Green Day | 10.26.16

The band has have never been one to shy away from controversy, and Armstrong came at it headfirst.

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The Pageant, St. Louis

It isn’t very often a band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plays a venue that holds under 2,300 rabid music lovers. That was the case as Green Day wrapped up its small club tour at The Pageant in St. Louis. The show was supposed to be the first date of the tour, but ended up coming last due to a sickness that forced the band to postpone three dates. Lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong had thanked the fans for their patience, telling us that nothing was going to stop them from making the rescheduled gig.

The story starts sometime well before the show, though. When a band that size does go on a tour that is designed for the fans, special ticket redemption scenarios are often implemented to keep tickets out of the hands of scalpers. This took the form of a fan club presale that forced ticket buyers to enter the venue only with the credit card they use in the purchase. Everyone else in attendance had to pick up their tickets at the box office on the day of the show.

As the show was kicking off inside with opener Dog Party, hundreds remained in line to get their tickets from the box office, no doubt to the frustration of many. The Sacramento punk two-piece roared through a set worthy of the headliners. Sisters Lucy and Gwendolyn Giles focused on tracks from ’Til You’re Mine, ending with a raucous cover of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” accompanied by Green Day drummer Tre Cool dancing on stage in a bunny outfit.

green-day-bannerBefore Green Day emerged, the crowd came together in a singalong as “Bohemian Rhapsody” blasted over the loudspeakers. Once our vocal chords were properly warmed up, Green Day emerged with the only track they would play from 21st Century Breakdown, “Know Your Enemy.” The band has have never been one to shy away from controversy, and Armstrong came at it headfirst, calling out Donald Trump to thunderous boos from the crowd.

After that, though, Armstrong seemed much more interested in peace and love, asking the crowd to let the show be their “own personal underground” where they didn’t have to put up with the “bullshit” outside. New songs “Bang Bang,” “Still Breathing,” and “Revolution Radio” all became loud singalongs, which was extremely impressive considering the album came out just two weeks before the show.

“Geek Stink Breath” and “Going to Pasalacqua” both received their first 2016 airing in the fan-service portion of the show. The crowd wasn’t quite as receptive, although that might have just been more of a mid-set energy dip.

Closing out the rock portion of the evening were “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia.” The tracks still feel as relevant as they did in 2004, when the album was released in the heart of the Bush administration; indeed, American Idiot may be one of the best albums of the aughts.

Sadly, things did have to end after two-and-a-half hours and 30 songs. Armstrong returned to the stage alone with an acoustic guitar to play the excellent new track “Ordinary World” and a staple, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” It felt bittersweet, yet knowing the band is just beginning its touring cycle is a bit of a relief. However, no arena show will compare with this intimate evening. | Bruce Matlock

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