Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Aug 26th 2009 11:30AM by Steve Baltin
After walking through the crowd from the back of the general admission floor to the stage, Armstrong warned the audience, "This is our last show of our tour tonight and we're gonna play all f---ing night." Turns out he wasn't kidding as Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool and friends rocked a stunning two hours and 45 minutes that covered more than four decades of rock.
Armstrong was in a confrontational mood, calling out Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger early, saying we had to get rid of him, and then challenging a fan who wasn't standing, saying, "This is a f---ing rock 'n' roll show." The band showed serious rock chops in a spot on cover of the opening riff of Van Halen's 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love.' But that was just the start of the karaoke. The same medley that incorporated Zeppelin saw Lynyrd Skynyrd coming west with 'Sweet Home California,' Ozzy Osbourne's 'Believer' and a full-crowd sing along of Guns 'N' Roses 'Sweet Child O' Mine.' For good measure, they later tackled the Beastie Boys' 'Girls,' the Rolling Stones' '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' and the Doors' 'Break on Through.'
But the tribute segments -- no song got a full cover -- were only a small part of the arena rock spectacle. For 'Longview' Armstrong brought up a kid named Andrew, who looked to be at most 13 or 14, to sing the song and strut all over that stage (check it out when it inevitably hits YouTube -- this kid is a born frontman), and another fan made it to the stage to play guitar on 'Jesus of Suburbia.'
Constantly breaking down the barrier between the crowd and artist, Armstrong plucked fans up regularly, stage dove himself at the end of 'Jesus of Suburbia,' and did his own "halftime" entertainment, shooting a water gun and t-shirts into the rabid audience.
Combine all of this with the steady stream of pyrotechnics in the form of literal flames as well as sparklers, confetti that flooded over the floor at the end of 'Minority,' and his constant stage banter and you have one heck of a show. Underneath all those trappings though that made for arena rock bliss was a potent catalog delivered with both confidence and superior musicianship on such songs as 'American Idiot,' the title track from '21st Century Breakdown,' a stand-out '21 Guns,' a rollicking 'King For a Day' and many more.
And it was the music was what was left at the end as Armstrong stood alone in the center of the stage with an acoustic guitar for a superb closing set that began with 'Macy's Day Parade' and wrapped with a stunning version of 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).'