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Green Day Previews New Album ‘Saviors’ at Intimate, Hit-Filled Irving Plaza Show

On Aug. 5, Green Day will play for more than 40,000 people at New York’s Citi Field. But before that, the alt-rock trio treated 1,200 fans in the city to an intimate gig at Irving Plaza, where they previewed songs off their new record, “Saviors,” and celebrated milestone anniversaries of their most famous albums: 2004’s “American Idiot” and 1994’s “Dookie.”

The show was part of SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series, which has previously lassoed big acts like Ed Sheeran, John Mayer and Alicia Keys into tight venues. And it will air on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on Green Day Radio (channel 107) and be available to stream on the SiriusXM app.

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Opening the night, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool (plus touring members Jason White, Jason Freese and Kevin Preston) burst into “American Idiot” before launching straight into a handful of tracks from “Saviors.” The new songs, especially “One Eyed Bastard” and “Bobby Sox,” sound good, which is largely a testament to Armstrong’s ageless voice. Draped in a black pinstripe suit and messy, bleached-blond hair, the 51-year-old frontman didn’t miss a note. After the first chorus of fan favorite “Longview,” as a crowd surfer paddled toward the stage, Armstrong urged the audience to “put those phones away” and then murmured something about Elon Musk.

It’s been decades since Green Day maintained any sort of legitimate punk-rock cred, but the band nevertheless has a unique ability to strike a political nerve. Welcoming in 2024 at “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Armstrong switched a lyric in “American Idiot” from “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda” to “I’m not a part of a MAGA agenda,” sparking a mini conservative outcry. At Irving Plaza, Armstrong stepped away from the mic, and the crowd — without instruction — sang the “MAGA” lyric back to him. A video from Irving Plaza posted to Rolling Stone’s Instagram invited hundreds of reactionary comments. Bashing Trump isn’t exactly a radical concept, but it is impressive how seamlessly the impact of “American Idiot,” conceived during the Bush era, has translated to today.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Billie Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt of Green Day perform for SiriusXM's Small Stage Series at Irving Plaza on January 18, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Billie Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt of Green Day perform for SiriusXM's Small Stage Series at Irving Plaza on January 18, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

One of the new cuts, “Bobby Sox,” isn’t inherently political but features a rather pronounced gender swap (“Do you wanna be my girlfriend? / Do you wanna be my boyfriend?”) that nods to Armstrong’s sexuality. (The punk singer said in 1995, “I think I’ve always been bisexual,” and there are a couple of covert references to his queerness in the band’s 1994 breakout “Dookie.”)

Flanked by Cool’s drumstick-throwing theatrics and Dirnt’s strutting bass moves, Armstrong’s affect was contagious — so much so that a man and a woman behind me had fully adopted his pop-punk accent and giddily harmonized with him throughout the show. The audience was by no means young — after all, Green Day debuted in 1989 — but crowd surfers youthfully bobbed across the room during every other song.

Green Day honored its history with a handful of tracks from 1992’s “Kerplunk,” including the particularly energetic “2000 Light Years Away.” And the band played for about an hour and 40 minutes before closing with “Basket Case,” “Homecoming” and “Whatsername.” On the way out, fans were gifted a limited edition, pink and black “Green Day Live at Irving Plaza” poster adorned with skulls.

Green Day will embark on a stadium tour starting May 30 in Spain. The band will perform the albums “Dookie” and “American Idiot” in their entirety and be joined by the Smashing Pumpkins and Rancid in the U.S. and Nothing but Thieves and the Hives in Europe.

View the full Irving Plaza setlist below:

  1. American Idiot

  2. Look Ma, No Brains!

  3. The American Dream Is Killing Me

  4. Dilemma

  5. One Eyed Bastard

  6. Bobby Sox

  7. 1981

  8. Burnout

  9. Longview

  10. Welcome to Paradise

  11. She

  12. Holiday

  13. Boulevard of Broken Dreams

  14. Letterbomb

  15. Minority

  16. 2000 Light Years Away

  17. One of My Lies

  18. Stuart and the Ave.

  19. Christie Rd.

  20. Brain Stew

  21. St. Jimmy

  22. Warning

  23. Revolution Radio

  24. Basket Case

  25. Homecoming

  26. Whatsername

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