Green Day Cred
This passed Thursday, March 28th, 2013, was Green Day’s return to arena performing since Billie Joe’s recent bout with rehab to deal with alcohol and drug abuse. And, you better believe I was there! Before I dig in to my review on this concert, I’m going to build up my Green Day credit for you, so you know that I know exactly what I’m talking about. Green Day made it big with their breakout album, Dookie (1994). In 1994 I was 4 years old. I am not going to lie to you and say I’ve been listening to them since then. Nope, I respect you way more stooping to that level. So, when did I start listening to Green Day? I started my freshman year of high school; I started when American Idiot exploded on the scene. I know what you’re thinking right now and let me stop you right there. My first Green Day album was not American Idiot. It was not even my second or third. In fact my first one was International Superhits, followed by Kerplunk and 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours (yes, I know this is a compilation of their EPs). Continuing on my Green Day life, I quickly became obsessed. Their music had a rawness to it that the music in the “Top 40” didn’t; their music was about life and about real-life problems of an angsty teen. This was right up my alley. Ripped jeans, constantly listening to their music, dark eyeliner, the whole “don’t give a shit attitude”. It was all mine. My love for them dissipated when they disappeared for a while. I was stunned when I heard the announcement that Green Day made American Idiot into a musical. That is definitely not very punk of them (duh) and I lost hope. My once go-to band for pop-punk failed me. With their new trio of albums that came out (“Uno”, “Dos”, “Tre”) I was super stoked to hear that they were getting back to their early years of punk. This statement was a lie. No. These albums did not reflect the pot smoking misfits who hated the man and hated being told what to do. So, about now I’m sure you’re wondering why I went to a concert that promoted the very music that I lost faith in. Plain and simple – I was hoping they’d play their old music. I saw them live before and their stage presence is untouchable. So, I went. Which brings me to the actual concert review.
As stated earlier, the concert was held at an arena, Allstate Arena. So, with that comes a lot of people. I (well, me and another girl) got there pretty early. We arrived before the doors opened and the doors opened at 6. (Concert starts at 7:30). First thing: Parking. Parking was $20. Yes, I’m going to dwell on this for just a bit. Bare with me. $20. This may not seem like a lot to some people, but for me – it’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of money just to have my car sit in a spot next to inexperienced teenage drivers who park crooked for a mere 3 hours. So, moving on, I get out and stand in line with my energy drink waiting for the doors to open. Nothing to complain about here. Little cold, but I’m seeing Green Day, so I got over that quickly. When the doors open there’s a mad rush to get in the door, despite the fact of a line. Flashes of VH1 specials of people being trampled and suffocated due to crowds at concerts went through my mind. Excitement level right then was pretty high, so I understand. We got in and found our seats. Front row of the balcony. Perfect view of the stage without having some fat guy block our sight. As a rite of passage, we go off to get our concert shirts. $40. $40 for a shirt. But, we paid it. How else are people going to believe that we were there? Nostalgia is a powerful motivator. So we get back to our seats and just chill for a while. One of the coolest examples I can give about the atmosphere of the crowd and of the mood is right here: Bohemian Rhapsody. The recordings before the show played as usual and when Bohemian Rhapsody came on the crowd exploded. Every single person (from what I could tell) was singing. The mosh pit was moshing. One of the coolest experiences in my life is right there. The whole crowd singing along to a recording and acting like this was the main event.
Broken Concert Rules
This little section is going to make me seem like an old geezer that wishes times didn’t change etc. etc. However, I need to get this out in the open. While sitting in my seat before the concert and while walking around I noticed an insane amount of people breaking very simple and minimal concert rules.
1. Don’t wear a Green Day shirt to a Green Day concert unless it’s a concert shirt you just bought. This is the same as Don’t wear an Alkaline Trio shirt to an Alkaline Trio concert. Why is this a rule? It just is. It’s an unspoken, but known rule among all concert goers. By breaking this rule, you’re showing people you have never been to a concert and don’t get it. You can wear other band shirts. As long as there is no feud between the bands and they’re relatively in the same genre.
