EVERY now and then a musical knocks you for six.
This Broadway, Grammy and Tony Award-winning production does that.
It is not surprising that it has smashed box office records in its six-year history.
American Idiot is a vibrant, punchy, powerful, funny, poignant piece of work that defies pigeon-holing.
The band Green Day's 2004 album American Idiot is regarded as a classic in the same vein – poetry in musical motion.
The Who's Tommy and Quarophenia, Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and Sgt Pepper are clear inspirations.
Just as these concept album broke moulds, Green Day's venture into theatre broke new territory.
Exciting and different.
This isn't West Side Story.
This is pop-punk at its purest and grittiest, but there's also some beautiful ballads there.
While we have fists of raw rage there’s the soothing hands of oustanding ballads.
It is a post 9/11 rock opera and tells a tale of three pals who take the most vivid of road trips to escape the American nightmare in search of the dream in their attempt to escape stifling suburbia.
The staging - with a clever television monitor/video screen - is treated like an opera with a minimum of additional dialogue.
The actor / musicians flesh out the characters with real passion.
Designer Sara Perks' dark, two-tier suburban set allows director Racky Plews to allow her 16-strong cast to shine.
There's a superb on stage, five-piece band with two thumping guitarists, superlative drumming from Alex Marchisone and spine-tingling conributions from violin virtuoso Robert Wicks.
Our three leads take off to the big city with charismatic, dread-locked Newton Faulkner as jaded Johnny.
And for press night, Cellen Chugg Jones and Lawrence Libor as Theo shone.
Two vivacious female performers, Amelia Lily as the curiously-named Whatsername and Alice Stokoe as Extraordinary Girl added the right balance of sexiness and gutsy performances.
While Johnny descends into drugs, Tunny is wounded in military service while Theo resigns himself to supporting his pregnant girlfriend.
The choreography is first-class throughout.
The music, as you would expect from Green Day, is distinctive and multi-layered crossing so many boundaries and clearly nodding to various influences from John Lennon, REM, The Verve and The Who.
While the punk guitars dazzle just as The Jam and Buzzcocks did in my youth, there are some wonderful acoustic moments .
While 21 Guns shoots from the hip the classic Wake Me Up When September Ends is a show-stopper.
This fast-paced, two-hour show is not for the feint hearted with its drug and sexual references.
But it will certainly appeal to the open-minded as the first night's wide-aged group audience showed when they rose to ther feet at the finale.
For me it was a revelation and I can’t wait to see it again.
Congratulations to the Empire on giving Liverpool the chance to see and hear see this stunning piece of modern musical art.
A unique, stunning theatrical experience with real heart and soul.
It's Liverpool Empire run ends on Saturday.
Tickets from the box office on 0844 871 3017.