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Green Day rising

The middle band in a three-act Ice Palace show outclasses Jimmy Eat World and Blink-182.

By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 15, 2002

[Times photo: Daniel Wallace]
Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong entertains the Ice Palace crowd.
TAMPA -- MTV's Pop Disaster tour slammed into the Ice Palace on Tuesday, bringing three hot West Coast punk-pop bands that blasted out four hours of blistering, angst-ridden music.

Chart-topping Jimmy Eat World opened with a stunning 30-minute set in which the band proved it's earning its way to the top.

Showing much more confidence than at their December performance in Clearwater's Coachman Park, the Arizona quartet created a sonic wonderland of tight guitar riffs, well-placed feedback, and driving drums and bass for nine songs, including their current hit, The Middle.

Lead singer Jim Adkins' voice soared above it all, blending with the equally able vocals of the other band members. They offered a high-energy, no-frills show of awesome music that transcended any studio recording.

But that was nothing compared with the riveting 75-minute Green Day show that followed.

From the opening siren blast that introduced the veteran band to the moment lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong laid his guitar upon the speakers and exited stage left, a frenzy took over the crowd of 12,000.

Drummer Tre Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt propelled the 14-song set forward as Green Day played several hits, including Longview, its infectious song about being bored, and the hotly requested Basket Case. More than that, the band put on a drumstick-tossing, bass-burning, slam-dancing show.

The band invited three audience members to perform onstage. Ever the showman, Armstrong squirted the mosh pit with Super Soakers, offered to play requests and generally kept the audience screaming for more of the intense power pop and punk it had come to hear.

Green Day should have been the headliner. Unfortunately, that role was left to Blink-182, whose teen-friendly hits about first dates and bad parents, such as Stay Together for the Kids, have made them a mainstay on modern rock radio.

The crowd screamed its approval as Blink-182 bounced to Anthem Part Two, The Rock Show and other well-worn tunes. Especially after Green Day, though, Blink-182 sounded like an add-on to the show.

Singer/guitarist Tom Delonge's nasal, reedy voice rarely stayed on key, and singer/bassist Mark Hoppus was equally lacking. Neither had much of a stage presence, unless you count lumbering around and making crude jokes.

If not for the performance of drummer Scott Raynor, it would have been easy to leave early and feel like you hadn't missed anything.

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