Monthly Archives: August 2009

Highlights from the Breakdown: St. Louis

Via the Forum (registration required) at “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry. Instant classic.

Green Day’s American Idiot (the Musical)

While I wonder what’s happening tonight at Green Day’s show in Phoenix, where free tickets are being distributed to hardcore fans at the Idiot Club for a special taping for the tour’s sponsor, Verizon, my thoughts turn toward next month’s upcoming musical opening at the Berkeley Repertory Company. (I’m also hoping that when they say it’s for Verizon that I will not have to regret the only thing about my having an iPhone… and that’s AT&T… because non-Verizon customers won’t be able to see it. Blech.)

Via my Google News subscription, I got a notice saying that’s “Rock and Roll Daily” had posted an online dossier of the cast of Green Day’s American Idiot, including a few Youtube highlights with the likes of the Spring Awakening cast and a fine turn of tune with Queen by Tony Vincent as the late, great, Freddie Mercury (may he rest in peace).

Check them out:

Spring Awakening Cast featuring John Gallagher appearing on Late Night with David Letterman

Queen with Tony Vincent and the Cast of We Will Rock You, singing for the Queen’s Jubilee at Buckingham Palace

From Mass Hysteria at the GDC, comes links to the Berkeley Repertory Company’s Blog that has been giving periodical updates on the show’s progression. You’ll also get updates on the other shows that are happening for the 2009-2010 Berkeley Rep season as well. It’s a great theater and lots of amazing performances have come out of the premiere theater on the West Coast for ground-breaking performance presentations.

American Idiot is going to be quite the challenge to bring to life, but from the cast profiles and the strength of the director and the band, I can’t wait to see it.

Mike… love…

Via the GDC:

Fender Bass Company has issued an online profile of the lovely Mike Dirnt. There are profiles of his basses and head, amp, and speaker. My favorite that I remember him playing is his Precision Bass with the beautiful black star on the white background. He looked long and sleek and the bass in his hands pumped out steady and intricate beats. He is the backbone to Green Day.

Not only that, but Mike has an awesome bass tech in Micah Chong (scroll down), who likes to wear kitty ears, and I’m really glad he does. On top of being awesome that Mike is the featured Fender artist with his gear and those kitty ears (a pink pair of which Mike usually dons during “King for a Day” along with a swishy pink tail), there are a series of photographs by a few photographers, including beautiful images of Mike by Green Day’s own photographer, Chris Dugan.

Ah, I love the Mike love… oh, and thanks for the picks! 🙂

Mikes Picks, Front

Mike's Picks, Front

Mikes Picks, Back (l. to r.: MSG2, San Antonio)

Mike's Picks, Back (l. to r.: MSG2, San Antonio)

UPDATE: The article linked from Micah’s name here at MIX: Professional Audio and Music Production Magazine, has a nice profile of Green Day’s tech crew and talks about their instruments. It gets a bit technical for me, but I’d thought I’d note here about Mike’s arsenal of basses:

“Mike [Dirnt] uses his own signature bass from Fender, essentially a ’53 P-Bass with a contoured body, modern P-Bass pickups and a BadAss II bridge,” bass tech Micah S. Chong says. “He also uses a ’69 P-Bass named Stella for the older songs. Mike uses a Fender Bassman 1200 with a Crown CE4000 power amp, driving three Fender 8×10 cabs. He also has an Avalon Design U5 that he uses for a DI.”

Mother Mary

A very special moment happened at the San Jose concert the other night for a super cool woman. Billie Joe serenaded a lady who saved me a spot on the line and at the barrier in San Antonio. She’s an admin at Green Day Community and has been to ten Green Day shows so far this year including the secret shows in NYC and will be at ROCKTOBER as well. She’s at the point in life where she is taking a Green Day holiday after some tough years and regularly finds very cool sunglasses and scarves and whatnots for BJA during songs such as “King for a Day” and “St. Jimmy.”  Her name is J’net and she totally deserves what happened to her in San Jose.

This is also the first time on the actual U.S. tour that Green Day has performed Mother Mary or any FBHT songs in full. It’s a capella. Sweet.

