Backed by Green Day drummer Tré Cool and New York hometown hero Jesse Malin on rhythm guitar, Armstrong opened with “Devil’s Kind,” one of the tunes he penned for the movie. It’s a raw, hyper-catchy punk jam reminiscent of the stuff Green Day released in 2008 as Foxboro Hot Tubs, and it definitely bodes well for the new album Armstrong has been teasing.
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“Mike’s gonna be pissed,” Armstrong joked, referring to Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt, who couldn’t make the show. Also absent was the band’s recently added fourth member, guitarist Jason White, who was busy playing a record-release show with his new side project, California.
Next came a couple of Green Day tunes: “Scattered,” a scorching Nimrod cut that had Armstrong leaping through the air like it was still 1997, and “American Idiot,” featuring Jett on guitar. The band only made it through a verse and chorus of the latter before segueing into Jett’s 1980 all-time badass anthem “Bad Reputation.”
Whatever youth elixir Armstrong is swilling, Jett’s doing double shots. At 57, the Runaways founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer still has the voice, the sneer and the leather pants that made her a star when Armstrong was still in grade school.
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As an audience that included Geezer co-star Selma Blair and director Lee Kirk cooled down following Jett’s cameo, Armstrong closed with “Ordinary World,” an acoustic ballad he performs in the film. With a chord pattern similar to Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice,” it’s a song about finding happiness after your dreams have fizzled.
“What would you wish if you saw a shooting star?” Armstrong sang, perhaps imagining how his life would’ve been if Green Day hadn’t blown up more than two decades ago. Chances are he’d still be the coolest dad on the block.