4

Green Day Keeps Singing for the Angry Eleven-Year-Old Inside Us All

Green Day performing at Fiddler's Green on August 9, 2017.
Green Day performing at Fiddler's Green on August 9, 2017.
Brandon Marshall
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Loyal fans know that when Green Day comes to town, Billie Joe Armstrong will invite some eleven-year-old kid up to play his guitar every goddamn time. He’s been doing it since the punk outfit started packing arenas in 1994. And we’ve not grown tired of it, any more than we’ve grown tired of the band's classic power-chord-driven songs.

The Wednesday, August 9, concert at Fiddler’s Green was no exception. This was a high-energy performance packed with fans of every generation, replete with a dramatic fireworks show, flamethrowers, water hoses, and a nostalgic familiarity everyone hungered for. And Armstrong, he’s just as silly as ever.

Green Day Keeps Singing for the Angry Eleven-Year-Old Inside Us All
Brandon Marshall

Part of what’s so compelling about the members of Green Day is that after three decades of making music, they remain informed and passionate about the world around them, whether they’re belting out lyrics about class and gender in earlier gems like 1997’s “King for a Day” or 1994’s “Welcome to Paradise,” or outright giving Donald Trump the bird while chanting “No Racism, No Sexism, No Homophobia!” during the 2004 song “Holiday.”

At times, it was hard not to roll my eyes at the band’s overly positive messages; after all, the struggle for social justice is more nuanced than “equality for the masses.”

Green Day
Green Day
Brandon Marshall

But I began to understand, song after song, that Armstrong was not singing to me, the snarky know-it-all gender-studies university faculty member. Armstrong sings for that eleven-year-old kid who’s still figuring life out and is probably angry about it. I was that kid in 1994, and I have three tattoos to prove it.

For so many in the crowd, the songs from the band’s 2016 album, Revolution Radio, seemed to spark something inside them – maybe for the first time: a hunger, a rage, a battle to understand each other in the midst of a politically confusing and unpredictable era for our nation.

Armstrong pled for us to put down our cell phones, to see each other's faces, to live in the moment with each other, with no more lies. This was a gathering for and by the underdogs. And we surrendered, willingly.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.