Green DayACL Live at the Moody Theater, Friday, March 15
The Green Day of today rolls quite different from the Green Day of 1993. The latter band pulled up to Emo's in a used bookmobile, loaded minimal equipment onto the stage themselves, and unleashed several short sharp shocks that suggested the Buzzcocks or Generation X with a bratty sense of humor. Then they encored with "My Generation" segued into "Jessie's Girl." Fast-forward to 2013. Green Day remains decidedly punk rock, but since their audience could now sell out the new Emo's East for a week straight, the scale of everything gets more grandiose. Which doesn't mean they suck. Quite the contrary. The new millennial Green Day still acts like 19-year-olds who just discovered the Clash. They still stand as a united frontline, Billie Joe Armstrong still whips himself into a Joe Strummer-like frenzy, and their songs still get arranged as a series of dynamic explosions. Having ascended to theatres and arenas, as opposed to grotty punk rock pits, the Bay Area trio takes on a more Springsteenian scale. Supplemented by longtime touring guitarist Jason White, plus a keyboardist and yet another auxiliary singer/guitarist, and as always grounded by bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool, Green Day today extends its operatic mini epics with hand-clapping and drops in volume to induce sing-alongs. Yet the impish spirit of 1993 isn't lost. Three times Armstrong dragged audience members up onstage, a young teen rewarding the frontman with a sloppy kiss on "Know Your Enemy," while another kid got handed the mic for an off-key third verse on "Longview." Somewhere in the middle, songs devolved into brief, Replacements-style snotty covers of "Sweet Child o' Mine," "Highway to Hell," the Isley Brothers' "Shout," and even "Hey Jude." A familiar blue Japanese Stratocaster copy materialized around Armstrong's neck: "I wrote this song in 1993. It's called 'Burn Out!'" Green Day proved anything but that.