Green Day deliver marathon concert in Mansfield

A review of Green Day at the Comcast Center on August 16, 2010

, Editor-in-Chief

Not many bands deliver near three-hour shows anymore. And for that Green Day should be commended. They bring all the hits with unbridled energy and most of all, fun. However, as the band’s show at the Comcast Center in Mansfield on Monday night proved, sometimes less is more.

As Green Day continue to tour this summer in support of last year’s 21st Century Breakdown, the band is celebrating 22 years together. While they rejuvenated their career by releasing American Idiot in 2004, arguably the best album of the decade and then following it up with another rock opera in Breakdown, the band’s audience – though multi-generational – remains dominated by teenagers. And at the core, guitarist/frontman Bill Joe Armstrong (38), bassist Mike Dirnt (38) and drummer Tre Cool (37) – are still teenagers too. It’s arguably the band’s greatest strength and greatest weakness.

From the moment Green Day hit the stage, Armstrong was a ball of energy. He commanded the crowd with every step, barking out “Massachusetts!” and leading the crowd in call and answers (“hey, ohhh” was the primary weapon of choice). And the near capacity crowd, joyfully joined in for the ride. Drawing from every part of their catalouge, Green Day delivered a set full of hits. Material from the recent rock operas, with the help of two touring members, dominated the start and close of the main set. Just as the new album opens, the show began with “Song of the Century”, “21st Century Breakdown” and “Know Your Enemy”. The American Idiot tracks would follow later, highlighted by consecutive renditions of “Are We The Waiting”, “St. Jimmy” and “Bouelvard of Broken Dreams”. In the middle of the set, the band took time to revisit their back catalogue including 1994’s Dookie (including “When I Come Around” and “She”), 1995’s Insomniac (“Brain Stew” and “Jaded”) and 1997’s Nimrod (“Hitchin’ A Ride” and “Scattered”).

Along the way, Green Day kept the crowd engaged at every possible moment. Some fans even got in the action, as one girl hit the stage for “Are We The Waiting”, while another clad completely in a green man costume delivered “Longview”, the latter of whom dove off stage at the end. Armstrong called him back on stage and rewarded the young fan with his own guitar, which was pretty awesome. Armstrong went as far as to invite the whole crowd in front on stage for “2,000 Light Years Away” and “One for the Razorbacks”, but there was just something funny about seeing a swarm of kids singing a pair of songs off the band’s 1992 album Kerpluck.

Of course, there was some good ole shenanigans from the boys from California too. They retreated to their old playbook a few times, like spraying the crowd down with hoses or showering them with toilet paper. But the real problem with the show was that there was just too much fat. The consistent call and answers quickly grew tiresome, extending songs far longer than necessary. The ultimate low came at the end of “King For A Day” as the band with the help of saxophonist Benny Hill progressed the ska tune into a cover of The Isley Brothers’ “Shout”. Each of the Green Day members were clad in costumes and took time to try and sing the song, which was funny, but when it dragged on for over ten minutes as Armstrong then sang a medley of classic rock staples, it killed the show’s momentum.

When the band stuck to the music, it was not only refreshing but a reminder of how talented they are. They closed out the main set with rock solid renditions of “21 Guns” and “Minority” before returning for a the first of two encores. It began with the first and hard “American Idiot” and finsihed with the epic anthmen of “Jesus of Suburbia”. Armstrong kicked off the second encore alone on stage with an acoustic guitar for the start of “Last Night on Earth”. The band would return for its close before launching into a pair of Green Day’s top power ballads “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Good Riddance (Time Of your Life)” that brought the show to an end.

Overall, Green Day’s performance was frustrating. It’s hard to fault a band that delivers such an energetic multi-generational show filled with all the hits. They know what their fans want and they give to them. But when the entertainment factor seemed to outweigh the music at times on Monday, it was clear the band could have achieved much more with less.

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