Green Day: XFINITY Theatre (Hartford, CT 8/29/17)

Green-Day-Hartford           Even though, Green Day shows have become largely repetitive, there is still something to be said about standing in the pit at one.  Energy radiates off the stage.  Even wearing earplugs, standing close enough to hear the explosions from the pyrotechnics hurt your ears is incredible.  Despite all three core members being in their mid-40’s, they perform with the same youthful energy rivaling so many of their much younger peers.

Especially at a show so far out of the way in Hartford, Green Day hit all their marks: played greatest hits, had someone sing the last verse of “Longview,” sent a kid home with a new guitar after “Knowledge,” and let the crowd sing large portions of their biggest hits.  The amount of energy for a Tuesday evening crowd was shocking.  At least in the pit, everyone was singing along, super-fans flailed signs around, and there was a decent amount of crowdsurfing.  Even after only getting two hours of sleep after Lady Gaga the night before, I surprised myself with how psyched I was.  Billie Joe Armstrong maintains his commanding frontman presence throughout the show, whether he’s adding “Hey-yo’s” to bridges or chatting during instrumental vamps.  It’s hard not to be enthralled.  Sadly, he was mostly mellow on the political aspects of his banter.  He did mention that he was “Tired of all this Trump bullshit, tired of all this Nazi bullshit,” but he missed a few opportunities to really go in.  Still, his vocals were impeccable.  The man can still jump higher than any 19-year-old, and he still interacts with the crowd at a sweet level.  Before the third verse of “Longview,” he took a sheet of paper from a girl in the front row, glanced at it, and asked the girl if she knew the words so he could bring her onstage.

The rest of the band remain a tightly-running machine.  Green Day are nothing without the “Big Three”-Jason White, Jason Freese, and Jeff Matika, and each easily helps expanding Green Day’s live sound.  It’s much easier to appreciate their contributions from up close.  The same can be said for Tré Cool’s drumming.  He’s one of the most underrated drummers in rock, and is incredibly fun to watch and wonder how he does it.  He even gets his moment to shine, when he taps Armstrong with his drumsticks and gestures for the frontman to take a seat.  He proceeds to cancan around the stage, during the bridge to “Shout.”

Mike Dirnt is easily the most underappreciated member of Green Day though.  Maybe it’s just because I stood so close to his side of the stage, but he’s really a wonderful performer, in a subtle way.  He has certain moves that don’t really get noticed with Armstrong’s over-the-top personality, but when Dirnt hits a groove with something like “Hitchin’ A Ride,” he’s probably the most entertaining one on stage.  He does the most interacting with the crowd, you could see him laughing and joking with people in the front.  He also makes the most eye-contact and can really notice when someone is connecting with a song.

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While it’s easy to be dismissive with Green Day, they remain one of the most high-energy bands in rock.  If you ever get a chance to stand in the pit and watch them, it’s a damn good way to end your summer.

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