Monthly Archives: July 2009

Three Shows, And the Third One is a Charm

This will be brief but I wanted to share this amazing setlist from the second Madison Square Garden Green Day show from yesterday, July 28th. All three Green Day shows I went to (Albany and two MSG shows) were amazing, and I thought Albany was incredible, but these guys never cease to amaze… me, at least. The second MSG show was the most incredible experiences of my life, and that’s saying a lot.

I’ll more about the shows soon, but I wanted to share the setlist below. I’m a bit sad that it’s going to be awhile before I see them again, but I hope they do a second leg and I plan it better and travel to see them more. I really wish I were going to England! Ugh.

Anyway, last night was the  BEST DANCE PARTY EVER… and that’s NOT an exaggeration.

Green Day — Madison Square Garden 2nd Show — Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

1. Song of the Century
2. 21st Century Breakdown
3. Know Your Enemy
4. Murder City
5. East Jesus Nowhere
6. Holiday
7. Static Age
8. Before the Lobotomy
9. Are We the Waiting
10. St. Jimmy
11. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
12. A Quick One While He’s Away (The Who)
13. Hitchin a Ride
14. Welcome to Paradise
15. Stop, Drop, and Roll/ Eye of the Tiger
16. FOD
17. When i come around
18. Going to Pasalacqua
19. Stuart And The Ave./ Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?
20. Iron Man riff
21. Brain Stew
22. Jaded
23. Knowledge
24. Basket Case
25. She
26. King For a Day
27. Shout/ Earth Angel (The Penguins)/ Christie Road
/ I’ll Be There
28. 21 Guns
29. American Eulogy

30. American Idiot
31. Jesus of Suburbia
32. Minority
33. Macy’s Day Parade
34. “Say I Love You” (Unreleased song)
35. Good Riddance

Green Day – Albany

I went to the show tonight in Albany.

There were many farm animals.

The Bravery End Their Tour With Farm Animals

The Bravery End Their Tour With Farm Animals

Song of the Century: Louder Than Bombs and Eternity

Green Day – Song of the Century – 21st Century Breakdown *

Sing us a song of the century… That’s louder than bombs … And eternity

Do we realize that it’s the 21st Century? Sometimes I wonder. The 21st fucking century, and yet humans are still arguing and fighting over the same issues spawned at the start of the 20th: land, privilege, sex, God and money.

Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life when there’s never been tension in the air. I’ve been tense since the second I was born. (If you’ve not been tense for the past 45 years, don’t worry, I’ve been tense for you.) This last election in the States wiped me out so much that I’ve decided to take a break from politics, the universe, and almost everything… except work and Green Day. I am forgoing television for a few months and haven’t watched for about a week now, which is saying something for me. I’m listening to music and trying to think. I’ve been listening to rather loud music, but still, the music frees my eyes from concentrating on tiny moving pictures. I’ll keep up with the world as much as I can, but really, the world can go to hell in a handbasket for all I care right now. I’m sitting here in the ghetto that I love, in my new Brooklyn home with the amazing view of Manhattan. Big sky. I am as happy as a clam. Ahh. The coming of the second decade of the century is so far soaring above bombs and eternity for me. Aren’t I lucky?

As the Buddha says, all every one wants is to be happy. I would add to that: and to party.

Sing Us a Song of the Century… that’s louder than bombs and eternity.
What a beautiful way to start a lullaby. The song of the century should be so spectacular that it drowns out all ways and means of destruction. When I first listened to 21st Century Breakdown, I was surprised that the album began with such a sweet song as if sung in a newborn’s ear and captured on a Victrola. The lyric begins with an earnest hope quickly deafened by metaphoric bombs and projecting the future. Eternity is a hell of a long way away; everything comes down to the present.

I suppose I should not be surprised that the 21st Century reminds me of all the centuries that have gone before it. Although I studied history in college, I’m not much of an academic but from lessons learned and books read, the past and the present just spin around again and nothing really changes. Sounds finally captured through technology and heard at the start of the 20th Century — hand-cranked — are the same tales of progress, earnestness, hope against despair, madness, war, and peace that are present in our current world of bytes and bits.

