Green Day dawns with a strong Billie Joe Armstrong

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Yes, Billie Joe Armstrong -- the vocalist, guitarist and writer for Green Day -- had a meltdown last year and did a stint in rehab. But he's done talking about it.

When Green Day takes the stage at the Patriot Center, get ready for Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool to dip into their punk-pop catalog but not into the headline-grabbing spectacle that had critics, fans and onlookers buzzing.

"I have not revisited this at all," Armstrong told David Fricke of Rolling Stone, saying that would be the only time he would address the issue. "I'm f--king bigger than this thing, better than this s--t," he said of the meltdown he had last September at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. "This is an incident. It happened. The rest is history. I have so many important things to do. I have my family to take care of. I have my band. I'm a crazy-idea person. I always will be. And that will overshadow anything with my addiction problems."

If anyone can make that work, it will likely be Armstrong. After all, he and his bandmates were just working-class kids when they made it out of the underground punk scene in Berkeley, Calif. The group's 1994 album, "Dookie," sold 15 million copies and won the band its first Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance. And that was just the beginning. "American Idiot," the group's No. 1 Billboard album, earned the bandmates seven Grammy nominations (they won two, including Best Rock Album) and spawned five hit singles. And the hits just roll on.

Onstage
Green Day
» Where: Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax
» When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
» Info: $65; every online ticket includes a free download of the band's trilogy "ÁUno! ÁDos! ÁTre!"; 202-397-SEAT (7328); ticketmaster.com

But to witness the energy with which they play before a massive crowd, you'd think they were still trying to break out.

Calling a show earlier this week a "two-hour rock 'n' roll slugfest," critic Frank DeBlase of the Rochester (N.Y.) City Newspaper wrote that while opening act Best Coast did a decent set, "no amount of energy could have adequately warmed the boards for Green Day. Following salutations from a drunken Easter Bunny, the band tore out on stage to the theme from 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' (just like the Ramones) and then ripped into '99 Revolutions.' After that [the] set cross-cut the band's incredible catalogue with generous cuts from the new trilogy of discs 'ÁUno! ÁDos! ÁTre!,' as well as hits off 'Kerplunk' and 'Dookie.' "

What's unknown, of course, is how the bandmates unwound after the high-energy show. In the Rolling Stone interview, Armstrong said he, Dirnt and Cool would plan how to maintain his sobriety while on the road.

"I'll probably run outside, hail a taxi, go back to my hotel room and have a soda," Armstrong told Fricke of how he'd handle the urge to have a drink. "Probably a root beer. I love root beer."

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