Gunk up your hair and throw on your chucks because Green Day are back. After a minor setback, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool are hitting the road for the first tour in support of their forthcoming album, Revolution Radio.
Considering their first leg finds them swinging through more intimate locales — you know, like New York’s Webster Hall over the city’s colossal Madison Square Garden — it’s very likely they’ll be tailoring their sets to such comfy confines.
It wouldn’t be the first time. For years, the Oakland rockers have surprised their fans with smaller pop-up shows, and that’s when they’ve traditionally reworked their setlists to include the rarer stuff from their oeuvre.
Who knows if they’ll do the same this go-around, but that hardly stopped me from tossing in my two cents. Hell, I even went the extra mile and recommended which staples they could shake up with these additions.
You’re welcome, guys.
“I Was There”
Shake Up With: “Going to Pasalacqua”
Don’t get me wrong. “Going to Pasalacqua” is one of my favorite songs by Green Day. It’s just that the 39 “hit” has floated around their setlists over the past five years, almost as if to say, “Hey, we remember our early days.” Well, prove it, guys. “I Was There” would be a more than sufficient stand-in every other night, and it would be nice to hear how it sounds with Tré Cool. Lyrically, there are few songs more prescient for the aging punk rockers: “Looking back upon my life/ And the places that I’ve been/ Pictures, faces, girls I’ve loved/ I try to remember when.”
Last Played: Okay, so they did revisit the track in Cleveland last year with original drummer John Kiffmeyer, but that was a one-off appearance, the same way it was a one-off appearance back in 2010 in Costa Rica. Outside of those two performances, it hasn’t been a staple since the ’90s.
Shake Up With: “Christie Road”
Would anyone besides the casual Green Day fans really complain if they double-dipped into 39/Smooth? Hardly. Not that Green Day are in short supply of slow burners or ballads these days, but damn would it be sweet to hear this chugging chunk of distortion. It’s admittedly a pretty sloppy song, and a far cry from their more polished blockbuster days, but Armstrong’s gone a long way as a singer, and he would no doubt elevate the melodies within this one. Try and picture him singing “Angel … Angel!” and not get chills. Add that to the two-guitar charge of Armstrong and fourth member Jason White, and you’ve got yourself a little moment. One that should fulfill the duties of their wonderful and nostalgic walk down “Christie Road”.
Last Played: Apparently, they haven’t nuked this sucker since Poland 1991. Wow.
Shake Up With: “Paper Lanterns”
It’s hard to pick any one song off Kerplunk, especially since the band already tends to play the two best tracks off the album: the aforementioned “Christie Road” and the other left hook, “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?” Still, it wouldn’t hurt to add a third staple to the mix. Granted, they’ve plucked “80” half a dozen times over the last decade, but a great song like “Android” just sits around untouched. Some might call out a few lines as being “problematic” (“Hey old man in woman’s shoes/ I wonder if he knows I think he’s crazy”), but they’d be missing the whole point of Armstrong’s sobering existential crisis (“Or will I grow that old?/ Will I still be around?/ The way I carry on I’ll end up”). Considering everything he’s been through over the last few years, Armstrong may have reason to revisit “Android”.
Last Played: Another untouched oldie that hasn’t seen the stage since Spain 1991.
Shake Up With: “Welcome to Paradise”
When it comes to Dookie, Green Day’s 1994 breakthrough album, you’re pressed to find anything that’s really a rarity. Not only has the band performed the album in full over the years, but a great majority of the album seeps into most of their sets on any given night. Having said that, it would be ideal if “F.O.D.” happened to become a rotating staple in the years to come, maybe subbing in for “Welcome to Paradise” or “Longview”. Sure, that’s a sin to suggest the removal of either of those, but are you really going to miss them when you get the soft-to-loud transition here? Maybe, maybe not, maybe go “F.O.D.” yourself.
Last Played: As previously discussed, they’ve played this one from time to time throughout the years, but mostly during full-album performances of Dookie. It also occasionally surfaced during one of the band’s legs supporting 21st Century Breakdown.
Shake Up With: “Geek Stink Breath”
Sometimes you just want to hear a melody, and that’s the case with “86”. The palm-muted verses, the nasally bridges, the repetitive choruses — it’s all good stuff. “There’s no return from 86,” Armstrong insists, warning: “Don’t even try.” Maybe I’m just getting too fucking old for this shit, but that line feels good to me at age 32, and I’d love to scream it live repeatedly. Not to mention, it would give the band another reason to revisit Insomniac beyond, um, the obvious breadwinners like “Brain Stew”, “Jaded”, or “Geek Stink Breath”. Whatever, we all deserve a selfish pick.
Last Played: Save for a surprise appearance in Quebec City in 2010, this one hasn’t left the album since Milwaukee 2001.