September 20, 2004. What did Green Day do after taking almost a half-decade off? Release a punk-rock opera, of course.
It can’t be understated what a risk it was for Green Day to make American Idiot. When the band released Warning in 2000 during the height of the nü-metal/rap-rock trend, critics were underwhelmed and the general consensus outside of their immediate fan base was that Green Day had lost some of their 90s luster.
Taking a break to regroup was certainly no surprise. But coming back from the break with a concept album? That was a bold, all-or-nothing type of move. Now, the band certainly had plenty of material to draw on: the first Bush administration, the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War. But it was still a risk.
The risk payed off. American Idiot marked a second act for the band, reigniting interest in their music, inspiring a new generation of fans, and selling over 16 million copies worldwide. I revisited the album over the summer in my Summertime ROCK series, so click here for that, then click below for footage from the American Idiot-era recorded live in Foxboro at Gillette Stadium.