Dookie and Peak of Western Civ

Take a look at this interesting article that reminiscences about Green Day’s phenomenal 1994 album Dookie and what the author deems the “peak of Western civilization.” It’s bound to raise discussion. I’ll update this post later with some thoughts. Aren’t you lucky? 🙂

The Breakdown will be Twittered: San Jose, CA (Welcome Back to Cali Edition)

Welcome back home to California, boys, welcome back to Cali.

AshCamilleB Green day live is insane! And notings better than having a crazy ass moshpit dancer like susana with me! Yaaaaay!!! 2 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

JennBarich At the green day concert. Ooooolldd school. 3 minutes ago from TwitterFon

patundergone green day is absolutly incredible 4 minutes ago from txt

prettymesss Green day is such a tease 5 minutes ago from Twitterrific

ultracore I can’t believe Danny is twittteing through green day‘s set!! 5 minutes ago from txt

jeff_jordan Green Day in San Jose! Tearing the roof off the sucka! 5 minutes ago from TwitterFon

ultracore Green day isn’t even singing! These guys paid $50 to be here and are doing all the work! 7 minutes ago from txt

eldrix4 I’m not the oldest person at Green Day in San Jose. Phew! 7 minutes ago from Tweets60

leighrowena I’m an hour and a half into Green Day in the Bay, and there are no signs of stopping. #greenday 8 minutes ago from txt

erikbethke Green day! Box seats!! Me!!! Holly fuck I am a lucky bastard!!!!! 8 minutes ago from TwitterFon

angelaocc green day is playing for 3 hours tonight if anyone was wondering lol 8 minutes ago from mobile web

cmedders is rockin’ hard with Green Day. She might be an American Idiot. And she is SO okay with that! #fb 9 minutes ago from mobile web

brainchylde Actually getting to see green day right now. They are on fucking fire tonight. 10 minutes ago from txt

imabor3ddude Green Day brought out the disco ball. Disco ball + concert = pure awesomness. 11 minutes ago from UberTwitter

Iroscionn 4 coronas down. drunk and rockin to green day! 12 minutes ago from txt

bluntzilla – HP Pavilion is going crazy! #greenday

And not from California, but a damned good question:

DRainsbergerii The hospital was playing “Good Riddence (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day in the halls today. anyone besides me find that odd? 11 minutes ago from Twidget

Green Day is Different

Down Home Goofballs

Down Home Goofballs

Green Day is different from other bands and let me tell you why.

There are only a few bands or musicians that I have been ga-ga over, and the list is pretty generic, so I won’t go much into who they are. Green Day is the first band that I’ve made an attempt to see more than once or twice in a lifetime (and certainly not more than the five times I’ve seen them since May), except for The Presidents of the United States of America, and that’s mostly because the tickets were cheap and they have the same sort of “let’s-have-a-damned-good-dancing-time”-type of vibe that Green Day does. PUSA’s lyrics never were as deep as Green Day’s can be, as you can only mine so much depth by singing about peaches and bullfrogs. Green Day manages to kick lyrical and musical ass, sing about deep and stupid things, make you laugh hysterically, and generally seep into the very fabric of your soul and pull out those dark secrets and fears that you attempted to pretend that you never had.

I missed out on seeing The Talking Heads and Nirvana when they were together (and in Cobain’s case, alive, R.I.P.), which is two of the items on my list of Top 50 Regrets in Life. Jane’s Addiction and The Red Hot Chili Peppers were fantastic shows, but I’ve never desired to see them more than the once each that I have seen them. I’ve seen the requisite U2 and Police shows (remember, I came of age during the 80s, so those were the major bands that I grew up on). I’ve seen The Who and Pink Floyd once each (I saw God at Pink Floyd, no really, I did) and The Grateful Dead twice, though I have never been a fan of the latter. One time was free because the bar I worked at was the largest buyer of Budweiser in New York City and the company gave the bar owners a free skybooth at Madison Square Garden as a gift and the other time… well, I was dating someone who was into them. I finally saw David Bowie during his New York City Five-Borough Tour from 2002, and I can now die fulfilled. The tickets were only $17 if you were a member of Bowie’s fan club, and truthfully, I joined the Fan Club just to get tickets. If you have never seen Bowie in a college auditorium (the 1,814 seat Colden Auditorium at Queens College, straight out of the 1950s), then I think I’ve got at least one up on you!

