October 16, 2004
BY MARTY GARNER
"How to be a Rock Star" by Green Day
I. Open with the massively unavoidable new single. In this case, "American Idiot", title track from their brilliant (yes) new album.
II. Show how ambitious you've become and how many instruments you own. The nine minute "Jesus of Suburbia" was played by a
six member Green Day which included a second
guitarist, a pianist(!), and a timpani player(!!!).
III. Look like the Clash. Bassist Mike Dirnt had the Mick Jones look down. Haircut, sleeveless black denim shirt, smashed bass. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong was even more dynamic a
front man than Joe Strummer (seriously).
IV. Abandon the new album for your neverending cadre of hits. Include the best pro-masturbation song ever, "Longview", a stunning performance of the otherwise forgettable song "Hitchin' A Ride," and a blistering
"Basketcase", which took the crowd back ten years. The thing that made all of Green Day's set great was how evocative the songs themselves were. It wasn't until I heard the song in a new light that I realized, "Fuck, Green Day has scored my entire life." Trust me.
V. Treat the crowd like part of the show. Armstrong screamed "Awwwwwriiiight Nooo Arlens!" five times. The inevitable "I say ______, you say ______" call and response was also prevalent.
VI. Make the crowd part of the show. While playing Operation Ivy's "Knowledge", the group
pulled three kids out of the crowd of 100,000 to take their place. The kids got a great reaction, save for bassist Bill Weingartner(?), who was greeted with 100,000 boos when he told Armstrong that he was from the Westbank. Armstrong's response : "The Fucking West Piece of Shit Bank? Fuck that, you have to stage
dive now." And yes, he somehow cleared the ten feet between the stage and the crowd.
VII. Play(and pull off) unexpected covers. Green Day's mariachi/ska "King For A Day," complete
with horn section, morphed into Otis Day's "Shout," which ended with Armstrong on the ground, covered with a cape like James Brown. Also played was Queen's "We Are the Champions." Note-perfect. And Armstrong hit
every single high note. While wearing a Freddie Mercury mustache.
VIII. Close with the previous hit, and lead into
the solo acoustic hit. Being 2002's "Minority" into everyone's class song, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." Though a more than cheesy ending, they can never close with another song until they retire, and even then, Armstrong will still have to play it when he does the inevitable solo-I'm-just-trying-to-find-myself-and-get-back-to-my-roots
Green Day proved Saturday night just how important they are to Generations X and Y. Whether you enjoy their music or not, they have helped shaped the landscape and opened the door for a slew of (albeit shitty) bands who otherwise would not have had much exposure. And they're fucking rock stars.