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Photos: Green Day Brings Arena Punk Rock To Wrigley Field

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 25, 2017 5:20PM

Thursday night's Green Day show exhibited what happens when you bring a punk rock spirit to a massive venue. You get a mixture of politics, aggressive guitars, and a whole lot of crowd participation. But what you mostly get is an impish take on ridiculous spectacle.

Green Day as a live act has shaped their show around the reality that they are one of the biggest rock bands of the world. But the spirit in their sets still holds much more in common with their start playing basements and all ages clubs in the late '80s. The core Trio of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool has probably spent more time together on stage than doing anything else at this point, so they have this whole concert thing pretty nailed down. And they remember their early days, even when playing an iconic baseball stadium. At one point Armstrong dedicated one of their earliest songs "2000 Light Years Away" to anyone who attended their 1991 show at the legendary Elmhurst punk venue McGregor's. And in case anyone forgot that Green Day has long ties to the local scene, Armstrong made sure to yell "Chicago!" over and over again throughout the show.

The crowd at Wrigley ranged from toddlers barely able to walk through septuagenarians, reflecting that during the band's long rise to fame, punk rock has become as mainstream as the pop music it once rebelled against. But Green Day has always been more about inclusion than rebellion, and last night's show had plenty of memorable crowd participation moments. The most memorable was during the band's copy of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge" when they pulled a teenager—identified as Richie from Glen View—to play guitar with the band and then et Richie keep the guitar. And in another memorable moment, a kid who couldn't have been more than ten was pulled from the crowd to sing the final verse of "Longview." Believe me, it's both hilarious and cute to see a pre-teen jumping up and down singing, "My mother says to get a job / but she don't like the one she's got / When masturbation's lost its fun / you're fucking lonely!"

But the band had a few serious moments. The writers of American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown, and Revolution Radio can't be expected to eschew politics completely. Armstrong at one point said that he believed that people lose their freedom of speech as soon as they identified themselves as a nazi; and, though he said he is a pacifist, he added that those people deserve to get punched in the face.

As if to overcorrect, sometimes the show got a little too goofy, including a medley of "Shout," Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and Hey Jude" along with the sax intro to "Careless Whisper" tacked onto "King For A Day."

Overall Green Day reminded everyone why they've been doing this successfully for so long—punk rock runs in their veins, they love what they do, and no matter how huge they get that'll never change.

Full setlist for Green Day at Wrigley Field, Aug. 24, 2017

Know Your Enemy
Bang Bang
Revolution Radio
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
2000 Light Years Away
Hitchin' a Ride
When I Come Around
Welcome to Paradise
Are We the Waiting
St. Jimmy
Basket Case
King for a Day
Still Breathing
Forever Now

First Encore:
American Idiot
Jesus of Suburbia

Second Encore:
21 Guns
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)