I’ve seen bands in small and large venues, and since my dad owned a bar in Detroit while I was growing up (The Moonglow Lounge, read about it here, last two paragraphs), I saw more live R&B music before the age of 10 than anyone can shake a stick at. In fact, the scene in Eminen’s 8 Mile where Cheddar shoots himself in the groin was filmed a 1/2 block from my Dad’s bar. I grew up on that corner. I may not have first-rate punk creds according to die-hard punk schmucks who scream about “selling out and sucky music,” but I spent many a night at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit seeing punk and new wave bands including The Cure and others whose names I can’t remember now. Hell, just growing up in Motown gives me music cred that many people can’t touch. In other words, I know what I’m talking about.

So then, what makes Green Day different? Four words sum it up: “Billie Joe, Mike, Tré.”

From the moment that I first saw them pop onstage at the bleary hour of 8:30 AM on a Friday morning in the freak show that was Good Morning, American Idiot back in May, I was blown away by the extreme attention they paid to and the very deep connection that these three guys have with their audience. Billie Joe actually talked to people in the crowd and not at them. Mike actually looked people directly into their eyes and not over their heads or as if they didn’t exist. Tré actually expressed his contempt for the setting in a way that was fun and fuck you at the same time. In other words, they were humans beings who just actually happened to be rock stars. I was floored and fell hardcore in love with them as a entity. Oh yea, the music was damned good, too.

In other words, the difference that I, personally, believe that Green Day has that other bands or musicians don’t quite possess at their level of stardom is the respect that they have for their fans as well as the 1000% level of enthusiasm that they produce whenever they are on stage. I’ve heard stories about how they sometimes don’t stop to sign autographs or tell fans that they’ll be out of the bus in a few minutes and never come out (I’m specifically talking to you about that last one, Tré), but I’ve also heard stories about fans breaking their knee by falling down a flight of stairs at a venue right before the show and them coming out to say how sorry they were that the fan was missing the show that night (I’m specifically talking to you about that one, too, Tré).

I’ve seen them nurture young and old performers night after night by bringing them onstage, unknowns when they got up there and unknowns after they left, but superstars for their time in the limelight. I’ve seen their kids dancing in the pit and their wives hanging around like real people. They’ve even gotten to the point in life where Billie has such an enthusiastic happiness, and is obviously a gigantic family-oriented man, where he can pull his sister onstage (as happened in either Seattle or Vancouver, at the beginning of the tour) and make his mom walk down from her seat in order to excitedly (the first time ever, I think) introduce her to a crowd of thousands (see below). These are rare moments for any fan to experience, and Green Day wants to share a good portion of their lives with you.

Green Day with Mrs. Ollie Armstrong, Salt Lake City, Utah

In the middle of the show that I went to in San Antonio, Billie was standing at the end of the catwalk when he looked down and saw a fan who had been in the same area for the previous four shows, including San Antonio. He looked her in the eyes and said, “I remember you, you were at the show last night.” She replied that she had been at three other shows and this was her last one. He looked at her tattoo and said, “Oh wow, you have my name tattooed on you,” and when he said it, you could hear a humbleness and an awe in his voice that is rare among non-famous people and seldom heard in action from famous ones. And in Kansas, when he usually breaks out into Storytimes about fighting an asshole or pissing in the closet at the start of “Before the Lobotomy,” he took a moment to tell a fan how beautiful she was:

Billie Joe Takes the Time to Tell a Fan How Beautiful She Is, Kansas City, Missouri

Green Day fans get a lot of crap for being Green Day fans. We tend to talk about them too much because we are excited to see them touring again or we want to share a song or a lyric and nobody but another diehard fan gets it. In a UK Absolute Radio interview with the band from earlier in the year, questions (and quite a few good ones) were provided by members of the Green Day Community, including one questioner who asked if Green Day understood the influence that they had over their fans, going on to state that they were “the most influential strangers in her life,” which Mike, rightfully and funnily, said was “totally awesome and super creepy at the same time.” We struggle, like Kelsey, a guest essayist at, to put into words how much they mean to us, and tend to isolate within Green Day-only fan club sites because there are few places in the “outside world” to share about them. We have to put up with stupid remarks about selling out or how they were never punk or how they used punk to get where they are today. Few of these purist jerks acknowledge that Green Day is one of the hardest working bands out there and that they have consistently kept their ticket prices low ($49.50 for the highest ticket without fees as compared for $140 for a Madonna show). As a case in point, throughout the predominately glowing reviews that the band has gotten during their U.S. tour (I’ve only seen one negative one and the author was a bit too hipsterish for my taste), there is usually one or more commentators who would like to tell everyone how much Green Day blows. (For example, see the first comment from the Salt Lake City review here.)

