Green Day

Awesome As Fuck

Written by: PP on 19/04/2011 18:59:49

"Awesome As Fuck". There isn't a better answer for Billie Joe Armstrong in response to the question "How does it feel like standing in front of a ten-thousand strong audience playing Green Day songs?", so it's a natural title for their newest live outing attempting to capture the greatest show on earth(tm) on audio and video format. This review focuses only on the audio section of the box set, which features a great setlist of seventeen Green Day songs from sixteen different venues on four continents from their 2009-2011 "21st Century Breakdown World Tour" - and neither "Basket Case" nor "Longview" is even included on the package, surprisingly enough.

As is the norm in modern Green Day shows, overblown crowd-control theatrics, fireworks, pyro effects, explosions and a confetti storm are presented in exactly the same scripted order night in night out - one of the great criticisms of Green Day live shows - which is why the mixing of the record doesn't feel disjointed at all. The sound is seamlessly transitioning between venues across the world without any breaks, and the unsuspecting listener is easily tricked into thinking this is all recorded in one take at the same venue. So the production deserves a lot of props for that fact alone, but it is near-perfect all-around, allowing clear and crisp sounding instruments from all band members and vocals to balance evenly in the mix. Plus there's the roar of a massive crowd which almost makes you think you're actually at the venue with a good pair of headphones. Sure, that means you have to endure with thousands of little girls screaming in their high pitch voices throughout the first five tracks because these are reserved exclusively to tracks like "Know Your Enemy", "Holiday" and "Viva La Gloria", all from their band's two latest outings. But it also means that you get to hear them quiet down significantly when the band dives head first into their oldest material all the way back from their 1990 debut album "39/Smooth". "Going To Pasalacqua", "J.A.R (Jason Andrew Relva)", and "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" all make a rare appearance on the recording, followed by a few 90s classics like "Geek Stink Breath", "When I Come Around" and "She".

It creates an interesting debate hearing two so very different eras placed in such a direct contrast. On one hand, "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown" are both good/great albums, but they aren't without their flaws, especially the super-mainstream borefests like "21 Guns" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends" make this scribe cringe time after time. Hearing "Burnout" and even the new song "Cigarettes And Valentines" from the untitled album that got scratched and binned in favour of "American Idiot" tricks the listener into thinking that had Green Day continued down that route, they wouldn't be as big as they are today, but they would be a much better sounding band from the critics point of view. If you haven't heard "Cigarettes And Valentines" yet, it basically sounds just like the songs on "Dookie". Mouth-watering, I'll tell you that much.

It's an interesting choice to leave out two of your biggest hits from the recording, but given this is their fifth live release (counting both EPs and albums) of their career and third in six years, it makes sense. People in places that Green Day doesn't tour get the opportunity to hear some rarer material instead of a greatest hits run. Taking that into consideration and the good production, this is both a good live album and a reminder of how good Green Day can be during their best moments. "Awesome As Fuck", however, it is not.

Download: Burnout, Cigarettes And Valentines
For the fans of: Blink 182, Good Charlotte, The Offspring
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.03.2011
Reprise Records

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