"I'm having fun playing old stuff," Billie Joe Armstrong said last night (10/8) at Webster Hall after playing a couple songs with "Blue" (the guitar he got when he was ten that he always breaks out for pre-Nimrod material). Green Day always make sure to do something for their day ones at shows -- even their last trip to NYC at the massive Barclays Center included "Going To Pasalacqua" and their Operation Ivy cover -- but this very intimate Webster Hall show was coming one day after they played the even more intimate Rough Trade NYC and did a very rare set of mostly pre-Nimrod songs, so anticipation for early deep cuts was high. Webster Hall didn't exactly get the dream setlist that Rough Trade got. It was also, at two hours and twenty minutes with two encores, longer than Rough Trade and closer in approach to the rest of their current tour. But while Green Day's "Blue" era for most of this tour has relied heavily on Dookie hits, they made the Webster Hall show something extra special for old fans.

We got nine consecutive songs from that era (plus "Basket Case" and "She" later on), including some stuff that you really don't hear every day. They went really far back for "409 in Your Coffeemaker," and chose a nice selection of non-international superhits from Kerplunk and Insomniac, including "Private Ale," "One of My Lies," "Christie Road," "Armatage Shanks," "Stuart and the Ave," and "Brat." Green Day's newer stuff can be pretty whatever, and Dookie is great but overplayed, but it's tough to deny how much impact songs like that aforementioned bunch still have today. And Green Day still rip through them. They looked like they were genuinely enjoying revisiting that stuff, and they played 'em as good as they used to. Goofy and non-pretentious, but still meaning business and sounding tight as hell. It all made sitting through "Know Your Enemy" worth it.

Green Day are doing this tour of smaller clubs in celebration of their new album Revolution Radio. There's something of a "back to our roots" aura to this one -- its best song "Bang Bang" induces a lot of nostalgia for the early/mid '90s years -- but it's still very much the post-American Idiot Green Day. That's not exactly my bag, but unlike another great '90s rock band with a questionable 2000s career, Weezer, most of the latter-day stuff sounds just fine in a live environment.

If Green Day are getting back to their roots, the small clubs, old deep cuts, and "Bang Bang" are all making a great case that they're doing a pretty damn good job. But unlike even competing pop punk kings blink-182, Green Day can't fully commit to being a club-playing punk band anymore. That's not necessarily either negative or positive, it's just that it very much felt like watching an arena band play a small room. Billie Joe is always getting the crowd to do "HEEEEEEY-OHHHH" chants or sing "Hey Jude" or just simply repeat "Hey." He's 100% a Rock Star. (At one point during "Basket Case" he may have yelled "rock and roll isn't dead.") That said, he's still got the same quirky charm he won over fans with as a blue-haired brat two decades ago. He still makes all those animated faces, and still runs around the stage with boyish joy. He's also still advocating for positive change. He shouted out "no racism, no sexism, no homophobia" (a phrase Green Day are selling on a shirt this tour), and of course addressed the imminent election. The crowd started a "fuck Donald Trump!" chant, which Billie had encouraged at the Rough Trade show too.

The Webster Hall show had an unannounced opening acoustic set from NYC staple (and Billie Joe's old friend) Jesse Malin (who got even more anti-Trump in his stage banter). More pictures coming soon. Update: Pictures from the show in the gallery above. Check out some videos and the setlist below.

UPDATE 2: Green Day announced a 2017 tour with Against Me! of much larger venues.

Green Day at Webster Hall - 10/8/16 Setlist
Know Your Enemy
Bang Bang
Revolution Radio
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Private Ale
Armatage Shanks
Stuart and the Ave.
409 in Your Coffeemaker
One of My Lies
Christie Road
Nice Guys Finish Last
Hitchin' a Ride
Are We the Waiting
St. Jimmy
Basket Case
King for a Day (with snippets of Shout, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, and Hey Jude)
Still Breathing

Encore 1:
American Idiot
Jesus of Suburbia

Encore 2 (Billie Joe Armstrong solo acoustic):
Ordinary World
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

photos by Dana Distortion

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