To paraphrase from “Jesus of Suburbia,” we don’t care what anyone says bad about Green Day. Fans know that Green Day, after 22 years on the music scene and 16 years of fame, is different from other bands. Yes, we might have our gripes about setlists or dropping songs from shows unexpectedly or wishing that they sounded like Dookie again or being horrified that American Idiot is going to be a musical (not me, but some are horrified), but all in all, you know, we know them and they know us. Ya know? And that’s what makes them different from other bands and musicians out there right now. They want to share life with us to a point and understand that they wouldn’t be where they are without us and we wouldn’t know ourselves better without them. It’s a win-win synergy for fan and band alike.

This is what we think of you if you don't like us

This is what we think if you don't like them

Photos by Ross Halfin

Coming Soon

Green Day’s Summer 2009 American tour has eight more shows (including tonight’s Denver stop) ending on August 25th in L.A. The boys will have a month’s ‘break’ as they head into the final touches of American Idiot: The Musical (previewing on September 4th) as well as a live stop at MTV’s Video Music Awards in New York City on September 13th (vote here for “21 Guns” as Best Rock Video and vote often).

I’m hoping that they have a bit of time for a secret show here in NYC (dreaming… I was was only dreaming… ), but it looks like their month ‘off’ is going to be a bit hectic, to say the least.

After a month of ‘rest,’ Green Day begins their European tour on September 28th, 2009 in Barcelona Lisbon. Hungarian Green Day fansite Castaway Online has created a Google mashup map of their European stops.

For those of you in the United Kingdom in particular, ROCKTOBER (10/21-11/01) is coming your way! I’ll post more about this as soon as I can. In the meanwhile, Jason Chandler, Horrible Comics author and lead singer of The Frustrators, has created an unofficial and limited edition GD UK* Rocktober line of Cafe Press shirts and merchandise just for you! (And anyone else, too.) He’ll stop selling this merchandise when the UK tour rolls around, so get yours here now. Go! NOW!

Green Day ROCKTOBER Baby!

Green Day ROCKTOBER Baby!

ATTENTION EUROPE: get to at least one Green Day show by ‘any means necessary’! You won’t be disappointed.

*Jason would like everyone to know that GD UK stands for “Godzilla Doesn’t Understand Korean,” which makes me love this logo even more than I did before.

Green Day Live Withdrawal: San Antonio Edition

The last of Green Day’s four United States tour shows that I attended (Albany and the two shows at MSG being the first three) occurred this past Sunday, August 9th in San Antonio. The show is a bit of a blur to me since I had flown in that morning to Austin and drove directly to San Antonio and stood in the hot Texas sun for a few hours. I was wiped out before the show started and by the end, drained.

Billie Joe Armstrong with my red hat and East Jesus Nowhere Kids - Green Day - AT&T Center, San Antonio, August 9, 2009

Billie Joe Armstrong with my red hat and East Jesus Nowhere Kids - Green Day - AT&T Center, San Antonio, August 9, 2009

Photo by Chris Dugan,

I remember Billie taking my silly red hat with the “13” and the skull, and Sara’s wonderful turn in “Longview,” as well as her funny stage dive that was more like a “crowd hop” with the audience carrying her directly back to our spot at the front barrier afterward. I remember “Welcome to Paradise” and “No Pride,” and Tré’s turn in “Hitchin’ a Ride” and Mike trying to throw me a pic and missing, but really, everything else is a blur. Frankly, when the guitar of “Minority” began in the first encore and the drums kicked in and the confetti started flying, I had to force myself not to cry. I felt a bit stupid for tearing up, but it truly dawned on me then that another fantastic show (each of the four better than the one previous to it) had ended and more than likely, I would not see Green Day live again until the Summer of 2010.

