GREEN DAY, FRANZ FERDINAND, EnergySolutions Arena, Aug. 16
While Green Day's new album "21st Century Breakdown" sounds as polished as any progressive rock album, the band — singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, drummer Tre' Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt — is still punk to the core.
Oh, and they are all mama's boys to boot.
The band hit the EnergySolutions Arena Sunday night and, with the tongue-in-cheek smiles gave a worship service that was full of hard-hitting anthems, heart-tugging ballads and a lot of pyrotechnics.
When the tipsy pink bunny stepped on stage, the audience knew the show as about to begin. And begin it did.
The three guys ran on stage and, accompanied by two more musicians, proceeded to play the first four tracks from "21st Century Breakdown" — "Song to the Century," the album's title track, "Know Your Enemy" and "East Jesus Nowhere."
Within that time frame, Armstrong ventured out into the audience and let a fans play his guitar and Armstrong also asked a young boy come up and performed a televangelist healing rite that ended with a flash and bang from the pyros.
The band not only played most of "21st Century Breakdown," but also inserted other tunes from the band's career.
"Holiday," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Are We the Waiting," from the band's most successful album "American Idiot," were played energy and precision as was vintage works such as "Hitchin' a Ride," "Welcome to Paradise," "Jaded," "When I Come Around" and "Longview."During "Longview," the band asked a couple of audience members to come up and sing leads while it cranked it up.
In addition, within the not-quite-sold-out audience, Armstrong's mother and friends were watching from the seats.
In fact, Armstrong asked his mom to come onto the stage and introduced her to the screaming crowd.
As she left the stage, she stopped and hugged Dirnt and Cool.
Other songs the band played featured the touchingly dynamic "Before the Lobotomy," the frantic "Murder City," crowd favorite "Basket Case," a cover of the Kink's "Your Really Got Me," and, of course, the anthemic "21 Guns."
The show capper was the oldie, but goodie "King for a Day," that served as a vehicle for the band to play excerpts from the Isley Brothers' "Shout," the Doors' "Break on Through (to the Other Side)," Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There."
The night was full of audience participation, which could have been scaled back a bit, but it endeared the audience to the band even more.
Warm-up band Franz Ferdinand did exactly that — warmed the crowd.
The Scotland-based band cranked out its trademark, '80s'-inspired rock, including "Take Me Out" and "No You Girls," which got the audience hot and ready for Green Day.