by David Downs
Around 3,000 lucky music fans spilled onto Telegraph Avenue hoarse-voiced and half-deaf Tuesday night after having seen the third, coveted last-minute Green Day show to rattle the Bay Area in the last week. The East Bay-rooted, platinum-selling pop punk trio debuted the entirety of their highly anticipated new LP 21st Century Breakdown for 75 minutes, then delivered another hour of their greatest hits to wild acclaim. "Tell your Mom and Dad 'I'm not going to school tomorrow, fuck it,'" lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong told the all-ages crowd clad in tight denim and punk spikes.
Breakdown continues the operatic tone of American Idiot and contains both power ballads and some certified crowd movers like "21 Guns" and "Last of the American Girls." But the energy of the night was clearly reserved for prior work in the encore. Billboard 200 number one hit "American Idiot," and well as hits "Minority," "Jesus of Suburbia," and "Welcome to Paradise" tested the seismic retrofitting to the newly restored Fox Theater in downtown Oakland as the crowd went bananas. "It only took 35 years and $90 million dollars, but not bad," Armstrong said about the hometown building, ordering the crowd to clap, sing, stand up, and jump like he was a revivalist preacher.
The Fox show, which was being filmed for a DVD, was the third road test for Green Day's new material after two shows last week in San Francisco. The band has chosen to announce the dates the day of - or in this case, the day prior to - the engagement, leaving fans (and scalpers) scrambling to scoop tickets off Ticketmaster or Craigslist, because the shows sell out within minutes. Tickets for the Fox show appeared on Ticketmaster at 5 p.m. Monday and were limited to two per purchase. Ecstatic, hard-core Green Day disciples showed up by 8 p.m. for the 9 p.m. show and received a custom handbill with lyrics to the entire new album and set list, as well as a commemorative poster on the way out.
Another show at the Uptown happens tonight.