2. Don’t wear flip-flops. Ok, you’re at a concert. An indoor concert and you’re down in the mosh pit wearing flip-flops. Do I really need to explain why this is wrong? Don’t be stupid.
3. Don’t wear heels. See number 2. If you’re in a seat and you’re not planning on getting crazy (not sure why you’d be at a “punk-rock” concert) then fine. Wear those heels and work it out.
Ok, now that that’s out-of-the-way we can move on to…
The Opening Act
The opening act can be summed up in one word – HORRIBLE. I’ll break it down for you. For one thing, they said their name once and it was mumbled. Sorry I cannot tell you which band to never, ever listen to. They played for 30 minutes and each song sounded exactly the same. The drum was based all on the 1-2 count, no creativity. The bass was too loud. One thing that could have been the redeemer was the singer. A female! I was really excited, she had the look of an indie rocker, but failed. Each song picked one phrase and repeated it over and over and over (etc). Her voice was plain and nothing too outstanding. The writing sucked, and so did their energy level. She announced they grew up listening to Green Day, but I would think they’d be better if they did. So, all that being said. I only clapped when they were leaving the stage and thanking God they left before I succeeded in pounding my ears with a hammer and chisel.
The person to the left of me was probably in his mid-to-late-thirties with his wife, while the person to the left of the girl I came with was probably still in high school. I even saw a girl of maybe seven with her mom. Green Day did not disappoint any of these generations. They came out ready to party and played their wide-range of music. Billie Joe stated they’ve been together for 25 years and I’m pretty sure they did their years justice. Starting out with their new music to please the new-comers. About an hour into the show Billie Joe asked if there were any vintage Green Day fans. (Yes, right here!) Then they kicked off playing songs off their EPs. People around me sat down and I just got louder. Loving the fact they actually went back to their roots and honoring the fans that have stuck with them and helped them get to where they are now. I have mad respect for that. I was impressed they were able to cater to each generation (everything from their EPs to their newest trilogy) they inspired and led through hard times. For
that, my faith was restored in these hooligans.
This is something that cannot be denied. Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool know how to work a crowd. Billie Joe declared he wanted us to do the wave and we did the wave. While out of context yelling “Chicago,” “Illinois,” and “The Midwest” does not get me pumped; when they did this I yelled every time. It was like “omg, he knows where I’m from and we have this connection. He totally said Chicago is their second home and …” Yes, each time I was right there with everyone, fist raised and yelling with the hope of losing my voice. Billie Joe sprayed people with water, then simulated masturbation and ejaculated toilet paper. Not to be outdone, he launched t-shirts into the crowd and even got a couple up to the balcony. Included in their set were songs that everyone knows, like “Shout,” and “Hey Jude,” thus encouraging crowd participation and celebrating life and other artists. While I’m partially a cynic and wishing they played their music, (they have enough songs of their own to fill a few hours and I came to hear them play their own songs) I was swept up and sang along. The crowd and the band fed off of each other’s enthusiasm. Mike and Tre even ran around the stage. Of course, Tre dressed in a beach hat and bra achieved impressive height in his solo kickline. It just wouldn’t be a Green Day concert without that. Pulling people up on stage to sing, and stage dive completed their success in getting the crowd pumped.
Time of Your Life
I left with a raw throat, fuzzy hearing, and the feeling of the bass drum still pounding in my chest. While I went to the concert with some doubts about where they were headed musically and whether or not I’d be following them in the years to come, I left with my love for Green Day restored. While I could talk for days and days about this concert, I guess that’s the point. One rock show could change the world (thank you, The School of Rock) and this one changed my attitude toward Green Day. The next day at work I showed up with day old concert grunge (no shower), messy hair (from jumping and sleeping), and a shirt smelling of weed and spilled beer. I was the happiest person in the office that day, without a question. If you missed this concert, you need to make sure you get to the next one. And, yes, I had the time of my life.