Well this is something I haven’ t done before…
I was provided two blogger passes to the opening night of American Idiot at The Orpheum in Minneapolis in exchange for a review.
My history with Green Day goes back to fourth grade when I was first introduced to the album Dookie. After hearing Basket Case on the radio, I grabbed a blank tape and waited for hours until I heard it again just so I could record it. Today you find and download the song in 30 seconds. Kids are spoiled. Anyway…
So I went in excited, but had absolutely no idea what to expect.
The story, expanded from that of the concept album, centers on three disaffected young men, Johnny, Will, and Tunny. Johnny and Tunny flee stifling suburbia and their parents’ restrictions. The pair look for meaning in life and try out the freedom and excitement of the city. Will stays home to work out his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend. Tunny quickly gives up on life in the city, joins the military, and is shipped off to war. Johnny finds a part of himself that he grows to dislike, has a relationship and experiences lost love.
What did I think?
I had no idea what to expect from this. No idea. My only reference was from hearing the soundtrack ahead of time, which didn’t give much indication of what the actual performance would be like.
From the opening track, you get a good idea of what you’re in for. The musical was quick moving, high-energy, and fun.
Again, no idea what to expect from dancing. How do you choreograph Green Day? Some of the dancing reminded me of a much more structured version of Girl Walk//All Day, which isn’t a critique, but a compliment. And for the most part it worked.
Even the high-wire flying worked, which could have easily been just used as a neat stunt. The dream sequence it was used for ended up being a perfect fit.
The story was mostly worked out through the songs, with little bits of dialogue stuffed in between. If you’re familiar with the arc of the album, it won’t be difficult to follow, though most first time listeners could pick up on it anyway.
And of course–the music. Several of the songs were slightly tweaked for the musical to fit with a full cast. This is an easy place to screw up, but many of the songs are enhanced through the additional vocals and instruments. This is great proof.
If you hate Green Day’s music it’s likely (though not impossible) that you wouldn’t enjoy this. But if you’re a fan, this is something worth checking out. It’s fast paced, fun, and unlike anything else you’ve seen in the theater. It’s not perfect. One of the supporting characters wasn’t quite up to par. But overall, it’s an fun event for any Green Day fan.
Rating: 4/5. Learn More and Find Tickets.