I attended opening night of American Idiot at the Fox this past Thursday, and while I enjoy Green Day’s music, I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan – so keep that in mind as you read my review. I do enjoy Green Day’s music however, I still have “21 Guns” and “Good Riddance” on my playlist for nostalgia’s sake. Those two songs for me are quintessential 90’s music. However, only one of them are in this musical. So don’t get your hopes up to hear your graduation song this performance.
American Idiot started off playing a radio broadcast stating that North Korea had successfully detonated a nuclear bomb. Considering that the performance started 15 minutes late, I had about 3 seconds of pure terror set in thinking, ‘Oh my god. This is why things are running late.’ After no more than a 2 second pause they continued, and my fears subsided. What ensued though was a performance unlike anything I had ever seen before… and not in a good way.
Throughout the course of the rather short musical that has no intermission, audience members continued to trickle out beginning after the 3rd song. Granted, most of them were older audience members who probably found the music too loud and the visuals a bit too intense. But on their behalf, I have to say that any sort of storyline that exists in this musical is hard to focus in on.
The choreography is another hot mess – dance moves are 90% comprised of dancers moving back and forth and making headbanging moves… I mean sure it’s the 90’s, but we can be a bit more creative here can’t we?
One positive thing I can say though was that I absolutely fell in love with the set decoration. With dozens of TVs mounted to the set displaying memorable images from our world’s past, it was an immerse experience that complimented the music and visual effects nicely.
Then there was the music, the performers are all certainly talented – especially the female singers who truly bring a refreshing new sound to the songs that we all remember. However, there just wasn’t enough about this musical that was “refreshing.”
While I enjoy Green Day’s music, I have to imagine that an audience member needs to be a die-hard fan to truly enjoy American Idiot. I do think it’s worth noting that Green Day was one of the last bands, in my opinion, that really had a message – a political message. I love that each of their songs feel like a protest – that they truly stand for something. I think that American Idiot could have been a much better production had they focused more on that aspect than all the drinking, f**king, and drug usage.
American Idiot runs through tomorrow at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, and then it’s off to Los Angeles after that. You can pick up tickets (ranging from $30 – $90) through Ticketmaster.
Photo Credit: The company of AMERICAN IDIOT (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)