Green Day Ready for Revolution at KROQ Almost Acoustic Xmas
If night one of L.A. radio station KROQ’s annual Almost Acoustic Christmas was a celebration of the year in music, night two brought the headlines of 2016 back to the forefront, thanks to a strong set from Beck and a call-to-arms from a fired-up Green Day.
At the close of his masterful performance, Beck paid tribute to the fallen stars of 2016 in a way only he and a top-notch band could do. “It’s been a weird year,” he said in an understatement. “We lost a lot of people.” He then recalled the last time he saw Prince was at the Forum, where Almost Acoustic Xmas was held, calling it, “One of the best shows I’ve ever seen.”
He then paid musical homage to Prince with a snippet of the singer’s “1999,” and David Bowie with guitarist Jason Falkner delivering the riff to “China Girl” during the band intros, in the middle ofan extended “Where It’s At.”
Opening with “Loser” and rolling through hits like “Devil’s Haircut,” “Wow” and “E-Pro,” and a great rendition of “Blue Moon,” Beck and his band delivered a stellar 45 minutes of top-notch funk that looked as if it would be difficult for any band to follow up.
That is, until headliners Green Day took the stage, ready for a revolution. The band, who has been vehemently open in their disdain for president elect Donald Trump, are channeling that fire and energy into their music in a way that immediately calls to mind their brilliant 2004 and 2005, when American Idiot made them the biggest band in rock for the second time. Opening with the title track to that album last night, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers delivered an explosive and rabble-rousing set.
“We’re the freaks and the losers and the weirdos,” frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said late in the hour-plus set. “And we’ve got to stick together, right?” That was one of several messages of unity in the set, another time telling the crowd to “kiss each other right now.”
Armstrong’s anger at what many have called one of the worst years ever was palpable as he said at another point, “I’m so glad 2016 is coming to a close cause 2017 is gonna kick 2016’s ass. I’m ready for some peace and love. I am sick of the chaos.”
If the message he delivered between songs was one of hope and spiritual prosperity in the new year, the music wasn’t ready to let go of their anger at 2016. From “Holiday” and “Revolution Radio” to the singalong “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” and the new “Still Breathing,” every song was played with a ferociousness that inspired the crowd into a frenzy.
During “Longview,” Armstrong flubbed a line, and just smiled, asking, “Does anybody know the lyrics?” He found a girl who did, bringing her on stage to lead the crowd in possibly the greatest (and certainly the biggest) session of Green Day karaoke ever.
The set ended triumphantly with “Minority,” and the entire floor jumping as one in awe of a band fully engaged and at the absolute peak of their game again. When Green Day are at their best, as they showed during their American Idiot days, they are on par with any rock band going. Well, 2017 seems very promising for Green Day and their fans, cause they are at their war-ready best again.
From top to bottom the whole lineup last night offered plenty of highlights, including The Head And The Heart’s opening set, Bishop Briggs proving her brilliant KROQ Weenie Roast set was no fluke, and Weezer providing a hit-filled set that, as always, excited the crowd.
On any other night all of these performances, especially Beck’s, would have been the talk of the crowd on their way out. But this was clearly Green Day’s night, and they made it one to remember.