The era of static and contraband… That’s leading us to the promised land
A major theme of 21st Century Breakdown echoes around static, presumably the white noise of television and electronics and the heat of popularity, fame and status. Stolen images and stolen time, seconds ticking, adding up to hours and years, and then poof, you’re gone. Gone off into that magical hereafter. Ah yes, magical, indeed. Today is ignored while tomorrow is constantly dreamed about, heaven. It’s always about heaven, either on Earth or the great beyond. It’s always about reaching for something that you cannot see, and may not want when you finally adjust your eyes.

Tell us a story that’s by candlelight… Waging a war and losing the fight
Have you ever listened to a story while a candle flickers across the bedroom wall? Real, living light, not the artificial brightness surging through our electrical grid. Sure, it’s bad for the eyes, but imagine, huddled under your covers, with your father close to you. He’s spinning tales of Br’er Rabbit or a frightening Grimms Fairy Tale. The flickers across your wall create moving pictures — there’s the Witch tricking the children! — there’s the children being baked! — lesson learned, don’t go off into the forest by yourself! — childhood stories of fear and triumph, war and death, peace and love; the same themes from the 20th to the 21st. The means of communication may change, but the human heart rarely does. Nothing changes and children still grow up learning war is right, even if you have to fight the same types of wars over and over again for land, privilege, sex, God and money.

They’re playing the song of the century… Of panic and promise and prosperity
There goes that song again… dawning of a new era… calling…don’t let it catch you falling… ready or not at all… the 21st Century is ‘hear’ and the Victrola cranks out its old themes of stock market crashes, something for nothing, you too can have it all!

Tell me a story into that goodnight… Sing us a song for me
So tell me a story long into the dark hours, were I can dream of a world that doesn’t chase me with its fears and desires. A world where the Bill of Rights has a clause to “Let the People Party,” and we all earnestly grab the time to take care of each other, just like Billie Joe Armstrong takes the time to care for a drunken fan who’s about to get booted by bringing him onstage, telling him to calm the fuck down, we’re all here to party… why fight?*

This past Saturday, I was in my old place packing up during a hellacious street party on my block, complete with wall of sound speakers. After the sixth hour of salsa across the street mixed with heart-shattering beats up the street, both played at volume 11, I thought my brain would bleed. The Victrola has been replaced with massive woofers, where the sounds of panic and promise and prosperity come at you in mega-death decibels. At the end of the night, police helicopters started churning overhead. When that happens in New York (or anywhere for that matter), you know that something has gone wrong. Two people, aged 19 and 17, died half a block away from me due to gunshot wounds to the head. Their young song of the century is over now. I wonder what bedtime stories they learned?

Yes, if only the Bill of Rights possessed a “Let the People Party” clause to it. Who the hell am I kidding? We’d find some way to fuck that up, too.

*All lyrics by Green Day


The Breakdown will be Twittered: Hartford, CT.

TheDCKid Green Day was seriously the best concert of my life it was absolutely amazing

1surlygurl Most disturbing thing about Green Day concert: grown men skipping in a circle pit.

1surlygurl 2nd most disturbing thing about Green Day concert: over weight women in their 40’s wearing half shirts.

The Breakdown will be Twittered: Philadelphia

Lia_Davis green day isnt a movie people, why do you have popcorn?!

July 21, 2009

The Breakdown will be Twittered

This is a very funny conversation between two hardcores from Twitter. Deathlink is referring to the Green Day show in Ottawa on July 17, 2009:

Meezy2Dope @vrockaknolkasa Fuck Greenday! Listen to some Cannibal Corpse!

Deathlink @vrockaknolkasa You’re a vampire. I seen Greenday last night..they rocked.

Top Searches!

This may become a regular thing. Some of the search terms that people used to get here have been heeelarious.

For the week ending Friday, July 17, 2009:

punk boys,

billie joe armstrong’s ass,

greenday magazine,

brittney cade,

billie joe armstrong without makeup

I shit you not. Top Searches!

