Berkeley’s Green Day hasn’t sold as many copies of its current album, “Insomniac,” as it did ’94’s “Dookie,” and its hook-filled songs don’t rule the airwaves the way they only recently did. But the snotty trio remain the head of the current punk revival, as the more than 13 ,000 devoted fans assembled at this, the first of the band’s two sold-out local appearances, would heartily attest.
Barely an hour in length, Green Day’s set was wound tight with lots of attitude and aggression, a vibe that quickly rubbed off on the excitable young crowd. As the band fought off early acoustic problems, a large group of fans in the bleachers rushed the floor en masse, giving the outnumbered security all they could handle, and giving the other attendees a second, equally entertaining show to watch.
The band played on through the disturbance, though, settling into a spastic and slashing program that sampled tunes from all four of its albums. As the sound improved, the band caught fire, too. The songs “Basket Case,””2,000 Light Years Away” and encores “When I Come Around” and “86” were rapid-fire, stripped down numbers that were as much pop as punk, an obvious clue to the band’s sometimes unexplainable popularity.
The stage show was mostly limited to wide-eyed strutting and a bit of provocative water-bottle play. The concert ended with the three all playing the wrong instruments, then dismantling the drum set. A middle-finger salute to the crowd from Billie Joe Armstrong closed the proceedings fittingly.