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Album Review

Green Day, 'Awesome as [Expletive]'

March 28, 2011

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There’s something quaint about a live album these days. The whole “next best thing to being there’’ would seem to have been trumped by the Blu-Ray with the monster surround sound that actually makes you feel like you are there — minus parking fees, the drunk guy singing along behind you, and the inimitable concert fragrance. But Green Day does its best to trap both the manic and the melodic energy of the big venue tour it undertook for “21st Century Breakdown’’ on “Awesome as (Expletive).’’ The 17-track set collects the big, meaty hits of the Berkeley pop-punk trio’s nearly two decade existence — including “Holiday,’’ “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),’’ and “When I Come Around’’ — as well as a few deeper cuts and one new tune, “Cigarettes and Valentines.’’ Divorced from the visuals of the crowd — heard loud and clear cheering and singing along — some of Armstrong’s maniacal exhortations sound a little canned. But it’s easy to put yourself in the right frame of mind listening to “Awesome’’ balance the tart zip of “Know Your Enemy’’ and the anthemic majesty of “Wake Me Up When September Ends.’’ (Out now)

SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “¡Viva La Gloria!’’