Portland’s Memorial Coliseum rocked recently to the punk pop sound of multi-award winning Green Day. Clearly influenced by the glory days of punk, the hard driving style and raw energy of bands like the Ramones and The Clash screamed through much of their set.
This trio succeeds where those groups failed, however, by pressing punk music to the forefront of mainstream rock ‘n roll. Diehard punkers reviled Green Day for ‘selling out’ their roots when they signed with major label Reprise Records in 1993. The Portland performance, one stop on the wildly successful American Idiot Tour, proved that the choice between punk and rock is not one that must be made after all. With Green Day, it’s all good.
Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong segued seamlessly between hardcore punk anthems such as “Basketcase” and “Longview”, emo-punk “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and rock standards like Queen’s “We are the Champions.” Billie Joe was born to rule the stage and rightfully crowned himself the King of Punk Pop by donning royal robes and a crown. The audience morphed into a puppet in his hands, responding to every tug of the strings. The frenzied mass, willing slaves to their charcoal eye-lined master, dutifully obeyed every glance or gesture bestowed upon them by the King. Armstrong’s control of the crowd was nothing less than awe-inspiring. The rush he must feel by that power can’t be imagined.
Unlike their adolescent tours, the boys did not take to the stage for merely two hours of jamming. This flamboyant rock ‘n roll show harkens back to the powerhouse displays that we free-spirited-children of the 70s recall with a secret smile in the midst of board room meetings and soccer-mom carpools. The show explodes with pyrotechnics, bombs, lights, confetti guns and a pulsating sound that burn into your very bone structure. Green Day is a punked out rock ‘n roll at its most fun.