I WAS THERE: Green Day Sticks To New Songs At Webster Hall Show, Still Slings Enough ‘Dookie’ To Make Us Feel Really, Really Old

[Text/Photos by Andrew Parks]

It’s official: self-titled‘s staff–a rat pack born between the late ’70s and early ’80s–is ‘getting old.’ Not “I saw Sabbath in ’73” old; more like “I  watched Green Day and blink-182 play a Six Flags back in the day.” Lame, you say? If only; frat-boy fans aside, pop-punk’s most familiar faces have moved millions of albums due to a lot more than luck. Namely their mastery of melodies and pogo stick rhythms that can keep a crowd moving for 90 minutes no matter how monotonous the songs really are.

Green Day’s second roots-revisiting night in New York–headlining Webster Hall isn’t exactly a SoCal basement show, but we’ll take it–was all about emphasizing the arena rock phase of the band’s two-decade-plus career. In a ballsy move that wouldn’t fly in a $40 show at Madison Square Garden, the trio (rounded out by three other musicians, including the accordion/sax/keyboard-swapping Jason Freese) split their set into two distinct parts: a thorough overview of 21st Century Breakdown and an extended encore that started with segments of American Idiot and finished with a karaoke-caliber medley (“Earth Angel,” “Stand By Me” and “Shout”) and the combat rock inclinations of “Minority.” Oh yeah, they also rescued “80” from Green Day’s Lookout! years, and delivered enough Dookie (“She,” “Longview,” “Basket Case”) to remind us what a goddamn great record that pop-punk classic is.

As for why the group left us feeling out of place–not as out of place as the stuffy suits at this fans and industry fools show, but still–that’d be because teens and early 20-somethings seem to connect with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown (yes, already; “21 Guns,” for one, sounded like it could be a killer single) more than the four major label albums that preceded them. Us, we couldn’t tell you the difference between “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Before the Lobotomy.” We sure like “Basket Case,” though.

Green Day @ Webster Hall, 5.19.09:
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
East Jesus Nowhere
Before the Lobotomy
Last of the American Girls
Murder City
Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)
The Static Age
21 Guns
American Eulogy (Mass Hysteria/Modern World)
See the Light

American Idiot
Jesus Of Suburbia
Who Wrote Holden Caufield?
Dominated Love Slave
Basket Case
King For A Day
Shout/Earth Angel/Stand By Me (medley)