SHOW REVIEW: Green Day, Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Punk rock bands have a harder time getting attention on the music scale. In a world where particularly younger demographics gravitate to top 40 radio, sometimes rock bands get lost in the shuffle. Somehow though, after having been in this business for over 20 years, Green Day continue to be as popular as they did back when they started. It was even more evident when they played Toronto’s Budweiser Stage on August 18th.

Green Day are touring in support of their 12th studio album, Revolution Radio. Joining them were U.K. rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen, who although are more alternative, had the energy of a true good rock band, making for the perfect warm-up. Disappointingly, the band only played five songs, but it was just enough to get the show going.

Before Green Day came on stage, the traditional pink bunny made an appearance. The mascot, a staple at Green Day shows, warms up the crowd by stumbling along the stage while the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” blares on the sound system. Excitement was brewing as fans knew exactly what was coming next.

Green Day opened with the smashing “Know Your Enemy”. Lead with a pounding drum, the band came thrashing on stage ready to kick off the night. Barely halfway through the song, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong pulled a fan up on the stage to sing the last chorus of the song. This trend continued again later on in the set during “Longview” and again during a cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge”. There were no signs of slowing down as the band plowed through newer tracks, “Bang, Bang” and “Revolution Radio”. Accompanied with pyrotechnics and explosions, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The setlist included a wide selection from the band’s catalog. From popular hits like “Holiday” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, to early tracks like “2000 Light Years Away”. Tucked in-between were deep cuts like ‘King For A Day’ and ‘She’, before jumping back to favorites like “Basketcase” and “Minority”.

As the band members have approached middle age, one would think they’d take it easy while performing, but that’s hardly the case. Armstrong bounces around on stage, slinging his guitar, bassist Mike Dirnt follows around making aggressive faces and gestures, and drummer Tre Cool manages to make faces at the crowd. The band puts enormous energy into their respective instruments, almost as if they’re playing their last show ever.

The encore kicked off with “American Idiot”, followed by the nine-minute spectacle “Jesus of Suburbia”. After having played 23 songs, the band was still giving it their all, as the audience fed off every moment. The show toned down to an acoustic somber, the first of throughout the almost three-hour set. A solo Armstrong sang “21 Guns” before rolling into “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. As the song finished, confetti shot from canons while the band took their final bow. There was a feeling of content, and complete joy as fans screamed and cheered along to a band they’ve shown unconditional love to.

WATCH: Green Day – Revolution Radio

Jessica Maxwell

Jessica Maxwell is a Toronto music journalist and writer. Her work has been published in such media outlets as Global News, Anchor Shop, CONFRONT Magazine, and Alan Cross's A Journal of Musical Things. When she's not writing for outlets, she runs her own YouTube channel and blog, Sounds About Write, where she talks about music and lifestyle. She'll happily talk about pop-punk bands with you.

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