“American Idiot”: Life and times of the suburban punk rock kid

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Dressed to the nines in my combat boots and ratted out hair with the best “screw society!” attitude I could muster up, I was ready for American Idiot to rock my socks off. Playing at the Orpheum Theater until February 26th, the Critical View team and I were lucky enough to snag tickets for the sold out opening night. I wasn’t sure at all what to expect the show to be about, but after about 10 minutes it was pretty clear; three punk kids in their adventure called life, bright eyed and bushy tailed they’re more than ready to high tail it out of suburbia to the big city. There are some problems though, called pregnancy, war and heroine, and it turns the boys’ lives upside down.

It was crude, and very in your face. No metaphors to sift through (except St. Jimmy AKA Heroine) and almost uncomfortable to watch, and I mean that in the best way possible! After the opening number, ‘American Idiot’, I distinctly remember the first spoken line of the show, “February 2nd, I jerked of into oblivion last night…” But, if that’s not enough to convince of the lack of a filter this show had then maybe the sex scene will, the same sex scene where my friend’s eyes were covered by her mother. The lack of a filter, however, is one of the shows charms and accurate for the topic. Punk is basically a middle finger to society and it’s rules and filters so this show couldn’t have a filter or it just wouldn’t be right. The general vibe of the show was chaotic and concert-y, definitely not like any Broadway show I’ve seen, nor will probably see again.

The set was fantastic, TVs cover the industrial style walls and show whatever is needed to be shown from the setting to chaotic propaganda style imaging.The only permanent parts of the set were the couch, the stairwell, the TVs and the band; any and everything else was rolled in and out when ever it was required and added to the slight sense of chaos that was prevalent throughout the show. Costuming was accurate I would say, I felt like I was watching my friends (self declared punk kids) on the stage half the time with the spiky hair, skinny jeans and generally mismatched clothing. The only complaint I would have would be the lighting; the over use of the strobes almost sent me into a seizure and heavily distracted from what was going on on the stage. Besides that, the rest of the lighting was organized chaos and really added to the show.

Crude? Check. 14 year old boy humor? Check. Drugs, sex and rock and roll? Check. Great music and a concert vibe? Check. Some sobering moments? Check. While different than what was originally expected, and kind of hard to follow at times, the show was great fun and I really did love it. Go! (But do NOT bring your children under the age of 16 or anyone who is easily offended, embarrassed or just doesn’t like cursing, drugs, sex and toilet humor. Just a word of warning.) And, remember, every concert has an encore.