It was quite overwhelming.

I was standing at the very front of the barrier that separates the stage from the audience, at the feet of Mike and Billie. We had very clear views of each other all night and I didn’t want them to see (not that they would have) any sadness or tears on my face after two hours of smiles and laughs and play. But really, I couldn’t help myself. The final acoustic guitar solos that Billie did that night, “Words I Might Have Ate,” “Last Night On Earth,” and of course, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t turn around to see Billie at the end of the catwalk during “Words I Might Have Ate,” and I couldn’t muster up a smile either. I just stared backstage and watched Mike and his wife, Brittney, and looked at the lights and the stage and the organ and the drums and tried to remember the pyro and all of the great stage moments that the band had given me over the course of four shows in two States.

And then, the last notes of “Good Riddance” were strummed, Billie turned around, walked up the catwalk with his guitar in the air toward backstage, and that was it. I let out a giant sigh, and turned to Sarita and J’net and the other GDCers and ICers that I was with and headed out. Truly, it had made me happy to see everyone so happy but now it was back to reality.

I am suffering from withdrawal and the proud remnants of a giant, Green Day handgrenade-shaped bruise on my upper arm.

Barrier Bruise - Green Day - AT&T Center, San Antonio, August 9, 2009

Barrier Bruise - Green Day - AT&T Center, San Antonio, August 9, 2009

Luckily, I’m flying out to Berkeley to see American Idiot: The Musical next month, for the September 25, 2009 show. (Frequent flyer miles and friends that I can stay with, yah!) There’s an after-show discussion, probably just with the cast since Green Day’s European leg of the tour starts on September 28th in Barcelona. I picked the date so that I could listen to the cast and director talk about the vision and direction for the show. If Green Day shows up, well, it’s an added bonus, but truthfully, it’s ok if they don’t, too.

I’m lucky to have this one last event of the year, but, if I had the time or money, I’d head to England in a heartbeat and see the shows there. It may sound daft, but I’m saving every penny so that I’ll have more freedom next year to pick and chose to see them again in the United States and hopefully, England. I would love to go to South America to see them early next year, too. It’s always good to dream.

Thanks to Billie Joe, Mike and Tré (and Jason and Jason and Jeff), and the crew (especially Micah with his kitty ears), and the Verizon gang (Chris and Britton and the wonderful girl whose name I never caught) and the security (even if you were assholes sometimes, but at least you kept everyone safe), and Chris Dugan for the amazing photographs and all of the Idiot Club and Green Day Community fans that I met or talked with, for an amazing four nights of music, fun, punk, dancing, bruises, pyro, pranks, old songs and new ones, happiness and everything else in between. May the Lushie gods keep us all safe and rocking on until we see a Green Day show next time (which is quicker for some of you than others 🙂 ).

Set List:

Song of the Century
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
East Jesus Nowhere
The Static Age
Before The Lobotomy
Are We The Waiting
St. Jimmy
Murder City
Hitchin a Ride
Welcome To Paradise
No Pride
Several Song Medley (Rock You Like A Hurricane, Master of Puppets, Iron Man, and a couple of others)
When I Come Around
Brain Stew
Basket Case
King For A Day
21 Guns
American Eulogy

Encore 1
American Idiot
Encore 2 (Acoustic)
Words I Might Have Ate
Last Night On Earth
Good Riddence

Green Day Takes New York, Pt. III: MSG2

This has been hard to write because frankly, it was perfect. How do you express perfect? Hmmm…well, perfect except for a few hiccups here and there, but nonetheless, perfect. Thanks, Green Day, for a great night!

New York, Madison Square Garden, July 28, 2009

When I left work early at 1:30 PM and took the F train the two stops from 14th to 34th, I had a giddiness of step that was lighthearted and single-minded: I knew I was going to have a good time.

And I did.

The Line

Through the members-only Idiot Club (how ‘elitist’ does that sound, bwhaaha), I was able to get GA tickets for this show when they were released about two weeks prior. I saw the email and I could not resist. I’m glad I didn’t.

