Green Day, Marquee Theatre, 3/11/13

Green Day @ Marquee Theatre| 3/11/13
Phoenix is pretty damn lucky. We're one of three cities to host Green Day's intimate "warmup" tour on the band's way to South by Southwest. It's a rare treat to see a band that came up in the clubs before graduating to arenas pack a smaller venue.

It hardly felt like a stretching session for the band. It was Green Day's second show since singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong's stint in rehab, but the frontman was as kooky and energetic as ever. He seemed ecstatic to be back on stage after a five-month break, and Green Day played an airtight, nearly flawless two-hour set, keeping the crowd at its mercy with every "hey-oh," fist bump, and Armstrong-led arm-sway. This was Green Day at its finest.

See also:

-Green Day Didn't Forsake Its Punk Roots; You Just Got Old and Complacent -Throwback Thursday: Green Day's Dookie

The band opened with the rousing, politically driven "99 Revolutions" from last year's ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy, setting the tone for the rest of the evening. In spite of criticisms about the band selling out, Green Day has as much to say as ever, and continues to have a good time saying it.

Armstrong pulled a young kid in a Ramones shirt on stage during "Know Your Enemy." (Nice shirt, dude!) The kid enthusiastically chanted "Do you know your enemy?" and shyly shook his head "no" when Armstrong encouraged him to take a stage dive. He was eventually swayed, as he crowd-surfed toward the back of the venue with a huge smile on his face. Classic rock move, right?

Green Day played two more tracks from the ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy before sticking to a hit-filled set. Armstrong said Arizona's mountains reminded him of The Thing, and dubbed our state the "home of the rock monster."

"Do you wanna start a fucking war?" Armstrong inquired to a sea of cheers that grew even louder as the audience recognized the opening strums of American Idiot hit "Holiday." Fans enthusiastically echoed back every "hey" and "amen." The lights dimmed and Armstrong guided a search light as he referred to the "president of Arizona" and fans erupted into a fevered "hey, hey, hey" at the end of the bridge.

Following the album's format, the band launched right into an acoustic version of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Before singing, Armstrong noted, "You guys sure are better than Los Angeles," as the lights once again dimmed and Armstrong led one of the many a cappella choruses of the evening.

Next was Nimrod's "Hitchin' a Ride," which still sounds fantastic 16 years after the album's release. Following that, Armstrong strummed Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and encouraged the crowd to shout song requests.

Met with a flurry of Dookie requests, he added, "Now only request heavy metal songs, thank you very much." With a laugh, he added "We play 'Crazy Train' all the time," before launching into a medley of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" and Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," which transitioned surprisingly well into "Brain Stew." It wasn't followed by Insomniac's fast-paced "Jaded," though American Idiot's short and fast answer to that song, "St. Jimmy," did just fine.

Armstrong complained about the venue being hot and remedied it by spraying the crowd with a super-soaker. He switched artillery and brought out a toilet paper gun that would put Girl Talk's crew to shame. His last trick was firing a T-shirt gun that made the whole ordeal feel like a sporting event, especially as he launched an "ole!" chorus before tearing into "St. Jimmy."

"How many vintage Green Day fans do we have out there?" Armstrong asked to a chorus of enthusiastic fans. "This song's from Dookie, it's called 'Burnout.'" Things got even more old school as an unexpected performance of 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours' "Going to Pasalacqua," followed after "Coming Clean." The majority of the crowd seemed a little thrown by it, but there were plenty of dedicated old time fans singing every word.

In the middle of "Longview," Armstrong asked who knew the lyrics and said "You gotta want it fucking bad" before bringing a whiny singer on stage to finish the song. The fan had his moment of rock glory as he threw his hands up and stage-dived into the crowd.

After playing a couple more songs from Dookie (including a great rendition of "She"), the band donned wizard hats, Groucho Marx mustaches, and police hats for the pro-drag anthem "King for a Day." Drummer Tré Cool popped out from behind his drum kit to parade around in a fancy hat and a pink laced bra. He did high-kicks as the band teased with The Isley Brothers' "Shout." After a short delay, Green Day finished the cover and sank to the floor after a few "a little bit softer nows." The band shot back up to end the song, which transitioned into Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" and a rousing version of "Minority," closing out the main set. The band quickly returned for a two-song encore of "American Idiot" and "Jesus of Suburbia."

It's unlikely that Green Day will ever play another show at Marquee Theatre, which is a shame because last night was the best Green Day show I have ever seen, and is now one of my all time favorite Marquee shows. In a post-American Idiot world, the band is too popular to realistically play another club show, but after last night, floor tickets are definitely a necessity for future arena shows.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Green Day at Marquee Theatre.

Personal Bias: Dookie helped get me into punk.

The Crowd: A good mix of bros, kids, and folks who were stoked to be there.

Overheard in the Crowd: "That's what they taught me in rehab," after Armstrong said "I never walk alone, man" during "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

Random Notebook Dump: Billie Joe looks insane, yet awesome in that candy kid hat.

Missing From the Set: "Welcome to Paradise" and "2000 Light Years Away," though I'm relieved that they didn't performed the overplayed "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" or "21 Guns."


99 Revolutions Know Your Enemy Stay the Night Stop When the Red Lights Flash Let Yourself Go Holiday Boulevard of Broken Dreams Hitchin' a Ride Brain Stew (with Highway to Hell, Master of Puppets, Rock and Roll) St. Jimmy Burnout Coming Clean Going to Pasalacqua Longview Basket Case She King for a Day Stout/Stand by Me Minority Encore: American Idiot Jesus of Suburbia

See also:

-Throwback Thursday: Green Day's Dookie -Green Day's New Song "Epic as Fuck"? Not Even Close. -Green Day's Second Politically Charged Single Lacks Bite -Green Day Didn't Forsake Its Punk Roots; You Just Got Old and Complacent

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum