Green Day Kickstart the ‘Saviors’ Era With Thrilling New York Concert


“Put your phones away!” Billie Joe Armstrong barked to 1,100 lucky Green Day fans that crammed into New York’s Irving Plaza Thursday night for a special SiriusXM concert celebrating the release of of their new LP, Saviors. “Put them away! Just enjoy the moment. The last thing we need is for fuckin’ Elon Musk to be bitchin’ about anything anymore.”

He was referring to Musk’s New Year’s day Tweet where he said Green Day went from “raging against the machine to milquetoastedly (sic) raging for it” because they dared to add a slight anti-Trump reference to the lyrics of “American Idiot” on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

If Musk was in the audience at Irving Plaza, he would have seen that there is nothing even remotely milquetoast about Green Day circa 2024. And the notion they’re somehow shilling for the powerful with new songs like “The American Dream Killing Me” is just absurd. They remain a uniquely powerful band that’s lost none of their righteous rage, even though they’re nearing their 40th year as a band.

Green Day at Irving Plaza

Sacha Lecca for Rolling Stone

That’s why Green Day fans from all over the country flocked to New York for the show and stood for hours in the freezing cold outside waiting for the doors to open. They warmed up when the lights dimmed, Chuck Rio’s 1958 hit “Tequila” blared over the PA, and the band walked out and burst into a furious “American Idiot.”

They followed it up with a mini-set of Saviors tunes, including the live debut of “One Eyed Bastard.” This is the sort of gambit that would be hard to pull off in a stadium, which is why they’re playing Dookie and American Idiot straight through this summer, but was remarkably effective in a club. The frenetic “Look Ma, No Brains!” kicked off the mini-set (“Slam danced on my face again/Nonsense is my heroin”), leading right into “The American Dream Is Killing Me,” which is essentially “American Idiot” updated for the the age of Trump and misinformation. “Send out an S.O.S,” Armstrong snarled. “It’s getting serious/Bulldoze your family home/Now it’s a condo.”

Green Day at Irving Plaza

Sacha Lecca for Rolling Stone

The Saviors portion of the set wrapped up with the playful bisexual ditty “Bobby Sox” and “1981,” a tribute to the early days of MTV. The Saviors tunes they selected happened to be the first six songs on the record, and it briefly seemed like they were going to just continue until they played the whole thing, much like they did when they played American Idiot at Irving Plaza the week it came out in September 2004.

But that wasn’t the plan. Saviors was put aside for the rest of the night as they revisited songs from their extensive catalog, beginning with a quadruple shot of Dookie: “Burnout,” “Longview,” “Welcome to Paradise,” and “She.” It was a potent dose of Nineties nostalgia that fired up the crowd, and actually inspired a few brave souls that probably hadn’t seen a mosh pit in a couple of decades to crowd surf.

The clock then moved ahead a decade for “Holiday,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and “Letterbomb” from American Idiot. These were unfamiliar new songs when Green Day first played them at Irving Plaza back in 2004, but they’re now stadium rock anthems that have lost none of their potency.

Green Day at Irving Plaza

Sacha Lecca for Rolling Stone

The final ten songs was basically the Green Day catalog on shuffle. They went from “Minority” (2000) to “2000 Light Years Away” (1991), “Stuart and the Ave.” (1995), and “Revolution Radio (2016). It was impossible to guess what was coming next. But at the end, they returned to American Idiot with the deep cuts “Homecoming” and “Whatshername.” Both songs have been heard only a handful of times since the original American Idiot tour.

“We love you,” Armstrong said at the end of “Whatshername.” “I love you so much. I wish the best for all of you, all the time. Your family, your friends, stay together. Give each other a hug. Good night.”

At a standard Green Day concert, they would have come back out for an encore of “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Jesus of Suburbia,” and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” But this wasn’t a standard Green Day show, and there was no encore. Nobody seemed too upset about that as they walked back onto the freezing New York streets. They’d just witnessed a remarkable event by one of the last Nineties bands that refuses to simply coast on past glories.

Green Day at Irving Plaza

Sacha Lecca for Rolling Stone

They’ll be back this summer for a stadium show with pyro, smoke machines, and every single song on American Idiot and Dookie. Let’s just hope that leaves room for more than just a couple of Saviors songs. They proved at Irving Plaza that the wok stands up with everything that came before it.

Green Day Set List


“American Idiot”
“Look Ma, No Brains!”
“The American Dream Is Killing Me”
“One Eyed Bastard”
“Bobby Sox”
“Welcome to Paradise”
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
“2000 Light Years Away”
“One of My Lies”
“Stuart and the Ave.”
“Christie Road”
“Brain Stew”
“St. Jimmy”
“Revolution Radio”
“Basket Case”

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