Through the Idiot Club, Green Day Community and NothingWrongWith and a few other sites, I have met other like-minded Green Day fans from all over the world. I highly recommend checking these and other fans sites out if you are interested in following the band and the tour. (I’ll eventually add more links when I get a chance.) Just stick to Green Day and forget about any human friction that may take place. The people on these sites may have Green Day in common, but each site has a different flavor and unique participants. My motto through it all: I stick to Green Day if and when tensions break out.

From Albany and this second MSG, I met folks from Venezuela, Toronto, Albany, New Jersey, New York, and California and nearly missed one from Great Britain. It’s been so long since the band made an album or went on tour that there is a palpable electric current on the boards and at the shows.

I was especially happy to meet ChristhyneS from Venezuela. ChristhyneS and I had started a conversation in a MSG thread prior to new tickets going on sale as I was trying to find someone with an extra ticket that I could purchase. ChristhyneS emailed me when a new batch of tickets went on sale, and I quickly got home to purchase one General Admission ticket before they disappeared. I think I walked/ran the entire way from the subway to my door and computer.

ChristhyneS brought a Venezuelan flag with her for Billie to fling, which he eventually did. I believe this show may have produced the third Spanish/Hispanic country flag he’s had on the tour, if I remember correctly: Spain, Brazil, and at this show, Venezuela. This may be a partial list. I also had the opportunity to meet the lady in Albany who was selling t-shirts, Sweet Geraldine, and her friend BillieJoesEntourage, who had come in from Toronto. I’d like to also give a special shout out to Morgan, who caught one of Mike’s pics and gave it to me because she already had one. Thanks!


By any means necessary. Sometimes that’s just the way it is. I borrowed my bosses’ Verizon Blackberry in order to experience soundcheck.  I also left work early and got in line at 2:00. (Thanks, work!).

I wrote about the sacredness of rehearsal and soundcheck for the performer in an earlier post, so needless to say, I was quite excited that I was able to attend. However, the excitement quickly turned for the worse when we finally got into the empty Madison Square Garden to see the band. Two girls sitting directly in front of me kept taunting Tré about being in some video that they wanted to make, and generally were annoying. The Verizon people had said we could dance and interact a bit with the band, but they were so annoying that I felt constrained in my enthusiasm due to sheer embarrassment. I’m pretty sure that they annoyed the band, too.

Anyway, we were treated to “Murder City” (which they played at the show!), “Scattered,” a bit of “Macy’s Day Parade,” “21st Century Breakdown,” “King for a Day, ” a bit of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and “American Eulogy.” There was conversation about doing “Knowledge,” so it was not surprising to me when they did that at the show instead of “Longview.” (Doing “Knowledge” fulfilled audience-participation “requirements,” if you will, because we were treated to Billie himself playing and singing the majority of “Jesus of Suburbia” except for “Dearly Beloved” that night.) Shortly thereafter, we got kicked out. Billie started talking into a monitor mike that only the band could hear, and I knew we were about to get the boot. I don’t know how long the soundchecks last, probably not that long, but I had heard that the band interacted a little with the people, but they didn’t really say anything to us, though Tré gave a boy a pair of drumsticks, as usual.  I blame the girls, why not? We were escorted to a sports bar in MSG where we got food and a t-shirt (thank goodness, because I had no money for any of the t-shirts I wanted to buy), played games and generally waited for showtime. When they finally let us in, I stupidly got a beer instead of heading straight to the rail, so I ended up being in the second row of bodies at the barrier. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But damn, did I need that beer!

Soundcheck Buddies

Soundcheck Buddies

The Show

Hands down, this was the best concert I’ve ever been to. It rivaled the massive pranking and physical energy of Albany and overwhelmed my sense of disappointment at MSG1’s lousy seats in the 300s section at MSG1. I was in the second row at the barrier, a little to stage right of long-legged Mike with a great view of Tré’s drumming and facial expressions. A good spot, despite the beer. Thanks to those who saved me this spot!

