Green Day/Kaiser Chiefs

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Sunday, August 2, 2009

Green Day, best known for their catchy riffs and out-spoken lyrics and millions of records sold all over the world, rolled into the Verizon Center in Washington DC on July 29th in style. There was a tour bus with the logo of their most recent album, 21st Century Breakdown, leaving it outside the gates for passer-byes and fans alike to take pictures and get excited for the show. Looking at the long line wrapping its way around the corner and half way up the following block, there was a distinct notion that Green Day really had a mass appeal. With young children up to older adults, Green Day has certainly expanded their popularity. Walking inside and congregating with the other photographers in a specious waiting area, the excitement level was growing.

Kaiser Chiefs:

As both the floor and seats start packing, on comes Green Day’s direct support, the Kaiser Chiefs. Coming out with such hits as “Ruby” and “Every Day I Love You Less and Less”. Though they were a bit of a change-of-pace from the poppy punk sounds of Green Day, the Kaiser Chiefs certainly brought a sound and energy that served them well opening for the legendary rock band. Playing only a 30 minute set seems a bit lax compared to the set Green Day would play, but they made their time count in a way that kept fans cheering and clapping, rather then twiddling their thumbs.

Vocals: 8.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall Rating: 9

Green Day:

As the crowd reached a fever pitch, out strolled a man in a pink rabbit outfit donning a recently released 21st Century Breakdown t-shirt as well as 3 beers. After stumbling across the stage, tripping over things and doing an amusing rendition of “YMCA”, he staggered off.

Soon after the house lights dimmed and the crowd roared with screams of anticipation. The intro track off of their new CD started playing, leading smoothly into the first full-length song of the album, the title-track, “21st Century Breakdown”. With drummer Tre Cool running off the and down the cat walk, screaming and yelling at the crowd, out trotted bassist Mike Dirnt and guitarist and lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong. Along with the three-man core unit of Green Day are traveling touring musicians Jason White on lead & rhythm guitars, Jason Freese on keyboards, piano, acoustic guitar, trombone, saxophone, accordion and lastly Jeff Matika – rhythm guitar and backing vocals.

Before starting into another new song “East Jesus Nowhere”, Billie bellowed out his amusing intro of, “Are there any Christians in the House? *People cheer* Are there any Jews in the house? *People cheer* Are there any Muslims in the house tonight? *People cheer* Are there any members of the Manson family in the house?”

Amongst the many visually stunning effects plastered in the background of their set, they started into a cover of Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, allowing kids to come on stage to sing along with Billie Joe to “Longview” as well as a someone playing guitar (flawlessly might I add) to “Jesus of Suburbia” each ending with a stage dive by the person invited up.

Both children and adults alike were singing along and dancing to everything Green Day was throwing at them. With “American Eulogy” ending the first-leg of their set list, machines started blowing confetti all over the crowd, from the front to the back, side to side; every one was covered in it. People were even making “snow angels” in the confetti, as well as crumpling it up into balls and attempting to throw it at each other, with little avail obviously.

After saying goodnight and thanking the crowd Billie Joe and his band mates gracefully walked off the stage, only for Billie to re-emerge a few minutes later with only an acoustic guitar and a single spot light beaming down on him. Sitting center stage he ended Green Day’s 6-song encore with acoustic renditions of “Macy’s Day Parade”, “Christie Road” and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”.

Playing an astounding 2 1/2 hour set made up of 28 songs (full set list available below), unheard of in today’s touring atmosphere, Green Day put on one of the best shows I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Should any one get the opportunity to see this band live, they need to jump on the chance.

Vocals: 10
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 10
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 10

Full Green Day set list:

Song of the Century
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
East Jesus Nowhere
The Static Age
Before the Lobotomy
Are We the Waiting?
St. Jimmy
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Hitchin’ a Ride
2000 Light Years Away
Welcome to Paradise
Brain Stew
Basket Case
King for a Day
Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)
21 Guns
American Eulogy


American Idiot
Jesus of Suburbia

Acoustic Encore: 

Macy’s Day Parade
Christie Road
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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