Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong “was getting choked up” playing ‘American Idiot’ in full ahead of stadium tour

Reprise Records

Green Day‘s upcoming world stadium tour will include full album performances of 1994’s Dookie and 2004’s American Idiot each night in honor of their respective 30th and 20th anniversaries. The band has been warming up for the trek with smaller, last-minute club shows, including playing American Idiot in its entirety during a recent gig in San Francisco.

American Idiot was sort of this unicorn that [during its album cycle] we were like, ‘OK, let’s get past this and move on,'” front man Billie Joe Armstrong tells Billboard. “Revisiting it [in San Francisco] was cathartic, for lack of a better cliché. Playing songs like ‘Extraordinary Girl’ and ‘Whatsername,’ there were times on stage where I was getting choked up because it was bringing me back the feeling that I had at that time, that I was revisiting for the first time in 20 years. I had a great sense of pride and I was sort of humbled by the experience.”

In addition to getting emotional himself, Armstrong noticed people in the audience crying.

“I saw this one person that was in the crowd that was transgender, and I could see the tears coming out,” Armstrong says. “I realized how far we’ve come. Green Day has been a space for people to feel a connection with people that are kindred spirits … I was kind of taken aback by it.”

Armstrong adds that he feels rock albums are a “work of art,” and he’s a fan of bands playing their past records in full.

“This sounds really pretentious, but it’s like when an orchestra is playing Mozart,” he says. “I think rock music is just as important.”

The U.S. leg of Green Day’s stadium tour will launch in July.

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