The most unexpected surprise of the night came when they played “A Quick One While He’s Away” by The Who for the first (and probably the last) time, “Tell Me When It’s Time To Say I Love You,” (an unreleased AI record that some people mistook for “Olivia,” which I’ve never heard), “Stuart And The Ave./ Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?“, “Going to Pasalacqua,” and “When I Come Around.” They did only a snippet of “Stuart” since lyric guy forgot the words, and they had played “When I Come Around” at MSG1. They finally broke out a new song from 21st Century Breakdown, “Murder City,” which made me extremely happy. (They also played this in San Antonio.) I was hoping to hear at least one more song from the new album particularly “Peacemaker,” or one of the album’s two “Glorias.” Come on guys, you can do it, I know you can!

I very much enjoyed “A Quick One,” but there was a reason why Billie said it was their first and last time doing it: it probably sucked the energy out of the room on the upper levels and for those who had no clue what the hell was going on. “A Quick One” is one of four iTunes bonus tracks from 21st Century Breakdown (the other three: Social Distortion’s “Another State of Mind,” Arthur Crudup’s “That’s Alright Mama,” and Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”) and while I don’t listen to the four covers on this edition very often, I do enjoy them every once in a while. “A Quick One” has several tempo changes and is a melodramatic song, right up Green Day’s alley. But at 7:58, it rivals “Jesus of Suburbia.” I think at least one of the bonus iTunes should be played, though I’d rather hear Social Distortion’s “Another State of Mind.” What I would really like to hear are the two bonus tracks from the CD version of the new album, “Hearts Collide,” and “Lights Out” in particular.

“A Quick One While He’s Away”

I can’t remember exactly when Billie started playing a snippet of “Stop, Drop, and Roll” from the Foxboro Hot Tubs, but the band looked at him like he was crazy for a second and then he started laughing and broke out an “Eye of The Tiger” riff. This was preceded by a strong performance of “Welcome to Paradise,” which made me break once again into a manic dance and followed by a song that I wanted to hear live and had made me deeply regret not going to the Hartford show: “F.O.D.”

This song is somewhat a motto of my life. It starts out very innocently and coyly, with Billie breaking the bad news to an unknown entity (friend, lover, parent?) that their time together has been some sort of ‘fun,’ but it was now time to cut off their relationship. First, he has to get something off of his chest: “You’re just a fuck… I can’t explain it ’cause I think you suck… I’m tak… ing pride…in telling you to fuck off and die.” Of course, I think Green Day would say this to someone’s face, but me, I’ve often thought of it, particularly when it comes to politicians and religious leaders. I was pleased to hear this song live at least once, since they didn’t play it in San Antonio, either.

At MSG1, Billie relinquished his guitar for “Jesus of Suburbia” to the amazing Mademoiselle Stephanie. There is no question that she rocked the song hard on Monday night, prompting Billie to scream “I fucking love you,” particularly after she added her own flair to the final guitar riff. Billie also relinquished his guitar for “Jesus of Suburbia” at Albany, and I was happy with that as well. At Good Morning America, Billie played the entire song and let an audience member sing “Dearly Beloved.” At MSG2, Billie put his foot down and informed the crowd that “he” was going to play the song that night, and frankly, I’m glad he did. He again let a woman from the audience sing “Dearly Beloved” but it was a pleasure to hear him perform the song and not have to coach someone else while he’s pouring his heart out at the same time. To me, this was a special treat and one of the moments I take away the most with this show. “Jesus of Suburbia” was not on the setlist for San Antonio.

For MSG2, I was slightly stage right of long-legged Mike and had a great view of Tré’s drums. I love Tré’s drumming, as well as Mike’s wicked bassline. When both of these guys get into their grooves they cannot be beat. They are a tight machine and have amazing accuracy of sound between an album and a live show. I particularly am fond of watching Tré drum, and I’m pretty sure I made him laugh hard at one point. I was standing next to a girl with long, stringy hair that she had down. It felt like a ton of wet spiderwebs and kept clinging to my own wet, sweaty skin. At one point, pieces of it flew into my mouth, and I have a bad hair-in-the-mouth gag reflex. All of a sudden I started clawing at my tongue trying to get it out and get her hair away from me at the same time. I looked up at the stage and Tré was looking directly at me, laughing with a look of “what the hell?” on his face. I don’t remember if I pointed to her hair or not, but it took half the song to get it out of my mouth, it was that wispy and gross. I finally told her during the show that the next time she came to a concert in close proximity to people, she should put her hair up. I wanted to say, “cause it’s a fucking pain in everyone’s ass,” but I restrained myself. F.O.D. came to my mind, but we were at a concert, enjoying it, so I restrained myself again. Wonderful Mike bounced a pic off my chest (there was no other way I was going to grab that tiny thing), and I made every one stand back when it hit the floor at my feet so that I could pluck it from the ground.

