Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Breakdown Will Be Twittered: Glasgow and Belfast

I haven’t done this in a while since there hasn’t been many stupid funny Twits/Tweets/Twats that I’ve bothered searching for, but Pink was at the Green Day show in Glasgow and was twittering up a storm. I love Pink, she’s talented and funny. Three of my favorites:

Pink: Welcome to paradise. Fuckin glasgow is going off!!!!

Pink: They just played “she” and I’m pretty sure they just saved me hundreds of dollars in therapy.

Pink: Ok last tweet… I Don’t promise 🙂 I just almost got kicked out of the venue for smoking! And I’m playing here tomorrow nite! Haaaaaaaaaaaa

Opps on that last one.

And from Belfast, one simple tweet tonight:

Jamsrs: Just out from Green day. That was the best fucking show ‘ve ever seen. No others can compare.

Amen, Jamsrs, amen.

Freedom to Obey - 21st Century Breakdown Video Screenshot

Freedom to Obey - 21st Century Breakdown Video Screenshot


21st Century Breakdown Video – Only Available Outside of the U.S.

Screenshot from Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" video

Screenshot from Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" video

The new Green Day video to the International release (except for the United States) of “21st Century Breakdown” came out this morning. Americans can’t view it yet, but until further notice you can stream it here.

It’s fucking brilliant as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you, Marc Webb.

Thank you, Green Day.

And thank you, Green Day Authority.

Update: Stupid Warner Brothers asked the GDA to take down the video. Maybe next time that they release a video without giving it to the actual fans, they’ll think twice about their marketing, but I doubt it. Warner Brothers makes one stupid decision after another regarding Green Day material, so I don’t expect it to stop anytime soon. You can now buy the video to “21st Century Breakdown” from iTunes. Thank you Andres, for giving them an earful, too… even if they really could care less about a band’s fans.

Update 2: Green Day has uploaded the video to “21st Century Breakdown” to their Myspace page.

UPDATE: The Myspace link sometimes says you can’t get the video in the States. Don’t know if this really works, but try this also: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=64375394


Two Nights with an American Idiot, Part II: The Arrangement and The Cast

Green Day's American Idiot at the Berkeley Repertory Theater

Green Day's American Idiot at the Berkeley Repertory Theater

I’ve been struggling with this post. My home computer also went bust. It’s not been the easiest to critique Green Day’s American Idiot, and it’s gotten to be quite long, so I’m going to break it up into several posts. The first one focuses on The Book. The second post will focus on The Arrangement and The Cast; the third and last on The Choreography and The Direction with some concluding remarks.

The Arrangement: Tom Kitt’s score does justice to and expands on Green Day’s music through the music and vocal arrangements. Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt have great voices and are able to lay down some smooth emotive harmonies between them, but hearing American Idiot in song layers with choral intensity by a strong vocal cast is a treat. Comprised of the entirety of American Idiot, plus two b-side cuts from that album (“Favorite Son” and “Too Much Too Soon”), it’s combined with four songs from the band’s current record, 21st Century Breakdown (“21 Guns,” “Last Night on Earth,” “Before the Lobotomy,” and “Know Your Enemy”) and joined by a beautiful song never before recorded (though heard somewhat in the unreleased AI documentary Heart Like a Hand Grenade), written by Armstrong for his wife, Adrienne, when he was 19 (“When It’s Time”). It’s 90 minutes filled with a strong five-piece rock band joined by three strings of violin, viola, and cello.

American Idiot Song List

American Idiot Song List

Kitt masterfully takes the orchestration for a choral ride while keeping the structure of the original music intact. It’s loud and bombastic when needed, tempting the Green Day fan to bop their head but probably leaving traditional theater goers wondering if they are allowed to tap their feet. Having sat through another rock and roll musical a lot lately, Lizzie Borden (full disclosure: I was in the original production of this show which depicts America’s favorite 19th-century murderess, Lizzie Borden, and love the music, literally, to death), I find myself during that show one of the few people in the audience willing to move my head at all during the production. I feel like a freak sometimes because of it, but you know, you have to do what you have to do. I will admit that on the first night of seeing American Idiot, I fell into the “audience member who refuses to move” theater etiquette category.  I was in a hyper-critical mode because frankly, while I have no stake in the production of American Idiot, I want it to be as successful and as good as it can possibly be and not an embarrassment. I love this album too damned much. Since I’m not the greatest fan of traditional musical theater (and frankly, American Idiot borders more on the side of traditional musical theater than not), my hyper-critical critic’s cap was firmly screwed onto my head the first night. On the second night, I decided to ride the wave and was swamped by the musical tsunami. The music is the star of the show.

