It’s nice that the members of Green Day connect so well with their audience, but the band’s concert this past Friday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center too often seemed more like a summer-camp talent show than an arena production by a world-famous rock band. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was determined to involve audience members every step of the way, whether that meant engaging in long call-and-response sections during nearly half the songs in the band’s set, or actually pulling fans up onstage multiple times to help out with various songs.
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It wasn’t until the fifth song of the night (“The Static Age”) that the band made it through an entire number without pausing for a lengthy mid-song breakdown, and the show’s momentum was frequently halted for subsequent diversions, ranging from mildly amusing (an 8-year-old audience member brought onstage to be “saved” during “East Jesus Nowhere”) to painful (two different fans, neither of whom could keep up, singing lead vocals on the entirety of “Longview”) to just plain tacky (Armstrong bringing out the dreaded T-shirt cannon, staple of monster-truck rallies). “King for a Day” was capped with an extended medley including snippets of such played-out cover-band staples as “Break on Through (To the Other Side),” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and The Isley Brothers’ “Shout.”
But over the course of two and a half hours, Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, drummer Tre Cool and three backing musicians also paraded through a wide range of songs, with the main set divided between a first half of selections from recent political concept albums 21st Century Breakdown and American Idiot and a second half filled with older hits, along with a couple of album tracks. The fleshed-out band sounded good when barreling through punchy numbers like “Welcome to Paradise” and old-school obscurity “Going to Pasalacqua,” and certainly put every ounce of energy into the show. Still, by the time yet another fan was recruited from the audience during the encore to play guitar on the epic “Jesus of Suburbia,” it was refreshing that she simply sat down, dug in and got it done