All photos by Adrian Jusue
Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt have gigged stadiums and arenas across the world. They've headlined countless of music festivals. And with every tour, there’s been a mandatory Bay Area stop. However, the show this past weekend was different. It was the Coliseum. And it was a homecoming: More than 25,000 hardcore Green Day fans of all ages converged on the legendary venue to witness the Berkeley Punk Kids.
Armstrong said it best during an Instagram live chat a few hours prior to the show, when he reminisced of trips as a kid to go see the Green and Gold play at the stadium: “I used to take BART from El Cerrito to Oakland, playing at the Coliseum is a dream come true.”
The love for Oakland and West Contra Costa was felt throughout their two-and-half hour set. Dirnt is from El Sobrante, Armstrong is a product of WCC, and the band have close ties with the Athletics. There's Green Day fireworks night, band members often throw out the first pitch, and the team will give away collector edition tees and hats. At their pop-up shop set at 1-2-3-4 Go Records! recently, the most coveted item was a satin green and gold jacket. This highly sought-after item was also sold at the Coliseum the night of the show, and tons of fans shelled out the $125 price tag. Here’s to hoping that Green Day makes it a permanent item for their online merch store.
Some fans stood in long lines to get merchandise, but others chose to arrive early for a coveted spot in general admission. At shows, lucky fans are invited up on stage during “Longview," or to play guitar and earn a free ax. Plus, there's still stage-diving at Green Day shows (bless your souls, young wildlings brave enough to do such a feat.)
The band's between-song banter was rooted in the bay, as well. “The Oakland Coliseum, home of the A’s and the Las Vegas Raiders. Don’t worry, when they leave, we are gonna burn this motherfucker down,” Armstrong joked at one point, the audience cheering in agreement.
Green Day also got political, and from the start, which was not a surprise. If there were any Trump supporters at the show, however, they surely felt uncomfortable, and I'd be shocked if they chose to stay. “No Racism! No Sexism! No Homophobia, and No Donald Trump!” Armstrong yelled at one point.
The impressive set list of twenty-six songs included hits such as “Welcome to Paradise,” Basket Case,” and “She” (off 1994’s Dookie),
and also “2000 Light Years Away” from 1991’s Kerplunk
, in addition to newer material like “Still Breathing” and “Revolution Radio.”
The band performed two encores, which featured “American Idiot,” and the impressive eleven-plus minute long track, "Jesus of Suburbia,” with lyrics inspired by Armstrong’s upbringing in Rodeo. The final encore songs were “21 Guns,” and “Good Riddance.”
Green Day's political yet poetic homecoming show ended in the most fitting way, with lengthy display of fireworks, which put the Athletics’ firework games to shame.