As I mentioned previously, the book is a bit rushed through due to the timing and intensity of the musical and visual onslaught, leaving the cast with little time to really portray the emotional quality of the louder and faster songs. One of my few critiques of the music is that the cast hasn’t completely allowed themselves to wrench the emotional velocity of the music out of Green Day’s hands and own it. Sure, the cast has a surface of emotion, but anyone can sing Green Day songs loud. My question to the cast is: can you feel them loud? Once they firmly and unequivocally do that, I can only believe that they will find the emotional heart-shaped hand grenades of the material.

Some of my favorite arrangements were “Holiday,” “Favorite Son,” “St. Jimmy,” “Give Me Novacaine,” “Before the Lobotomy”/”Extraordinary Girl,” “We’re Coming Home,” “Whatsername,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Letterbomb” and “21 Guns” (though the choreography for “Letterbomb” and “21 Guns” had some unfortunate moments visually for me), primarily due to the arrangements and emotional depth that the actors were able to find in the performance of them. (I’ll talk about this more under The Cast section.) “Give Me Novacaine,” started off by Michael Esper, has just the right touch of pathos and reflection to get the song’s emotional arch off to a good start. By the time Tunny finds himself in the war zone and under attack from a blaze of hard-hitting drums, guitars and the electronic boom of cannon and strobe lights, “Give Me Novacaine” becomes the most successful combination of music, staging, and acting with “Before the Lobotomy”/”Extraordinary Girl” coming a close second.

Kitt nicely overlays and intertwines some songs, such as “Know Your Enemy” with the refrain “nothing wrong with me, this is how I’m supposed to be…” from “Jesus of Suburbia,” and it works particularly well with “Before the Lobotomy” and “Extraordinary Girl,” from two different albums. While I’m not a huge fan of the staged flying that takes place during this song combination (it always reminds me too much of Peter Pan), the fly work was moving, particularly for me on the second night. I could almost feel the morphine dripping through Tunny’s veins as he and the Extraordinary Girl made their way through the upper echelons of the open theatrical space.

“Death of St. Jimmy,” “East 12th Street,” Nobody Likes You,” “Rock and Roll Girlfriend” and “We’re Coming Home” (songs that comprise “Homecoming” from the album) are arranged as one continuous song bringing the story to its whirlwind denouement, though “Nobody Likes You” is also appropriated for a portion “21 Guns.”

The vocals particularly soar when the parts are given over to the women: Mary Faber in “Dearly Beloved” and “Nobody Likes You” (parts of the “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Homecoming” movements), Rebecca Naomi Jones (“Letterbomb”), Christina Sajous (“Extraordinary Girl”) and Alysha Umphress, who plays Heather’s friend during “Too Much Too Soon.” Armstrong’s high voice translates well for women (Faber was just fantastic) and I loved the hearty primal scream that Jones let out during “Letterbomb.”

All in all, I thought that the music was fantastic. It’s not a Green Day concert and fans looking for that experience are seeing the wrong show. On the whole, the music was vibrant, exciting, and the band sounded great. While Billie Joe, Mike, and Tre might lurk onstage psychically for the Green Day fan, after a while the band and the cast come pretty close to making you forget that Green Day are not onstage. And that is rare feat, indeed.

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“You have to search the absolute demons of your soul to make a great record.” — Billie Joe Armstrong on making 21st Century Breakdown

The Cast: Rolling Stone previously ran a nice piece on each of the cast members of American Idiot, which you can view here. You can also view a .pdf of the American Idiot program here.

