Last week, Metro celebrated its 40th anniversary. This week, the venerable club did something they’ve never done in their history: host Green Day.
The surprise show – before the rockers wrap up Lollapalooza on Sunday – was announced on Tuesday and tickets sold out within minutes the following day. The pandemonium had not subsided as the 11 p.m. show on Friday night approached. Metro posted on social media that the “last three tickets” would be released at 8:30 p.m. and it was an online goose chase to get the golden tickets. Those who didn’t line up on Clark Street hoping and praying that someone was selling a last-minute spot.
Green Day doesn’t do shows like this anymore – after 75 million albums sold, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Broadway, they’re more likely to fill Wrigley Field at this point in their career. But seeing them at the Metro felt really good to me, a throwback to their gritty, simple punk jane roots in small clubs where you could still see the sweat on Billie Joe Armstrong’s face — or even catch germs.
“Welcome to our little supercast event,” the frontman joked, commenting on the wall-to-wall bodies that may have been the busiest subway ever (even more so than Metallica’s rare appearance last fall). ). It must be said that Metro respected its vaccination requirements and encouraged the wearing of masks for participants.
Still, the greatest hits set did a great job of taking people back to the good old days anyway — like elementary school and high school. During the 90-minute performance, the band pulled off 25 of their best, with “Welcome to Paradise” and “Basket Case” eliciting full accompaniments from more than a few nostalgics. Armstrong at one point even threw his microphone into the crowd for a sweaty fan to take over. Also in the mix were a few “deep cuts”, including “Church on Sunday“, the happy reaction testifying to the fact that the room was filled with the diehards who were meant to be there.
“I’m so glad we never broke up,” Armstrong said mid-set, adding a comment about not being the victim of another “unbearable group meeting.” Seeing the way he, drummer Tré Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt (along with additional touring staff) always work so well together and always bring a fun tune, even when discussing American politics, it’s like if the last 30 years had just passed.
Playing well past midnight, there was no encore. Just a warm goodbye. “We will remember this one forever,” Armstrong said. The feeling was definitely mutual.