Stop When the Red Lights Flash
Review of Green Day's surprise Red 7 show last night
By Raoul Hernandez, 1:57PM, Fri. Nov. 18, 2011
Last time through, August 2009, Green Day sold out San Antonio’s AT&T Center, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong rising to Springsteenian heights as a man of the music faithful and entertainer. Last night at the Bay Area trio's two-and-a-half-hour show at Red 7, he was Clark Kent once again, skinny punk rocker in bleached hair and Converses quaffing beers.
“Welcome to Texas,” grinned Armstrong as the group, augmented by a second guitarist (“the Green Day quatro”), shuffled onstage at 11pm sharp. “We’ve been hanging around [Austin] a few days.”
Just enough time, it seems, to see tickets to this not oversold sell-out go onsale for two minutes yesterday. With that, Dookie scooper “Welcome to Paradise” followed by “American Idiot” went off like Green Day at Liberty Lunch in 1994 – a concussion bomb. The latter blew a fuse.
After that began that which consumed most of the 80-minute main set: an album’s worth of new songs. Many, including the first two offers, “Nuclear Family” and “Carpe Diem,” still needed polishing, but after the full frontal skank of “Hitchin’ a Ride,” newbie’s “Stay the Night” and “Stop When the Red Lights Flash” settled into less anthemic more rhythmic memorables. That’s the point when the evening’s birthmark revealed itself: Green Day’s tribute to Glenn Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun Fest meltdown – Misfits’ cover “Hybrid Moments.” Twice.
“I’ve got to take a Lone Star piss,” quipped Armstrong running offstage soon afterward.
“We’re going to throw in some more new songs people haven’t heard yet,” he said by way of a mea cupla upon return, and though “Amanda” floundered and “99 Revolutions” spun at 33rpm, the real performance began at the hour–long encores. The Misfits’ “Teenagers from Mars,” a fistful of Foxboro Hot Tub covers – Green Day’s alterego, which played a similar “secret show” at Emo’s in 2008 – and any number of beer-soaked, stage-diving oldies: “2,000 Light Years,” “One for the Razorbacks,” and “Going to Pasalacqua” among them.
Someone in the front row held up lyrics to the group’s Amy Winehouse tribute, “Amy,” which calmed the natives before they lost it again on “Brain Stew/Jaded” and “Know Your Enemy,” feral workouts in punk rock riot gear.
“We have overstayed our welcome,” panted Armstrong at the end, thanking Austin. “This is the home of rock & roll.”