The cast, among them young veterans of Broadway and off-Broadway such as John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening), Tony Vincent (Rent), Mary Faber (Avenue Q), and Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange), is strong and talented. All have amazing voices and they obviously love the music, are incredibly enthusiastic, and are having, as the song goes, the time of their lives (shoot me for even going there). It’s a treat to hear them sing. The entire vocal cast is phenomenal. There’s not a bad voice in the house, and some rise to the challenge of bringing both the emotional quality of their parts together with the songs, particularly Tony Vincent (he’s scary dynamite as St. Jimmy), Michael Esper and Mary Faber, Joshua Henry as the Favorite Son (a cameo anyone would drool over to have), and Matt Caplan.

John Gallagher, Jr’s voice is strong; he sings and performs the songs well, but unfortunately, I could not believe him in the role of Johnny nor the essence of the relationships that he as Johnny, has with Will, Tunny, Whatsername or even St. Jimmy. He never seemed to completely personify the angst and rage — the absolute demons of his soul as Billie would say– that the character obviously possesses. He seemed overwhelmed and flat in the role to me, and not the vibrant, enigmatic character that is sketched out in American Idiot. As the whirlwind center of the impetus to get Will and Tunny to leave Jingletown, the one that gets Whatsername to shoot up despite her reluctance and the one who conjures up his deepest, darkest evil as St. Jimmy, he’s the tornado that sweeps everyone into the vortex with him. And when he realizes how destructive his demons are, how close on the edge of destruction he is, he’s got to claw himself up from the abyss in a real, heartfelt way that should have torn my hand grenade heart out and made me want to throw it far away from everyone to keep them safe.  The music did this for me on the second night and not his portrayal of Johnny. (I keep coming back to the “Heart Like a Hand Grenade” metaphor; I’ll talk about this more in the conclusion… if I ever get there…)

In the slight monologues that he’s given he often sounds canned, as if he’s screaming the letters home instead of expressing his inner life. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s how he’s been directed by Mayer, I suppose, but he unfortunately brings little variety or emotional depth to the inner monologue that he’s presenting or range to the character. Some may view this as my not being able to remove Billie Joe from the American Idiot equation or thinking too much of the intensity of the AI music videos created by director Sam Bayer, and this may be true to some extent. Ultimately, while I enjoyed his performance, per se, I was not convinced that his rage and love led him to his dark persona of St. Jimmy, which left a one-dimensional Johnny for St. Jimmy to play off of. Sadly, for me, he’s not the right actor to portray the part, but he is a good actor and I hope that he soon embraces the demons and develops a deeper portrayal of Johnny.

I was so torn about the above that I asked Dawn (another diehard Green Day fan and theater buff), who went out to Berkeley to see the show what she thought of Gallagher. Her response was similar to mine, but she explained it a lot better in the following :

I agree with everything you write. My problem with him as a character is “I don’t care if you don’t care” — which is ok as sentiment in the show but not ok if that’s the way the audience feels about the lead character. And I do think it’s largely the delivery of the few spoken “letters” — if he’s so disillusioned by his parents and everything in Jingletown then why the hell is he writing them? You don’t get that from the letters — even the one he sends to Will. It’s all random rage. And we get that. We lived through the Bush administration, too. And there’s nothing I would have liked to do than to tune in, turn on and drop out. Certainly the time to do that is in your late teens / early twenties. But Johnny needs to believe that he’s dropping out to something better and you just don’t ever believe that he remotely thinks that he’s doing that — whether he’s going to what is clearly NYC or returning home. The rising and destruction of expectations is what makes that character human, and I don’t think Gallagher delivers that nuance. So he remains very two dimensional, which is not ok if that character is the most fully developed character. All the other characters are foils. And if their character’s development directly reflects the main character development, then they become one dimensional (as is clearly evident for Will, Tunny, Heather, and Whatsername). Only St. Jimmy really escapes that trap because he IS Johnny’s Id or addition. To me, that was the most fully developed character and the dude’s not even real. Which brings Gallagher’s shortcomings even more to the fore.

