Do-It-Yourself is forever cited as the governing mantra of punk, and sure enough, it inspired Green Day leader Billie Joe Armstrong to put his own band together 20-plus years ago. But on the evidence of the sturdy Bay Area trio’s combustible circus at the Verizon Center last night, Armstrong’s progression from Buzzcocks-style petulance to Townshendian hero rock had at least one side effect: He’s discovered the benefits of outsourcing.
In a stunt that felt more American Idol than American Idiot, the 37-year-old guyliner-wearing frontman summoned a half-dozen fans to share his stage. There were the two dudes he had up, separately, to sing competing versions of “Longview,” the 1994 megahit that brought punk’s DIY ethos into the bedroom. Later, he pulled up a sweaty young comer in white tube socks to play guitar on “Jesus of Suburbia.” The kid’s awkward appearance made it feel twice as triumphant when he nailed the song.