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Green Day surprised everyone when, after releasing the rock opera "American Idiot" recently, it shocked and awed the charts with the gusto of a punk band half its age. After all, as the recent issue of Spin, which features the So-Cal trio on the cover, attempts to argue, "rock opera" is the stuff of bloated '70s progressive outfits like Genesis, whom Spin chose to mock in a sidebar. Punk bands aren't supposed to come within a country mile of this stuff. How could Green Day squeeze a hit out of a romp in the enemy's territory?

Green Day's "American Idiot" is full of spite and some of the most astute melodic hooks the band has yet produced.

Regardless, Green Day is kicking it hard these days, along the way suggesting that it's OK for punk rock to tackle weightier issues than couch-surfing and skateboarding.

The band brings its "American Idiot" tour to Blue Cross Arena, 1 Memorial Square, Rochester, for a 7:30 p.m. show next Friday. New Found Glory and Sugarcult will open. Tickets are $32.50 (Ticketmaster).