I feel like I go way back with these guys and we have grown together. I got my first taste of Green Day in college when the pot smoking hippie across the hall said hi. He was from Berkeley, California and knew everything about punk rock. He gave me a CD from an unknown band called Green Day, a hometown act for him. 1,039 was the name of the album. Its great stuff he said. Later followed up by an album called Kerplunk. Little did we all know the phenomenon this would later become. Green Day continued to make new music over the years but it got a lot of flack for the same old sound as before. However, with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, I think they got the credit they deserved — the sound and voice of a generation if you will.
I have been getting Kim out to shows with me once in a while but its a short list of bands that she will go see. No repeats. No big mosh pits anymore. But when I told her Green Day was coming for a summer tour (read outside!) she didn’t hesitate to say yes. So we flew in a babysitter for Kayla and set off on a date to see Green Day! Had dinner beforehand. I wasn’t in a rush to get to the show. However, upon arriving to the venue at about 7:30 things were oddly quiet. Hmmm. So we got a water and then heard a kid say AFI had just finished a 35 minute set and they were done. He was made because that was his band of choice. So Kim and I hustled and just as we crested the stairs, Green Day came on stage. Whoops! Almost missed the start. I have stood waiting for so many hours before shows that I will take a start upon my arrival once in a while.
I told Kim I only like to be in one place at this venue. So we started walking down. Through endless checkpoints of security. Down through the lawn. Down through the upper deck. Down to the lower deck. Basically past every seat in the place until you reach the stage. They checked our tickets which boldly said “GAPIT”…or general admission in the pit. Normally, the pit is a crazy place but not tonight. Mostly full of ladies getting their groove on. It was packed full from the edge. I looked at the security guard as if to say “what the hell is their problem?” to which he leaned in and said “we have a bunch of newbies here tonight, just push on in!”. So I did. I led Kim through and got the nastiest looks from a variety of ladies that had been there and you shouldn’t push. Fuck off. Its the pit. Go get a chair if you don’t like it down here. I wasn’t rude but she didn’t know how this works. We centered up and found a nice spot near the back rail and started to enjoy the show only 4 people deep from Billie Joe and crew!
I had previewed setlists online from prior shows on the tour. It was a long one with about 33 songs in total. A few songs in Billie Joe said that they were recording a live album at the show. Wow! That should amp them up for an even better show. Billie continued the antics by interviewing people, bring them on stage, and making them dance, sing, or stage dive. Classically funny stuff. He is on a short list of people who can write music, perform on any instrument, and then entertain 1000s of people without missing a beat.
Billie wanted somebody to sing Longview for him so asked people. Found them. Made them swear they could do it. Then brought them on stage. CHOKE. Bad. The punk girl didn’t know it well enough. She just jumped around. Next. A Latino dude comes up. Same drill. CHOKE. Spent half the time fixing his shirt while Billie whispered in his ear. Depressing. I am setting there thinking I can nail it but I recall my karaoke debut in Mexico and how badly I did when set to actual music. No thanks. One last chance, another punk girl with pink hair. She grabs the mic, walks the stage, and nails it. She can sing. Stays on stage for the rest of the song. If you didn’t know the band, you might have thought she was supposed to be there. Billie was so impressed that when the song was done he just unstraps his guitar and hands it over as a gift. Nice work!
The rest of the night involved more great music, lots of interludes, water guns on the crowd, toilet paper guns, more confetti than I have ever seen in my life, and a huge group dance party up on stage. A great performance. They ended the night with a long encore in which they played Jesus of Suburbia just for me once again. Then turned it down and Billie played Last Night on Earth, Walk Me Up When September Ends, and Good Riddance. Tre and Mike came back out and threw out some picks and sticks. Tre quickly turned and tossed 2 sticks my way. The first one got the group diving for it but the second just came right to my hand and I quickly shoved it into my pants before the crowd could hunt me down and try and rip it away. They were all going “I saw one right here” as I stood there still pretending I didn’t have the loot. I turned to Kim and showed her. After all these shows and all these years, I finally got a stick!
Great night with Kim and Green Day!
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