Concert Review: Green Day in Budapest, 06/18/2017

If you haven’t seen Green Day live yet, you should. They have a reputation of being one of the greatest live bands and the Sunday show only reinforced this notion.

There is in fact very little negative to say about this show. One of the very few flaws of the otherwise great evening was on the part of the organizer. The chaotic organization troubled many fans who were waiting in front of the locked and unlabeled venue gates for hours, only to be jammed into one narrow corridor after another, left waiting in front of locked doors for no apparent reason and put through way too many slow ticket checks.

Luckily, what came next was worth enduring the tiresome procedure.

Personally, I was almost equally excited about seeing Rancid as I was about seeing Green Day. And their set was no disappointment, even despite the fact that the sound could have been better. The East Bay punk veterans were a great choice for an opening band and their set only deserved to be longer that the 13 songs they got to perform, but nevertheless, their short show was very good and full of energy.

Ripping though the set that consisted mostly of the biggest hits from their 1999 record …And Out Come The Wolves and tracks from their most recent record Trouble Maker (which came out on June 9), Rancid succeeded at getting the crowd pumped and when Tim Armstrong jumped down from the stage during the final song “Ruby Soho” to let a fan sing with him, it felt almost like being at their own show.

After an impressively fast setup swap, Green Day finally took to the stage following an intro of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Ennio Morricone’s tune “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. Opening with a 2009 single “Know Your Enemy”, the band set the tone for the evening. The biggest virtue of Green Day is the way they interact with the audience and the emphasis they put on involving the crowd shows from the very beginning. They weren’t halfway through the first song when the frontman Billie Joe Armstrong asked a fan to come on stage to sing the rest of the song with him. Three more people got on stage during “Longview” and “Knowledge”, and each time the routine went perfectly smoothly.

The Hungarian crowd was cooperative, singing along and participating in Armstrong’s favorite game of call-and-response right from the start. The frontman positively acknowledged the fact that not many people in the audience were using their phones, which certainly helped the atmosphere.

The first part of the almost 30-song long set consisted of songs from Green Day’s most recent record Revolution Radio (2016) and their best-known effort, rock opera American Idiot. The band ripped though the two Revolution Radio singles “Bang Bang” and eponymous “Revolution Radio”, the first verse of 2004 Grammy-winning “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” was sung by the audience, accompanied only by Jason White’s guitar, and “Letterbomb” featured a breakdown during which Armstrong gave a speech and indulged in some more interaction with the crowd. The frontman was clearly in a talkative mood, giving two more speeches during “King For A Day” and “Minority”. That’s not meant as criticism though, his speeches might have been a bit longer that usual but they were eloquent and fit the atmosphere of the evening.

The first big surprise came with “Burnout”. Green Day unfortunately don’t stray away from their regular setlist very often this tour, so hearing an unexpected number from their 1994 record Dookie easily became one of the highlights of the show.

Another memorable moment was “Knowledge”, an Operation Ivy cover during which Green Day were joined by Rancid’s drummer Branden Steineckert and two members of the audience. “Knowledge”, “King For A Day” and “Minority” are songs that bring more musical variety into the band’s simple three instrument setup. Jason Freese’s saxophone and accordion, as well as Armstrong’s harmonica, do freshen up Green Day’s sound.

The set ended with two more Revolution Radio songs, heartfelt single “Still Breathing” and “Forever Now”, a powerful six-minute suite that feels like a continuation of Green Day’s epic multi-part songs like “Jesus Of Suburbia” or “Homecoming”.

The first of the two encores that followed almost immediately after the end of the main set included “American Idiot” (which is now as much of an anti-Trump anthem as it used to be anti-Bush) and “Jesus Of Suburbia”. The second encore was acoustic, with Armstrong playing on his own.

The acoustic ending was definitely one of the most beautiful moments of the show, especially a touching snippet of “Wake Me Up When September Ends” – a song dedicated to Armstrong’s late father – which was performed in honor of the Father’s Day for the first time in three years.

In a nutshell, Green Day lived up to all expectations – their show is entertaining, well-crafted and full of funny moments. The band is incredibly tight, Armstrong’s vocals are on point and lights and pyro that accompany the music are just a cherry on top.

In case you’re still wondering, seeing Green Day is highly recommended – most likely you won’t regret it for a second.

Jana

I am a music enthusiast living in the city of Prague. Before joining GID, I have blogged about music and contributed to a local magazine. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar, travelling or a good book.

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