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On the eve of the release of Green Day’s latest LP, Saviors, the hottest ticket in New York was for the band’s intimate Irving Plaza show as part of SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series. Some fans lined up in chilly 30-degree weather for hours to get a good spot inside the 1,100-capacity venue, and the band’s 26-song set made up for that less-than-pleasant wait.
Typically booked in arenas and stadiums, Green Day wanted to treat fans who missed them at small clubs in the ’90s to that same experience, which so far has encompassed a surprise gig at London pub the Marquis and a visit to Las Vegas’ 1,000-capacity Fremont Country Club. Last night (Jan. 19), the band walked onstage to the Champs’ “Tequila,” launching into a thunderous version of frequent set opener “American Idiot.” The mood shifted when Green Day opted to play six songs in a row from Saviors, including the live debut of “One Eyed Bastard.”
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Though energetic, the performances couldn’t distract from how misguided the new songs are, in particular, the Weezer-meets-Machine Gun Kelly love song “Bobby Sox.” In a live setting, the melodies felt like half-hearted attempts to capture the magic from the band’s earlier hits.
Fans didn’t seem as as interested in the Saviors part of the set, with many blankly watching the band without as much as a head-bang. However, their vigor returned when the band played the Dookie favorite “Burnout,” and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong matched the energy when imploring the crowd to sing along to fellow Dookie classic “Longview.”
At one point, Armstrong urged people to put away their phones and reminded, “the last thing we need is for fuckin’ Elon Musk to be bitchin’ about anything anymore” — a reference to a Musk X post complaining about Green Day having changed the phrase “redneck agenda” to “MAGA agenda” during a New Year’s Rockin’ Eve performance of “American Idiot.”
Besides other Dookie highlights “Basket Case” and “She,” which were a reminder of the soon-to-be-30-years-old album’s staying power, Green Day also honored the impending 20th birthday of American Idiot with “Holiday” and crowd favorite “St. Jimmy” (both albums will be played in full on tour this year). Devotees were treated to several deeper cuts, including “Christie Road,” “Stuart and the Ave.,” and the title track of Warning. Armstrong also paused “Minority” to celebrate the birthdays of touring bandmates Kevin Preston and Jason Freese.
Although there was no encore, the set closed with the poignant Idiot tracks “Homecoming” and “Whatsername,” capping a night filled with an admirable commitment to showcasing the material which helped Green Day leap from clubs to ballparks in the first place.
Green Day’s Irving Plaza setlist:
Look Ma, No Brains!
The American Dream Is Killing Me
One Eyed Bastard (live debut)
Welcome to Paradise
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Minority (with “Happy Birthday to You” snippet dedicated to Kevin Preston and Jason Freese)
2000 Light Years Away
One of My Lies
Stuart and the Ave.
To see our running list of the top 100 greatest rock stars of all time, click here.