Green Day surprise crowds with 21st Century Breakdown

Simon says, "Pose like a rock star!"
Simon says, "Pose like a rock star!"

For the past few evenings, Green Day have been showing up at clubs in the Bay Area, and last night they gave a sold-out crowd at Oakland's Fox Theater a full-on sneak preview of their new album, 21st Century Breakdown.

Earlier this week, the Berkley pop-punk superstars knocked out fans with intimate shows at the Independent and the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Tonight, they're due to play the Uptown in downtown Oakland.

With only eight full rehearsals before hitting the clubs, the expanded version of Green Day - Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool, along with guitarist Jason White, keyboardist Jason Freese and guitarist Jeff Matika - tore through 21st Century Breakdown in its entirety. (Watch the video of the title song below.)

And the crowd goes ape

Helped along by lyric-filled programs, the crowd attempted to sing along, but eventually the newness of the songs and the eurphoria of seeing their heroes this-close gave way to flat-out fanatical cheering.

After a brief intermission, Green Day returned for passionate readings of older cuts like Going To Pasalacqua and King For A Day. They also served up generous helpings of American Idiot, including songs like Jesus Of Suburbia and Homecoming.

21st Century Breakdown - while not called a 'rock opera' like American Idiot - is broken into three acts. Judging from the early reception given the new songs, however, the band is still thinking big - and delivering.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.