"We are the freaks/We are the weirdos/We are lonely/But tonight, this is a gathering of friends/This is our community!"
Green Day came to Isleta Amphitheater on Monday, Sept. 11, with an electric punk energy that only they can invoke. The concert was a massive celebration of inclusion, as well as audience participation. During the opening song, “Know Your Enemy,” lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong called for a fan to jump on stage and help sing the chorus, driving the entire crowd to cheer relentlessly. The teenage boy, during his tandem rendition of the song, jumped off for a crowd surfing experience he will likely never forget.
Throughout the night the band called for people to hop on stage with them, as if the entire amphitheater was casually listening to the band in Armstrong’s garage. He even brought a girl up to play guitar with the band for about five minutes — and let her keep the guitar afterwards. Green Day’s aggressive and sharp punk sound was enough to keep the crowd jumping and fist-pumping non-stop, but the background set was just as inspiring. The set changed four times: beginning with the “Revolution Radio” album cover and ending with neon Green Day letters and lots of flames.
Green Day set the tone early in the night; this show was about letting loose and going crazy, and they gave us the freedom to do it.
At one point, Armstrong pointed out a fan who was recording video with her phone. He exclaimed, “What are you taking video? For Facebook? We don’t need that tonight! Put that s--- away. Tonight let’s live for today!”
Green Day fan Anibal Reyes, center, cheers for the band as they walk on stage at the Isleta Amphitheatre on Sept. 11, 2017.
And we did.
After that came a medley of covers. Screaming at the top of our lungs, the audience sang along to a rendition of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” with Armstrong urging, “A little bit louder now...” Green Day covered The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” pointing the microphone at the audience as a chorus of thousands sang along. To slow things down, the medley ended with an emotional cover of “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, with Billie Joe laying completely on the floor. Fans young and old couldn’t help but chant all the “nah”s.
It’s no secret that the band has a history of being political. Green Day is not afraid to call out “American Idiots” and speak out against hate groups. After the third song in the set, “Holiday,” Billie Joe blatantly screamed, “No racism, no sexism, no homophobia, and no f------ Nazis!”
But his political activism ended there. It was clear Armstrong wanted their New Mexico crowd to lose themselves in the music.
No one in the crowd took a seat the entire two and a half hours that Green Day played. The set was a dynamic mix of old songs and new. They played classics such as “Longview” and “Welcome to Paradise,” hits from their punk rock opera American Idiot and new material from their album Revolution Radio, which included “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio,” “Still Breathing,” “Youngblood” and “Ordinary World.”
Revolution Radio reached number one on Billboard 200 in the U.S. last October, and for good reason. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it — but nothing can beat seeing Green Day’s Revolution Radio tour live.
Charissa Inman is a volunteer writer for Daily Lobo Music. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLoboMusic.