Green Day + Against Me! @ Bell Centre – 22nd March 2017

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Only a few words can truly summarize the evening I’ve just witnessed at the Bell Centre, and I will simply pick one: WOW! I haven’t been blown away like that in a long time.

Punk rock band Against Me! opened the show as the Bell Centre was still half empty. The venue started to get slowly more and more packed as they were playing their first songs, starting with “True Trans Soul Rebel”, from Transgender Dysphoria Blues and “333” from their latest album Shape Shift With Me. The band played additional songs from that last album, including “Haunting, Haunted, Haunts”, “Rebecca” and my personal favourite “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be”. They didn’t forget to play more classic songs from their album White Crosses, including the eponym song or “I Was A Teenage Anarchist”, and even ended their set with “Black Me Out”. Singer Laura Jane Grace delighted us with a great vocal performance. Grace also spoke about the Green Day concert she attended back in 1995 that made her want to form a band and change the world in her own way. With a clear sound, great energy and pretty much no pause at all over the set, Against Me! seemed to be the appropriate band to open for Green Day.

As we were all waiting for Green Day to start their set, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” could be heard in the Bell Centre. The whole crowd started to sing along, and by the end of the song, a guy dressed in a pink bunny outfit showed up on stage. He started to dance to the great Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and even threw some t-shirts into the crowd. After making the whole crowd shout and raise their hands, he got taken off stage, and the real show started… Green Day emerged on stage with “Know Your Enemy” from the album 21st Century Breakdown, released back in 2009. It didn’t take much time to singer Billie Joe Armstrong to invite a fan on stage, make her sing a few lyrics, and bring her back into the crowd by the ONLY way she could: crowdsurfing! Lucky her! Too bad she probably lost her spot at the barricade, but it must’ve been worth it!

The band continued with two songs from their latest release, “Bang Bang” and “Revolution Radio” as a couple circle pits started to form in the general admission. Billie Joe Armstrong was on fire from the beginning to the end of the show, he really knows how to get everyone pumped for the show. He could make anybody in the audience raise their hands, sing or jump, he had full control, like a true showman. He also used his power to share some political thoughts, including “I’m not gonna give any name but Donald Trump is a f*cking asshole” or “F*ck Donald Trump!”. Lovely sounds to our ears! Armstrong was not the only one on stage, Bassist Mike Dirnt and Drummer Tre Cool were there too, but let’s not forget live guitarist Jason White, along with Jason Freese and Jeff Mitika, who played a few instruments as well. The show wasn’t only a pleasure for the ears, with classics such as “Holiday”, “Letterbomb”, or “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, but it was also visually pleasant. The light show, along with the background flags changing every few songs gave a dynamic to the show.

Green Day also likes to engage with their fans in various ways: Armstrong “watered” his fans with a water hose, and even deployed a t-shirt cannon to give merch to lucky fans! They also love to get their fans on stage, whether it’s a lucky guy who got to sing along, or even this 11-year-old kid who got to play guitar with them! We can tell they’d do anything to make their fans happy, they’d even let them keep the guitar they played with… Yes, that kid got to keep it! How cool is that?!?

It was hard to keep track of all the songs being played, but “Youngblood”, “When I Come Around”, “Waiting” and “Minority” were some of them! As a reviewer, it is always a tough job to keep track, especially when you’re having that much fun, you forget about everything and just want to enjoy yourself! Right after the lucky young fan got off stage, Armstrong started to play the one and only “Basket Case”. DO YOU HAVE THE TIME. TO LISTEN TO ME WHINE. Yes, we do, Billie Joe, we do. We wouldn’t miss it for the world. The band continued their amazingly long setlist with “She”, but also “King For A Day” for which all band members somewhat dressed up, and then gave us the impression they gave up on life by laying on the floor… and making us a medley of a few covers, including “Oh Danny Boy”, “Careless Whisper”, “Shout”, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, “Satisfaction”, and “Hey Jude”! Not only did they play those songs, but Armstrong also gave us a motivational speech, and part of it included the following: “I believe from the bottom of my heart that Rock & Roll can change a life”. It was truly inspiring. The band ended the setlist with two other songs from Revolution Radio, “Still Breathing” and “Forever Now”.

Every single person at the Bell Centre needed more, much more than the 24 songs Green Day just played for them. We all wanted more, and Green Day delivered! They got back on stage for the Encore with “American Idiot”, ending with a lovely “Fuck You, Donald Trump” (because why not? Who wouldn’t cheer when hearing that?), and “Jesus of Suburbia” from their 2004 release American Idiot. Everyone thought it was the end of the show when the band left the stage for a second time, some fans were even leaving the Bell Centre already, and stopped right away when Armstrong came back with his acoustic guitar to play the final two songs of the night (for real, this time!): “Ordinary World” and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). It was my first time seeing Green Day live, and hopefully not the last. It’s a show I won’t forget, and as you may expect, I’ve had the Time of My Life at this show.

Know Your Enemy
Bang Bang
Revolution Radio
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
2000 Light Years Away
Hitchin’ a Ride
When I Come Around
Nuclear Family
(Tour Debut)
Are We the Waiting
St. Jimmy
(Operation Ivy cover)
Basket Case
King for a Day
Oh Danny Boy / Careless Whisper / Shout / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
Still Breathing
Forever Now
American Idiot
Jesus of Suburbia
Encore 2:
Ordinary World
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Review – Maxime Le Huidoux

iPhone pics – Chelsea Gray

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