Macy’s Day Parade: Can it get anymore real and depressing?

I did something yesterday morning that I more than likely should not have done: I listened to Green Day’s “Macy’s Day Parade,” from their 2000 album, Warning.

Why was it a bad idea to listen? Mostly because it’s one of the most depressing songs ever written, that’s why. Oh sure, the video of the song has the lead singer driving off in his old school Suburban, possibly running away to a new life, but really, you know he’s a loser… but at least he’s good at it.*

It’s a depressing song about being stuck in a rut life, losing your dreams, walking through the ruins of your detritus, looking for hope when all is lost and then taking off with no resolution in sight. Or at least, that’s what the video projects. Which I don’t have to show you because the only one I could find on Youtube didn’t have the sound synced, which is really stupid.

So here’s the band performing the song at Ashbury Park, NJ.

I picked up the keys to my new apartment yesterday. Woot! I packed a bit the night before (an always heinous task), threw back a beer, listened to music and checked the GD fansites to see what was happening at the concert in Detroit. I never realized before how much fun it could be watching a world music tour by Internet. I grew up on the delay of magazines and Saturday/Sunday music programs (Soul Train, American Bandstand, anyone?). With the rise of the dreaded Internet, you can now experience anything through social networking. (I’m sure that the end of the world will be blogged.) Quite fun. Very strange. Early reports from the front were that GD had changed up the setlist. Someone had a sign requesting “Macy’s Day Parade,” and the band obliged, right before “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” So this morning I decided to listen to it on the old iPhone while walking to my new place. I hadn’t heard it in a while.

The last GD album I bought was Warning, and I don’t listen to it much because it is kinda morose. But then again, so were the times leading up to the album’s release in 2000. From 1995 to 2000, I remember clearly being in the doldrums. I ultimately broke after President Clinton lied about his infidelity. Sure, it was none of my business, but really, after years of defending him while staring at the teevee perplexed by the shit thrown at him, here he was, uncontrolled penis in hand. Add to this mix, the Oklahoma city bombing, repeated threats of war from Osama bin Laden, the heightened rise of terrorism, the Moral Majority and the Religious Right, and heads were about to explode all around. Egads. As to the album, you can tell that the band was tense as well. They were in the middle of the shit and seemingly unhappy. Yeah, sure, they were unhappy before, but at least they were smiling while doing it. Sorta. Hell, one of the songs is actually named “Misery” and another, “Minority,” goes for the jugular of certain GOP-tinged religious bigots who were neither “moral’ nor the majority.  Come on, it was a bad time all around.

I realized that listening to “Macy’s Day Parade” was not the right thing to do shortly after the song started, but I kept listening because there is a tiny bit of a teeny strain of hope in the song; you just have to step through the turmoil of it to get to that little green spot. It’s painful traveling to that point, if you make it all. It’s what all great songs are made of. Turmoil, angst, sorrow, hope and lust. Now may I hang myself, please?

Lately, I’ve felt on the edge of either a catharsis or a last resort. I haven’t sorted out which one it’s going to be yet. I guess when you reach this point in life (read: age), you look back and reflect on the dreams that held fast in youth. I went after my dream and I held on as long as I could, which is a lot further than afforded most folks. I chased my dream until I chose to stop. It’s my-life regrettable. Now I have a ‘career,’ but with a student loan that is sucking the life out of me. Ultimately, I am not unhappy with the career path I’ve taken, but if I could, I would certainly change the specific field that I’m in. I would work as an archivist in the arts. And as soon as I figure out how to do that and make money to live, I’ll let you know. Yeah, I’m a sell-out to my dreams, but at least I keep hope alive and pay the rent. Mostly.