Billie Joe Armstrong - Madison Square Garden, July 28, 2009

Billie Joe Armstrong - Madison Square Garden, July 28, 2009

“King for a Day” is always a classy… um…. song, and tonight’s edition was no different. My favorite “King for a Day” that I’ve seen this tour would be from Albany, as Billie and Jason Freese on sax were joined by two members of The Bravery, one of whom had on very short shorts and a plaid shirt tied at the waist and the other a frilly little skirt and parasol that went well with his full beard. Billie usually gets all kinds of frilly things from the audience during the show and tonight at MSG was no different. There were several pairs of sunglasses (one white pair that was mine, excellent throw and catch, I must say), two pairs of heart-shaped glasses, an exceptional baseball cap (that no one got a picture of, boo), a leopard print scarf that I brought, a blond wig and a fabulous pink boa. He looked like a hot mess, particularly with the kazoo.

Billie Joe Armstrong at Madison Square Garden during King for a Day. Photo by Naomi Lir

Billie Joe Armstrong at Madison Square Garden during King for a Day. Photo by Naomi Lir

As mentioned earlier, the band also played a previous staple from past tours, Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge” at MSG2. I’ve never seen them completely interchange the band live with audience members before, but I have seen video from Bullet in a Bible as well as Germany’s Rock AM during the American Idiot tour. Since they had mentioned it during soundcheck, I was pretty sure that they would do the song that night, and was not too surprised when Billie announced it. The audience band was pretty good, with the drummer attempting to break out into riffs and Tré popping him upside the head every time he did it, and a young (maybe 14) bass player who boldly went down the catwalk and screamed out “Thank you Madison Square” at the end of the number. He was so good that Mike gave him a bass that night, the first time I’ve seen them on this tour do that. The female guitarist that Billie picked caused a bit of a brouhaha when she got on stage and grabbed Billie’s face in a kiss and didn’t let go. The audience got kinda of silent and it looked as though Billie lost himself for a split second and seemed to kiss her back, something he does all the time with guys, though maybe not for that long. It was a bit awkward as a light went on in Billie’s head (hey, he is a guy, afterall) and he pulled away. The next day the Boards were harsh in regards to the young lady, and even I thought it was a bit untoward when I thought about it that night. She fought back hard and noted the hypocrisy of the commentators, who cheer on the boys when they stick their tongues down Billie’s throat and scream about inappropriateness when it comes a girl who is bold enough to do it, too. She had a legitimate point. I finally wrote: you go, girl, you go.”

Billie Joe Armstrong receiving a request from an audience member

Billie Joe Armstrong receiving a request from an audience member

Set list:

A word about the setlist that I’ve noticed over the shows, and that’s how they seem to break them up into distinct acts, as Green Day is always into the theatricality of their performance. The setlist, to me, is broken up into the largest chunks by decades, those songs by Green Day from the 21st century, American Idiot (2005) and 21st Century Breakdown (2009) and those songs from the decade where the majority of their music comes from, the 20th century. This show had an interlude (“A Quick One While He’s Away”), and their final ‘act’ before the encore ties up the show and brings it back to the present, with the combination (though they have changed this up at some shows)  of “21 Guns” and “American Eulogy.”

A fine setlist and an almost three-hour show. I could not have asked for anything more.

Act One: 21st Century

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

Unexpected Interlude

12. A Quick One While He’s Away (The Who)

Act Two: 20th Century

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

Act Three: Present

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”

35. Good Riddance


San Antonio, TX, AT&T Center, August 9


I unexpectedly attended the August 9 show in San Antonio. I flew into Austin from JFK that morning, got a rental car and booked it to San Antonio. This show is a bit blurry as I was so tired by the end of it, but I’m very proud of my barrier bruise. I’ll write more about it when I get the chance.