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Green Day makes rebellion look fun at MSG

Billie Joe Armstrong performs in concert at Madison

Billie Joe Armstrong performs in concert at Madison Square Garden on Monday. / July 27, 2009 / AP Photo

Green Day sure makes rebellion look like fun.

Though the band's last two albums - "American Idiot" and the recent "21st Century Breakdown" - have taken on the serious topics of war, religious hypocrisy, economic disparity and political failures, they've done it in the catchiest way possible, with bouncy melodies and sing-along choruses.

In concert, thanks to the tireless and charming Billie Joe Armstrong, the fun factor is magnified exponentially. Monday night, at the first of its two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, Green Day pounded home its messages with all the style and showmanship of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Photos from the Green Day concert

"This is our moment right now," Armstrong told the crowd, as he introduced the raucous punk rave-up "The Static Age," urging fans to put down their cell phones and cameras. "Do you -- want it? . . . This is our memory. Let me know you're alive."

What makes the Green Day show so effective is how inclusive it feels while issuing its protests. Rebels, in Green Day's world, don't have to be loners, as seen in all the personal connections the band makes with its fans throughout the show, whether it's "saving" a little boy during "East Jesus Nowhere" or bringing up a fan for a hug during "Are We the Waiting."

Armstrong, backed by the tight rhythm section of bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool, along with three touring musicians, makes unifying anthems out of almost anything.

From "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" to the strident "Holiday," Green Day was fostering the change they and their faithful believe in.

Photos from the Green Day concert

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