Billie Joe Armstrong's righteous rock-star routine looked more like a faded pop star's existential crisis.
iHeartRadio is a website and app that streams more than 1,500 radio stations nationwide, owned by the consolidated-media behemoth Clear Channel Broadcasting. iHeartRadio was also, this weekend, the host of a music festival in Las Vegas where Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong threw an on-stage fit that looked like what you'd choreograph for a B-grade rock biopic about a performer terrified by his own irrelevance.
The video of Armstrong meltdown is below. The gist: Green Day's concert, initially planned to be 40 minutes, had been halved because Usher's performance had gone long. (The source for this version of events, as far as I can tell, is the YouTube user who uploaded the video). Armstrong, upon realizing he has one minute left to play, says "fuck" a bunch of times, touts the fact that his band's been around since 1988, and sort of inexplicably points out that he's not "fucking Justin Bieber."
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Yep, Armstrong isn't Bieber, and that's the point. There was a time when Green Day and bands like them would be the most-important act at a purely mainstream festival like iHeartRadio (where set times are already notoriously short), but that time has passed. Rock is no longer the default genre for kids to listen to, and Green Day's forthcoming trio of albums may not change that. Their new single, "Oh Love," is the No. 2 rock song in the country, but it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 97. They're still a popular band that sells out arenas, but that's almost entirely because of their decades-old back catalogue. Of course, Armstrong and his fans have a right to be annoyed at being cut off. But why should they expect priority treatment at a festival devoted to showcasing music that moves units, especially when pitted against the likes of enduring hit-a-minute artists like Rihanna and Usher?