they undoubtedly are – and they even boast a saxophone player now – they can still roll back the years and rock out like demented mother… hubbards when they want to; case in point being an incendiary Hitchin’ A Ride that morphed into Welcome To Paradise… they could bottle it and sell it as audio paint stripper.

From the moment Billie Joe launched into his first “Heeeeeey-oh” of the night, the crowd were like putty in his ickle tiny hands. He had people on stage dancing with him; he had one 55 year old man fall over flat on his back when he proclaimed to save his soul; he had one kid almost steal the show with his rendition of Longview, complete with stage prowling, headbutting the cymbals and eventual stage dive… it was just that kind of night.

They aren’t prototypical punks any more. And for me, that’s a good thing. Everything has to evolve eventually. The Green Day experience is now more of a party than a rock show, including but not limited to water pistols, toilet paper cannons, T-Shirt guns, crowd surfing, confetti, and dammit, some meaty guitar riffs that get in your head, set up camp and refuse to leave. All of that combined? It just leaves one HUGE grin on your face, the kind that won’t go away for days.

They covered everything in their arsenal – from the “good old days” right up to new stuff, and even threw in some Mozart (don’t ask) to boot. Old schoolers, like me, were like kids in a candy shop when they wheeled out Going To Pascalaqua from 39/Smooth… although I got the impression from round me that a lot of the kids who are like, their biggest fans EVER in the whole wide world either just didn’t know it or flat out thought it was a new track. Humph.

In amongst all the madness, it should be noted that the main set was over 2 hours long, and even threw in some brief snippets of Black Sabbath, and an Eisley Brothers tune that featured a sing-along featuring The Doors, The Stones, Ben E King and even Travis! Biggest cheers of the night were obviously for the hits – American Idiot in the first encore was greeted like the second coming of Jeebus, Basket Case nearly blew the roof off, and even the slower, sombre final encore of Last Night On Earth, Wake Me Up When September Ends and Good Riddance, performed acoustically and solo by Billie Joe left the crowd grinning like demented Batman villains.

Nope, peeps might accuse Green Day of selling out… and they did. They sold the SECC out, and probably could have done it twice over. I was a little sceptical about going to this show, but by the time I left… it was something unpredictable, but in the end was right – I guess I had the time of my life…

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