Green Day Rocks Tiny L.A. Show, Down to Play Desert Trip in 30 Years

Rex Features via AP Images
Tre Cool, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt Green Day performs at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ in Los Angeles on Oct. 19, 2016.

Near the end of their interview at KROQ’s Red Bull Sound Space on Wednesday afternoon, KROQ’s Ted Stryker asked Green Day if in 30 years they’d want to play Desert Trip with the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Billie Joe Armstrong said, “Sure,” adding first they’d be back to play a stadium in Los Angeles next year. 

To warm up for their 2017 tour and possible 2040 Desert Trip appearance, Green Day took over L.A. this week, going small with an epic Hollywood Palladium appearance Monday. In the interview, Armstrong said it was important to him because the last time the band played that venue was Halloween 1994, and to even fewer than the 300 lucky fans at the Red Bull Sound Space on Wednesday afternoon.

Taking the tiny stage just after their scheduled 4 p.m. start time, the band kicked off the 45-minute set with “Welcome to Paradise.” Predictably, a slew of cell phones came out, seemingly one for every three or four people, before Armstrong politely encouraged fans to put them down midway through the song. Nearly everyone obliged his request, leaving fans to be present in the moment as they got to witness a stadium-size band with the No. 1 album in the country play for a club-size audience.

Green Day had played for more than two hours just two nights earlier, and Revolution Radio already secured the No. 1 status on the Billboard 200. It could have done the requisite six or seven songs for radio and everyone would have left satisfied. But after a four-year gap between albums, the band was clearly hungry to play.

Covering much of their career in the set, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers went from “Longview” -- during which Armstrong invited a fan from the audience to sing the last verse -- “She” and “Basket Case” to multiple songs from the new album, including a superb “Still Breathing” and the album’s title track. Songs from in between included a thrashing “St. Jimmy,” “Holiday,” “Waiting” and “Minority,” before a blistering closer of “American Idiot.”

All that was left was the interview, which found the band members declaring their admiration for rock and punk bands, both old (the Rolling Stones and the Ramones) and new. And Armstrong showed that their love for music is as strong as ever, pointing out there are more bands out there now than ever and “strongly recommending supporting new bands -- they are the future of rock and punk.”