I’ll have to expand more on what Dawn writes above in The Direction section because I think it weighs directly on what needs improvement in the show. But for now, the rest of the cast:

Tony Vincent, as Johnny’s doppelgänger, St. Jimmy, grabs the character by the throat and never lets go. This glammed-out hardcore has issues and he doesn’t give a shit about how much danger or turmoil he creates in the lives of those around him. It was a treat to hear Vincent sing “St. Jimmy” and “Know Your Enemy” as his voice is the strongest of the cast males and is as clear as a bell. As a huge fan of the song, “St. Jimmy,” Vincent had a big challenge in my eyes, as of all the songs, it’s difficult for me to view “St. Jimmy” outside of Armstrong’s live performances of the song as he chews up the stage and spits out the audience. If there was ever a fan moment of Billie Joe’s shadow onstage for me, it was during this song. Vincent made me (almost) forget Billie Joe and I commend his performance of it as well as relished the moments he had onstage.

Michael Esper as Will probably has the easiest storyline to portray of the three friends, as the reluctant, bitter and unready father and distant boyfriend. He also has the most emotive of songs, the first part of “Give Me Novacaine” and “Nobody Likes You” and both of his turns singing these songs got to me. I almost felt sorry for him during “Nobody Likes You,” even if the character is such a terrible and irredeemable, lout. Esper portrays a quiet and persuasive melancholy as Will and he and Mary Faber as Heather, who I thought had the most resonant female voice in the cast, were quite believable as the harried and young couple.

Matt Caplan gives a solid performance as well, especially since he doesn’t have that much time to establish why his character one minute is melancholy in the city and the next minute is joining the army. He and Christina Sajous have a nice chemistry during “Extraordinary Girl,” and Sajous, who graduated from my Alma mater, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (as did Theo Stockman from the chorus) uses her body and voice extremely well during this sequence and during the raucus bus ride to the Big City during “Holiday.”

Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername was powerful and worked well as Johnny’s love interest. I was a little confused script-wise how she changed from the sweet girl who Johnny spots in the window to the helion in “She’s a Rebel,” with a purple streak in her hair, but maybe I was just missing something. Her portrayal of the character was good though I wish she had more to play off opposite Gallagher. There was one moment in particular that I connected to in her portrayal of Whatsername and that’s when Johnny convinces her to shoot up for the first time, the look of terror and trust in her eyes was a nice touch. She was also fantastic at capturing much of the raw grittiness of “Letterbomb,” a perfect song to tell Johnny off after he pulls a knife on her. Unfortunately, I was distracted somewhat by the choreography of this song with its “Acid Queen” arm windmills that made me cringe. The Broadway aspects of the choreography didn’t sit well with me throughout the show, but I’ll have to explain what I mean in the next post.

On a last note, Dawn hit a vital point in regards to the characters: they are, with the exception of St. Jimmy, one-dimensional. But as with the choreography, I’ll save that for the next post… and hopefully I’ll get there…


Green Day in Singapore for the First Time – January 14, 2010

Since Green Day’s tour began this past June in earnest, I have read time and time again from Green Day fans in far-flung places begging the boys to come to town. The Middle East, Bulgaria, India, etc., etc. And now, the lucky winner of the moment is… Singapore! Hopefully this is only the beginning of visiting places that they’ve never been but where fans have always wanted them to go.

Green Day will perform in Singapore for the first time on January 14, 2010. Here’s the full press release for this…uh…historic event! Tickets go on sale October 15, 2009. Good luck to any lucky Singaporeans out there who get tickets. 12,000 of you will be very, very, happy that you did!

And Tre, no gum chewing while you’re there, OK?

Green Day’s much anticipated concert across the causeway next January is set to attract many local rock fans.

DESPITE not having a Kuala Lumpur tour stop, American punk legends Green Day will still leave many local rock fans scrambling for tickets for the band’s concert in Singapore in January.

The Berkeley, California-raised band will be plugging in a full concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Jan 14.

Organised by Lushington Entertainments, the concert is expected to be a sell out affair at the 12,000 capacity venue.

Led by the enigmatic Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day has been hammering out its latest album 21st Century Breakdown, across major stadiums worldwide and the Singapore date will be its first time in this region.

The Grammy-award winning powerpunk combo is completed by bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool, who have kept the frenzied music ticking like a timebomb through classic albums like Dookie, Insomniac, Nimrod and American Idiot.

On the current tour, Green Day has been unleashing classics like Longview, Welcome to Paradise, American Idiot, Brain Stew right to new favourites Know Your Enemy and 21 Guns.

