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Black night when Green Day become a rock opera

Back in the day when Green Day were crashing on fans' floors in Dublin and playing venues like the Fox and Pheasant and the White Horse, it was inconceivable that one day they'd go on to become of the biggest rock acts in America.

Releasing three albums in the space of six months is either a sign of total madness or hyper-creativity but perhaps the oddest thing about the band's ascent to the very top of the A-list is that a musical has been based around their work.

With We Will Rock You shoehorning the songs of Queen into a makeshift plot and Rock of Ages doing the same with a collection of Hair Metal favourites from the mid-80s, some genius had the bright idea of turning Green Day's American Idiot into a stage show and dubbing it a 'rock opera'.

Now, while The Who's Tommy was a somewhat scrappy collection of material, the fact that it was dubbed the first 'rock opera' made me want to reach for a copy of Revolver. Pete Townshend, you have a lot to answer for.

Now, I should stress that I haven't seen American Idiot -- nor do I intend to -- and it may well be a decently produced and delivered piece of work but the fact remains that a Broadway Musical is a Broadway Musical, no matter what the source material may be.



Cheesy

Despite the songs being originally written by Green Day, when it comes to bringing a show to the Great White Way there has to be a certain conformity. And that means that no matter that you're singing songs by an act who were once the biggest punk band in the world, you still have to have cheesy, Glee-like dance routines and characters half-singing dialogue bolted on to link the key numbers and provide some semblance of a storyline.

When it boils down to it what you have is essentially Green Day with jazz hands, and if that sounds like your idea of a good night out then you're a far, far braver man than I.

>George Byrne

American Idiot runs at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre from Monday to Saturday


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