Macy’s Day Parade” — how ironic a title for a song where the only parade is despair; the “Minority” video actually got a Main Street parade of rebellious hellions in all of their defiance — knocked me for a loop. I was happily skipping toward my new place when “boom,” right into the wall I went. All the old fears of failure, lost dreams, and thoughts of life just ticking away one mindless day after another went off all at once. It took most of the day to right myself again. In the end, what hit me is summed up in the song’s refrain:

Because I’m thinking about
a brand new hope
the one I’ve never known
cause now I know
it’s all that I wanted

I’ve moved a million times in my life. Literally. I have a nice new home now, and I’ll be there for some long, indefinite period of time. It’s very grown up, but having my own home also feels as if I’m tied down as well, even though it’s but a base of operations. Nonetheless, I’m always thinking of a brand new hope right around the corner, one that I’ve never known and probably will never know before I croak out of this world. And the thought of living so briefly and wanting that elusive and ill-defined it and not obtaining it… whatever it is… is overwhelming. That’s why I shouldn’t have listened to the song yesterday. I was doing a pretty good job of coping with wanting more out of an already full life, but the impact of the late 1990s seeped into my mind by way of a music gateway and it was not pretty.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not time to kick it. I can make anything happen, yes?

Luckily, the angst of  “Macy’s Day Parade” and the album in general is broken up by another single, “Waiting.” This refrain offers just a bit more hope and I have listened to it repeatedly today and I feel much better.

Dawning of a new era

Calling…don’t let it catch you falling

Ready or not at all

So close enough to taste it

Almost…I can embrace this

Feeling….on the tip of my tongue

Catharsis or last resort… I’m going to go with catharsis, yeah, that’s the ticket.

*quoth Billie Joe…

The Audience

Green Day started their 2009 concert tour on July 3 in Seattle. So far, they have toured Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Fargo, and Minneapolis and have about 500 more cities to go before they finish up next year. I’ve made sure not to watch videos of the band playing for the most part until after I see them later this month in Albany and then again at the two Madison Square Garden shows. I’ve heard so much bitching and moaning about the setlist over at the Green Day Community from pre-AI fans and those who have seen GD’s stadium shows before this tour to last a lifetime — you’ll have to find out what the issues are on your own, if you care to know. So since I’ve only seen them live once at Good Morning America, I’ve decided to experience the band as the band would like to present itself… even if I would love to hear older songs and have the setlist sound a little more unlike the American Idiot tour than I think it may sound. Oh well. Cie la vie. Shit happens.

I’ve made a few exceptions for some special moments that more than likely won’t be repeated at subsequent shows, like this rare rendition of Billie Joe Armstrong singing “Minnesota Girl” in honor of his wife, who’s from Minnesota (and where they met) at last night’s show. I’ve also made it a point of watching videos of Green Day inviting members of the audience up to stage in order to have them try their hand at ‘being in the band.’

My two favorites so far happened early in the tour, the first in Seattle, and the other in Vancouver:

Kamran Inram plays Jesus of Suburbia – Seattle

Michael Aaron Keith bumps it with Billie Joe Armstrong on Longview – Vancouver

I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my life, but I have never seen a band do what Green Day does when it comes to the audience. While I have only seen them once, I’ve seen enough other GD concerts on tape (Bullet in a Bible, Live 8 in Germany, Rock AM Ring in Germany — full video no longer available on Comcast, where I saw it — and a bunch of pre-American Idiot stuff) to know that they have an amazing synergy with their audience unlike any band I’ve been privileged to see, except maybe for Gwar, but I think it’s the blood and costumes that gives Gwar that special something something. Ultimately, it’s got something to do with GD’s guts and courage — who else would even dare to bring an unknown factor into their stage show? I can’t even think of a band that’s done it before, though I’m sure… yes?… that there have been others?

Which brings me momentarily to the American Idiot – The Musical production coming up soon in Berkeley. The night and several-beers-at-the-bierhaus before I saw GD at at 8AM on GMA, I went to see a friend in a production of The Who’s Tommy performed live for the first time by the Gallery Players in Brooklyn. I had never seen a full production of the show before and I really didn’t know what to expect. I was completely and pleasantly surprised by the energy and dynamism of the cast. I’ve seen The Who perform a few of the songs from their album live and it was amazing, and the Gallery Players cast really nailed it — except that the audience wouldn’t move or tap their feet, which annoyed the shit out of me.

