It’s no secret that Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day have an active political voice. “American Idiot,” the title track on the group’s 2004 album explicitly states, “I’m not part of a redneck agenda.”
This was back in 2004 during the Bush administration, so you could imagine how the band feels now.
Following the presidential election in November, the band performed a song off their new album “Revolution Radio,” “Bang Bang,” at the American Music Awards. Vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong tweaked the lyrics and repeatedly chanted, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” This is after the KKK had endorsed the president-elect.
Since then, Trump’s actions include far-right cabinet appointments, resuming Dakota Access Pipeline construction, calls for a U.S.-Mexican border wall, anti-immigration orders, etc.
You’re probably thinking the band is ready to explode. And they have.
I was lucky enough to see the third show of their current “Revolution Radio” tour in Dallas last weekend. Yes, Dallas, Texas. It may have been located in the notorious home state of the “redneck agenda,” but this crowd seemed to consist of nothing but young, hungry college kids from the local schools, as well as the die-hard classic rock-turned-punk dudes that have nothing left in the music world but Green Day.
Altogether, Armstrong and the band preached to the audience, opening with “Know Your Enemy,” which was more than appropriate.
Sitting in the pit two feet from Armstrong impacted my experience, but looking back everyone from the nosebleeds down was going insane. Our group was jumping in unison, out of breath and soaking in each other’s sweat. All were completely consumed by the heavy bass, Armstrong’s untamed guitar solos and passionately raw lyrics. After about the first five songs from the set list, he brought politics to the stage for his first rant.
“This is the best crowd we’ve ever seen here in Dallas,” he yelled, preceding the crowd’s eruption. He let the energy manifest and spread, a ripple in a sea of mesmerized fans covered in eyeliner and dyed hair. The energy enamored us; possessed by Billie Joe’s words, the audience would have done anything he asked.
“You know what, Dallas, I want to tell you something. We are all so uniquely f***ed up. This place and this time has f***ed us up. It’s beautiful. You’re all so beautiful. But we are all in the together. We can all be f***ed up together. United and f***ed up in the U.S.A!”
The theme of unity soared from “Holiday” to “Longview,” “Jesus of Suburbia” to “St. Jimmy.” By the time Armstrong came back for his solo encore, the crowd was arm in arm in the pit, swaying and sharing sweat and tears while “Good Riddance” played gently from his acoustic guitar.
It truly was the time of our lives; Green Day had accomplished perhaps what was one of their political goals tonight – spreading unity. It truly was a sacred experience.
The concert was love, unity and so much more. Of course a “F*** Donald Trump” was thrown in. But the band and the audience seem to share the same spirit. We all felt the same connection in Dallas that night.
I bought my tickets to Green Day in Dallas back in October when they announced the first half of their tour that didn’t include Albuquerque. I strongly encourage any Green Day fan, music fan or really any American to cough up the 40 bucks and attend this life-changing experience coming to the Isleta Amphitheater on September 11th (I’m already picturing a tear-jerking performance of “Wake Me Up When September Ends”).
The concert rivaled my experience of seeing the Foo Fighters live. The energy, electricity and elated concert is something you don’t want to miss.
Although I recommend the element of surprise, you can find the “Revolution Radio” tour setlist on online music-streaming platforms.
Charissa Inman is a contributor to Daily Lobo Music. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.