Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong at Perth Arena. Picture: Daniel Croatto

Review: Green Day at Perth Arena, 30 April 2017

Great day for Green Day.

Some might say punk is dead.

But it was very much alive when Californian punk rockers Green Day delivered a mammoth two-and-a-half hour set in Perth, taking loyal fans on a powerful journey through their 30-year career.

Los Angeles ska punk band the Interrupters warmed up with a set of lightning fast punk tunes, led by charismatic frontwoman Aimee Allen.

They were loud, brash and fun – much like the band to follow.

This was the first stop of Green Day’s Revolution Radio Australian tour and the Perth Arena crowd welcomed them with open arms as they arrived onstage at the very un-punk time of 7.45pm.

Decked out in all black with a few trademark splashes of red, the trio – Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Trés Cool – launched straight into Know Your Enemy from 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown.

The set featured a diverse mix of old and new material, with a sprinkling from 2016 album Revolution Radio – their 12th studio LP.

Mainly, though, they took us back to a simpler time when music wasn’t made in computers and concerts weren’t watched through smartphones.

Mainly, though, they took us back to a simpler time when music wasn’t made in computers and concerts weren’t watched through smartphones.

Older tracks like Basket Case, When I Come Around and Holiday particularly had people jumping with glee.

It appears three decades have only increased the band’s enthusiasm (and budget) for pyrotechnics, with fireworks, flames and confetti explosions featuring on what felt like every second song.

Themes of love, compassion and unity were front and centre, with Armstrong urging the crowd to forget about what’s happening in the world and come together for one night.

There were political statements galore and plenty of crowd participation, including a touching moment where Armstrong let a young girl from the audience play his guitar, then take it home.

It’s no easy task getting an arena crowd involved, but Armstrong had the entire audience wrapped around his finger.

It wasn’t just singing and clapping he wanted – it was shouting, waving, fist-pumping and jumping. For every. Single. Song.

Just when you thought it was safe to sit down and have a breather, Armstrong would look out into the crowd, cup a hand around his ear and with his other hand begin to conduct the audience like an orchestra.

It was the closest thing to a mosh pit Perth Arena might ever see, complete with flying cups of beer.

2004’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams provided a moving highlight as the crowd confidently sang the ‘ah-ah, ah-ah’ refrain almost louder than the band itself.

Armstrong correctly identified that he was indeed in Western Australia, shouting the words “Perth” and “Australia” repeatedly in a way that became slightly tiresome.

A few contrived moments where Armstrong pulled a member of the crowd onstage and encourage them to leap into the audience for a spot of crowdsurfing were gimmicky, but highly entertaining.

Gimmicks aside, Green Day hit it out of the park musically. Helped by one of the best drummers in the business, they sounded slick, as if the songs could have been released yesterday.

A generous encore featured American Idiot (which ended with Armstrong yelling “Fuck you, Donald Trump”), Jesus of Suburbia and Dearly Beloved.

Armstrong returned to the stage alone with an acoustic guitar for Ordinary World from Revolution Radio and much-loved ballad Time of Your Life to rapturous applause.

At a time when it seems you can’t hear a guitar without a loop pedal and a drum machine, it’s refreshing to revisit a band whose sound was built around raw guitar, bass and drums – and their execution tonight was outstanding.

Sure, there were more chinos and button-ups in the crowd than mohawks and piercings, but make no mistake.

Green Day are still punk rock.

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