Tickets will be available from all SISTIC outlets at S$128 (RM307.20, standing), S$88 (RM211.20), S$128 (RM307.20) and S$148 (RM355.20). SISTIC fees apply. Public sales date is Oct 15. Hotline 65 6348 5555. Browse sistic.com.sg.

Oh, and the concert will be organized by Lushington Entertainment, which, frankly, cracked me up… The Lushie Gods be praised!!

*News via Trina at the Green Day Community.


Two Nights with an American Idiot at the Berkeley Rep, Pt. I: The Book

Green Day's American Idiot at the Berkeley Repertory Theater

Green Day's American Idiot at the Berkeley Repertory Theater

I’ve been struggling with this post. My home computer also went bust. It’s not been the easiest to critique Green Day’s American Idiot, and it’s gotten to be quite long, so I’m going to break it up into several posts. This first one focuses on The Book (Spoilers Here Lurk). The second post will focus on The Arrangement and The Cast; The Choreography; and The Direction.

I traveled to the East Bay on September 25th and 26th to see two performances of Green Day’s American Idiot, the musical. Prior to heading out from New York City, a theater friend of mine told me point blank that since I loved the band and the album so much that I could not be an impartial critic of the musical that I was traveling to see. In a way, my friend presented me with a challenge but in reality, I had already asked myself: would my critical and cutting-edge eye of theater allow me to react with my head or my heart to seeing a somewhat traditional but critically-acclaimed theater director take what I considered to be a powerful album and turn it into a piece of cutting-edge, yet accessible, musical theater. The battle between the Fan and the Critic was on long before my friend challenged me.

Let me preface the following with this. I have two great loves: Green Day and performance. I have other interests as well, politics, history, traveling, sitting around and doing nothing, among them, but for the most part these days, Green Day and performance is it. My love of Green Day stems from what I perceive as an inner honesty flowing from their music, whether the music is stripped raw or layered under multiple levels of sonic resonance. My love of performance comes from a grounding in the experimental (“punk,” if you will) world… taking chances by making far out choices and presenting them onstage, television, and film. Sometimes far-reaching expressions don’t translate well for the typical audience, but elements of experimental-based performance, particularly in theater, can be used to further a story so that it doesn’t come off quite like ‘normal’ theater. When I see Green Day live or on video, their energy and honesty, their rawness and willingness to take chances, always comes through, and it’s not quite like ‘normal’ rock and roll.

American Idiot, the album, rips through me when I hear it sometimes, and brings up emotions and pain that are difficult to express from the beginning moment when that “American Idiot” yells in resistance to “Whatsername” who brings the quiet surrender of memories too painful to remember but too precious to forget, to its conclusion. What lies between those songs is a musical sense of danger, rage, loss and anguish that hasn’t quite yet been transferred to the stage in Green Day’s American Idiot at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. It’s close, but missing elements of choreography and emotional direction that don’t quite pull off the feat of the musical score or match the soaring and fantastic graphics, lights, and stage set.

With that preface out of the way, here goes:

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(Warning: Spoilers Here Lurk)

The Book : The only dialogue for the show is based on some of the liner notes of the American Idiot album as well as the album’s lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong and constructed into a storyline by director Michael Mayer with Armstrong. It’s a slim story told through the music and backdrop art with only a few spoken words: three friends, Johnny (John Gallagher, Jr.), Tunny (Matt Caplan) and Will (Michael Esper), beset by television, boredom and few opportunities at home (“American Idiot”) make big plans as they set off to see the world with a “fuck you” to Jingletown, U.S.A. (though I was never quite clear on whether they were escaping from or to Jingletown) and begin their journey to the ‘big city’ (L.A.? New York? San Francisco? Jingletown?) and even bigger dreams. At the last moment of departure while saying their goodbyes to friends, Will is confronted by his girlfriend, Heather (Mary Faber) with a positive pregnancy test and his plans for escape are transferred to the inertia of couch fatherhood (as told through the five movements of “Jesus of Suburbia,” including the title movement and “City of the Damned,” “I Don’t Care,” “Dearly Beloved,” and “Tales of Another Broken Home”).

