Headliner: Green Day
Opening Acts: NFG & Sugarcult
Venue: Long Beach Arena
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewer: John Frank
So yeah, the local boys (local to me at least) are on tour with Green Day. I have seen Sugarcult several times before, and have always enjoyed their shows, so I was a bit curious as to how they would do in a big arena environment. Sadly, the Santa Barbara boys are a much better band in a smaller, club venue. I am not sure why exactly this performance was a downgrade from the past shows, maybe the band had an off day, maybe they don’t do well in a bigger venue, or maybe their new material just isn’t as well live as their older stuff. Personally, I thought their older songs were much better than the new stuff, and since their set consisted mainly of songs off of, Palm Trees and Power Lines, I did not see the energy I associated with the band previously. Overall, they were still entertaining to their fans, but displayed simply a mediocre performance, with the highlights being the opener, “Stuck in America,” and the closer, “Bouncing off the Walls,” both from their previous release of Start Static.
New Found Glory is another band that I have seen several times, but never at the club level, so I know their big venue show fairly well. Since I have yet to see them play their Catalyst material, I had that to look forward to. This is a band that does every justice to their recorded material, as their live show brings the energy that every song was written to have. This is not to say the guys are perfect live, they do have a tendency to be sloppy, but the energy they bring causes most of their fans to not notice this fact. Even though they did not play any songs from before their self-titled album (with the exception of “Hit or Miss,” and “Nothing Gold Can Stay”), the band managed to provide a good mix of songs from their newest album and previous ones. The set was pretty short, and NFG is not the headlining band, so maybe in a headlining show, the older stuff will appear. The band also did something I have never seen at a show before, after asking the crowd to get a circle pit going, they noticed a couple fans getting too aggressive and took the time to ensure that things did not get violent as can be seen in those pits. Now, NFG isn’t a band that is known for their pits, but I guess fans will get going for their band no matter what type of music they play.
Time for the main event – the legends of modern punk rock, Green Day. Letting the crowd know that even though American Idiot is their most serious album to date, the guys can still have fun on stage, a man (likely Tre Cool, or one of the horn players) in a pink bunny suit came out and had a beer onstage, not doing or saying anything other than just making gestures to pump up the crowd. Then the curtains rose, and the band opened with their energetic single, “American Idiot.” Following up the single is one of my favorite tracks from the new CD, “Jesus of Suburbia.” The guys continued to play the first few tracks from the new album, but after about five, cut back to some old favorites like, “Brain Stew,” “Longview,” and every other single they have put out. I really do not want to give away too much from the show, because the band does some very creative stuff and gets the crowd involved as much as they can.
But basically, the guys play the songs flawlessly, add energy, and provide a stunning visual show complete with pyrotechnics and lighting effects. Green Day makes the set complete, not simply filling in the almost 2 hours with just playing their hits, but adds songs like, “King for a Day,” that are always crowd pleasers with the horn section and mascot on stage. The band also adds the slower songs like, “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” which draw out the lighters and cell phones to add to the starry backdrop and lights. If you have ever seen the band live, this tour will blow away any previous performances, it was by far the best live show I have ever seen.
From the first chord of, “American Idiot,” to the last note of, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” I was just awed by how great these performers were. I cannot recommend a Green Day show enough to anyone, whether they are a fan of the band or not, as long as they don’t hate the music, I think they would enjoy the show.
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