I’m trying to figure out in my head what rhetorical devices the cast of AI-TM will employ to bring that same existing synergy between GD and the audience to the live stage. GD songs scream to be sung to and shouted back… It’s going to be an interesting exercise, especially when (not if) the show comes to Broadway. I’ll tell you one thing, if AI-TM is good when I see it in New York, I’m not going to be sitting in the audience asking permission from New York theater snobs to bounce up and down in my seat… if that’s the way the director wants it.

Anyway, this is rambling now. I’m in a hotel in Baltimore after a family reunion and I haven’t been able to post anything in a few days since life is a bit hectic. I’ll fix this up later when I get back to NYC.


Chewy030 from the Vancouver thread at the GDA found this wonderful soundcheck photograph on Twitpic. From what I can tell the person who took the shot works at the Vancouver stadium where Green Day is performing tonight.

Green Day Sound Check by Kevinmiam on Twitter

Green Day Sound Check by Kevinmiam on Twitter

I remember when I used to do theater (God, how I miss it), and the rehearsals prior to a performance or warmup. There was always a sort of sacred vibe of being onstage in front of that empty and hollow space and knowing that in three or four hours, that space would be filled with living, vibrating people… all of whom are judging you and waiting for you to entertain them, move them. Just the thought of it reminds me of the fluttering sensation I always got in anticipation of what would happen when the space was filled with an audience. What a delicious, exciting, and terrifying sensation it is.

In theater, there are basically two kinds of rehearsals: the technical rehearsal and the performance rehearsal. The performance rehearsal primarily takes place prior to the audience actually showing up at the theater. It’s those long, grueling weeks or months where the lines are memorized, the director’s vision is melded onto the playwright’s words, the actors become the characters, the blocking (the actual steps or actions an actor takes in the course of the play) is set. The technical rehearsal usually only occurs a few times until the entire play is coordinated with sound and light cues. Once a play opens, there might be a few more performance rehearsals to tweak scenes here or there. However, unless there are drastic changes in the technical aspects of the show, there will never or rarely be another technical rehearsal.

The theatrical technical rehearsal is closest to the soundcheck in music. The biggest difference in music, though, is that the soundcheck occurs in every city or club that a band visits. When a play goes up and is running to par, there may not be another performance rehearsal after the initial previews.

I remember back in 1983 when The Police came to Cobo Hall, now known as Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit. I wanted to meet them so badly! I was studying theater at Wayne State University and was interested in both onstage and backstage aspects of the art. I had designed sound for a few shows, and I created this elaborate ruse (UPDATE!: and I was writing a paper!) to get backstage to meet the band… I was “on assignment” to learn more about concert lighting, so I went to the Arena with this elaborate story of wanting to meet the lighting director of the Police show. It kinda worked: I did get backstage and actually heard of bit of the Police’s soundcheck prior to my ass getting thrown out of the place. I’m glad I didn’t meet the Police. In retrospect, I have come to the conclusion that they are assholes (or at least Sting is) and it probably wouldn’t have turned out to be a pleasant experience meeting them! 🙂

Every band goes through the soundcheck, whether they are as big as Green Day or not. Bands have to make sure that the venue’s system works properly with the traveling equipment, that the sound levels are right, that the video equipment is coordinated properly, and that the massive soundboard works. Concerts on the scale of GD’s take an enormous amount of manpower, setup and breakdown. Theatrical productions, even those that play out-of-town are usually in one place for a number of weeks, not days, unlike bands. Bands can be in Albuquerque one day and Des Moines the next;
that’s a lot of setup, breakdown, and rehearsal.

At least a few things are consistent between theatrical rehearsals and music soundchecks, however, and it’s that feeling that this picture evokes to me: the performer onstage inside that hollow space, waiting for the audience to walk in and fill it up with their anticipation, their adoration, and their judgment. It captures that delicious, exciting and terrifying moment that few people outside of the world of performance know or think about, the time between rehearsal and performance. I remember that moment fondly, and miss it.

Thanks for the photo. Nicely done.

*This post was written a bit because it sucked and needed to be rewritte