Armstrong performed a set of a dozen songs at a private party hosted by Live Nation atop a chateau in the South of France. He improvised friendly chatter between songs, telling the story of how he met his wife. He introduced his son, Joey, who twirled the drums onstage. And then Armstrong got to a performance of “American Idiot,” from Green Day’s 2004 album inspired by the Iraq War.
“Back then, if I look at a collage of one of those songs, it’s become real life,” Armstrong said. “Without getting too political, it’s important we look out for each other and show compassion.” He said that in the United States, his neighbor was Mexico, alluding to the controversial government policy of separating immigrant families at the border.
“I f—ing hate Donald Trump so much,” he whispered into the microphone. “I used to scream I hated George Bush. This one is a little different. This one is bad, it’s like acid gone bad. F—ing LSD and the American Right, man.”
Armstrong’s set included a cover of “Rockaway Beach” and some hits from Green Day’s album “Dookie.” He closed with “Time of My Life,” which was met with ecstatic applause.
The concert was attended by about 200 elite industry executives at the annual advertising conference in a sprawling home overlooking the city of Cannes. “Look at this view,” Armstrong said. “This is not Detroit.”