Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Green Day @ SXSW, ACL Live 3/15/13

Green Day
has been through a lot lately. Drugs, alcohol, in-concert breakdowns, rehab...but you can read about that elsewhere. This post is about their comeback show at SXSW Music on March 15th at ACL Live in Austin after 6 months off, and it turned out to be a hugely successful and triumphant return for the band.

The high-energy vibe in the venue was visible as opening band Stickup Kid got the crowd pumped up for the main course. By the time Billie Joe Armstrong hit the stage with Green Day, I was happy to be safely in a front mezzanine seat, because the general admission floor immediately turned into a frenzied bouncehouse. I've been to dozens of shows at ACL Live, and this was the first mosh pit (actually, more than one) I've seen there.

The band opened with "99 Revolutions" and kept the knob turned up to 10 for most of the two-hour show. From start to finish, Billie and company had the crowd in the palms of their hands, eating up every moment - and Billie was beaming the entire time, clearly ecstatic to be back in business. He was also extremely playful with the crowd, blasting them with a water pistol, t-shirts, and toilet paper. To be honest, many of their songs start to sound very similar after a while, and they don't deviate from a few basic templates. I wouldn't really call any member of Green Day particularly impressive with their instrument. But this show made it clear to me precisely what makes Green Day special; it's definitely their ability to engage, pump, and energize a crowd nonstop. My concert partner deemed it his favorite show of the year so far. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the crowd felt that way, too.


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