Green Day at the DCU Center-March 17th, 2017

Green Day at the DCU Center, Worcester MA 03.17.17 - photo by Kelly D
Green Day at the DCU Center, Worcester MA 03.17.17 - photo by Kelly D

Green Day

DCU Center, Worcester, MA

March 17, 2017

Story, photos, and videos by Kelly D

To see more of Kelly D’s photography of the show, check out her art page on Facebook at Vital Visions: Art by Kelly D

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

I’m fond of the phrase “I love it when a plan works out.” This could not have been more apropos for the St. Patrick’s Day concert that Green Day had in Worcester last Friday. I can’t think of a more “green day” than March 17th, except maybe April 20th. . .

My companion for the day and I pregamed heartily, first at Wormtown Brewing Company, as they were celebrating their 7th birthday. We consumed many a fermented beverage, though none of which were green cuz Homey don’t play that. We then trekked closer to the DCU Center to feast and imbibe merrily at Armsby Abbey, a most excellent eatery a few blocks away.

A bit tragically, our enthusiasm for the fine establishments in the vicinity of the concert caused us to miss Against Me!, Green Day’s opening band. I heard reports they kicked ass, so if anyone wants to give LMNR their personal review of Against Me!’s set that night, hit us up at livemusicnewsandreview@gmail.com! However, my friend and I ran into the building just as Green Day began their first song of the night, the rocker “Know Your Enemy” from their album 21st Century Breakdown. I was pleased to see the same “audience participation” schtick employed by the band as when I saw them in 2009 at Madison Square Garden- a kid was plucked from the audience to play the song along with his ostensible heroes. This happened at three moments throughout the night and they killed it every time! The song finished with the child hugging elfin frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and crowdsurfing back to his place in the pit. The good vibes were buzzing throughout the arena, and continued throughout the whole night, thanks to Armstrong’s boundless energy.

Green Day on tour is now a six-piece band, which I’m sure raises the hackles of pop-punk traditionalists. I choose to see their concerts as performance pieces, giving Armstrong a chance to do more showman antics to wow the audience. Along with giving their young fans a moment in the spotlight, the group also brought out a Super Soaker to douse the fans close to the stage during “2000 Lightyears Away,” fire out T-shirts using a cannon during “Hitchin’ a Ride,” get drummer Tré Cool out from behind his kit to skank with his more mobile bandmates, and even perform a medley of such disparate tunes as “Danny Boy,” “Careless Whisper,” “Shout,” “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and “Hey Jude”- all while Armstrong, multi-instrumentalist Jason Freese, and bassist Mike Dirnt were supine on the stage floor. When Green Day covered “Knowledge” by Operation Ivy, a child named Grant came up onstage (complete with green hair), performed, and got probably the shock of his life when Armstrong told him he would get to keep the guitar he played on. I’m not gonna lie, I teared up.

The setlist was chock full of goodies from decades ago and the present, including a few from their recent release, Revolution Radio. “Still Breathing” is played with some consistency on my local hard rock radio station, so when I heard it, I was pleased to discover the rest of the album is rather enjoyable too. It’s always a joy when bands can still churn out hits without sacrificing their ethos.  

And where would Green Day be without some political messages thrown in there for good measure? I noted sadly that their magnum opus American Idiot came out in 2004 and it’s still scarily relevant 13 years later. Armstrong made his views about the current administration obvious, dedicating “Holiday,” “Jesus of Suburbia,” and the title track from the album to 45 and his ilk- most notably before “Jesus,” directing an expletive at him to thunderous applause and screams of approval.

However, it wasn’t all rage against the machine with no substance to back it up- Armstrong made several impassioned speeches to the audience, telling us “YOU are the leaders of the free world” after performing “Burnout” from Dookie. And while he was prone on the stage as his band members kept time, Armstrong spoke sweetly of compassion and empathy, to bridge the gap, to help one’s fellow neighbor. Coming together: it was clear that that was the overarching theme of the evening. Green Day may have mellowed throughout the years but I can’t think of a better way for them to do it than to become the elder statesmen of pop-punk with a message, preaching goodwill towards mankind.

The sense of community was evident when the crowd sang along and waved their cell phones in time to the music, most notably for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Are We the Waiting,” and “American Idiot.” Armstrong played upon this, stretching out the last note of “Jesus of Suburbia” to almost agonizing lengths: “Tales from another brokennnnnnnn. . .” then smashing into the cacophonic finale, bellowing “HOOOOOOOOME!!!” complete with a confetti monsoon.

Not to be outdone by that, the band came back onstage for a second encore: a new song, “Ordinary World,” and an acoustic version of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” finished off the concert. The last lines of the latter song stuck in my head as we poured out into the street: “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right/I hope you had the time of your life.” It’s a bittersweet and quite pointed- making whoever the song’s directed to accountable for their actions. While it may not have been the point of the song when it was written, its lyrics about personal responsibility and hindsight seem more pertinent now than ever in these trying times. What a note to finish off the show.

To see more of Kelly D’s photography of the show, check out her art page on Facebook at Vital Visions: Art by Kelly D

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

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