"No racism," warned Billie Joe Armstrong, laying out some early ground rules for Green Day's sold out Auckland show on Saturday night.

There were more. "No sexism. No homophobia." The cheers of agreement grew louder, but there was one more rule to come, and it earned the biggest roar of all.

"No Donald Trump."

It seems like a tough one for the punk-rock veterans to stick to, especially when they're known for politically charged albums like 2004's American Idiot and last year's Revolution Radio.

Advertisement

But stick to it they did, springing onto the stage and kicking off with a fired up version of Know Your Enemy as a sprightly Armstrong ordered the entire stadium onto their feet.

Fans were rewarded with plenty of heat as fireballs lit up the stage behind the band, which then turned into flamethrowers that fired up and over front rows during Revolution Radio. It felt far too full on a start for a band now into its 31st year.

But it took just a handful of songs for Green Day - performing the first of a two-night stand at the newly-named Spark Arena - to break their own rules.

"Everything back home is so f***ed right now," declared Armstrong, who begged the crowd to create "our own universe" with the band, one with "no jobs, no schools, and no politicians".

Trump's name didn't get mentioned again, but even without stating it directly, Green Day's more politically charged moments sounded more momentous thanks to the turmoil over in the US. Are We The Waiting's chorus rang around the stadium long and loud, Boulevard of Broken Dreams still sounds great 13 years on, while Still Breathing's despair broke into a hopeful chorus that felt particularly poignant.

Green Day's serious side certainly came through but the show was punctuated by plenty of goofball moments, like the energetic fan who was pulled up on stage to sing a particularly rowdy version of Longview and then delivered a perfect stage dive, while When I Come Around's chug and singalong chorus is still effortlessly awesome and, well, anything else from Dookie really.

It wasn't all great: a late set medley came complete with dress up masks and hats, some Kenny G, Monty Python, and big band versions of Satisfaction and Hey Jude delivered with Armstrong, drummer Tre Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt lying on their backs and went on for far too long.

It felt a little unnecessary and threatened to turn everything into a bit of a shambolic circus, but ringleader Armstrong soon brought it back with a bruising Forever Now that led into two completely different encores: the first including a fiery American Idiot and impressive City of the Damned, before an acoustic Time of Your Life sent everyone home.

But Armstrong had time for one last dig aimed at home. "I don't have any faith in politics," he griped near the end. It's not true - Green Day's songs are full of hope - but you can't blame him for being over it.