Green Day Kick Off 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards With Fiery Set

Billie Joe Armstrong and company follow up 'Know Your Enemy' with 2000's 'Minority.'

The 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards kicked off with plenty of pyro, tons of crunching chords and a nearly exposed backside — all courtesy of [artist id="988"]Green Day[/artist].

The iconic East Bay punks pulled the curtain at the 2009 EMAs, but they hardly seemed like an opening act, shredding their way through a fiery, feisty performance that had the Berlin crowd in hysterics. Billie Joe Armstrong and company tore right into “Know Your Enemy” from 21st Century Breakdown, chugging through chords as flames exploded behind them. Midway through the song, Armstrong strode into the crowd, pounding on his guitar (and nearly losing his pants in the process), did a victory lap, then returned to the stage just as his Green Day mates launched headlong into “Minority,” from 2000′s Warning.

It was a similar move to the one they pulled during rehearsals for the MTV Video Music Awards back in September, when they treated an audience of stagehands and techs to a ripping, career-spanning mini-concert of their hits.

Like in New York, the effect was palpable: The EMA audience quickly went into overdrive, pogo-ing and shouting along furiously. In keeping with the live vibe, Green Day took the opportunity to stretch the song into an impromptu jam, adding an accordion to the mix and trading licks. Armstrong egged the crowd on with “Oy! Oy!” chants, and once again, it responded with a vengeance.

And then it all wrapped up in a fiery crescendo (literally, the stage was engulfed in a wall of flames) and the crowd cheered lustily. The 2009 EMAs were officially under way — but they’re gonna have to work really hard to top the opening act.