Without Will, Tunny and Johnny (with his guitar) still head to the undefined and amorphous city (though the lightscape backdrop, reminiscent of the 21st Century Breakdown tour, looks a lot like New York City). Johnny delights in the city and finds the girl of his dreams, Whatsername, played by Rebecca Naomi Jones but soon Johnny and Tunny find that their dreams are no where near to coming true (“Holiday”/”Boulevard of Broken Dreams”). Depressed and trying to find themselves, both fall into the traps of the big city: glamor and drugs in the case of Johnny who joins the local club scene; the lure of something shiny and heroic, by Tunny, who is recruited by America’s “Favorite Son” (the shiny suited and fabulous Joshua Henry), and joins the Army (“Are We The Waiting”). Meanwhile, Johnny encounters the monkey on his back, “St. Jimmy” (Tony Vincent), Will is still sulking on the couch despite a new baby, Johnny and Whatsername make love for the first time and Tunny comes under fire on the field and is seriously injured (a stunning theatrical sequence told through my favorite AI song, “Give Me Novacaine”).

Whatsername and Johnny are soul mates, making love and partying it up while Johnny still encounters St. Jimmy. Johnny eventually persuades a reluctant Whatsername to shoot drugs with him (“She’s a Rebel”/”Last Night On Earth”). It’s never quite clear whether St. Jimmy is real or imaginary. What is clear is that St. Jimmy is Johnny’s downfall, and he’s going to have to make the choice to get the monkey off of his back or risk losing Whatsername, who may be wild but is not so much into the drugs that Johnny is doing.

Back in Jingletown, Will is still struggling with his adult responsibilities and Heather, encouraged by two friends, gets fed up and leaves him (“Too Much Too Soon”). Tunny, in a war zone hospital bed, meets his “Extraordinary Girl” (Christina Sajous), an exotic nurse, who, during the course of his injuries and morphined dreams, literally flies through the theatrical space with him, set to the strains of the Northern African and Arabic-influenced song between bridges of “Before the Lobotomy.”

Johnny tries for a time to stay clean and write songs, and sings of his feelings to Whatsername while she’s sleeping (“When It’s Time”), but St. Jimmy lurks in the background and the power of Johnny’s emotions toward Whatsername battle his desire to shoot up and St. Jimmy overcomes him. Whatsername awakens to Johnny in the middle of his drug stupor and startles him, prompting a violent reaction with a knife toward her (“Know Your Enemy”) and she leaves. When Whatsername returns, she finds a cruel goodbye letter tacked on the door by St. Jimmy with the knife that Johnny threatened her with the night before.

Everything comes to a head for both Johnny and Will. Whatsername sings her lament of what could have been while Heather flaunts the fact that her life has gotten better since she left Will (“21 Guns”/”Nobody Likes You”). Whatsername encounters Johnny on the street and tells him off while he’s continuing his drug-fueled lifestyle (“Letterbomb”) and he eventually comes to a turning point with no money, a drug habit, no girl, and no prospects (“Wake Me Up When September Ends”).

Johnny kicks his drug habit (all too easily) by metaphorically killing off St. Jimmy (“Death of St. Jimmy”/”Homecoming”). Johnny gets a dead-end job where life becomes pointless and clock-punching (“East 12th Street”/”Homecoming”). Will ends up alone on his couch, again (“Nobody Likes You”/”Homecoming”), when Heather shows up — now triumphantly a “Rock and Roll Girlfriend”/”Homecoming” with a kickass boyfriend. Johnny decides to move back home, where he meets up with Will and a returning Tunny, still partially recovering from his war injuries with his Extraordinary Girl. With the singing of “We’re Coming Home” (the last movement of “Homecoming”) they all make the decision to be home and make the best of it.

At the end, Johnny makes some peace about what he has found and lost, particularly of his time and love for “Whatsername.”

Spoilers Here End

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The Book is well constructed for a show pushed solely through the music and stage action. The basic premise only nominally follows the loose story of the album, which focuses for the most part on Jesus of Suburbia (Johnny), St. Jimmy, and Whatsername. In the musical, Armstrong and Mayer, split the angst of the young adult males into three separate characters (Johnny, Will, and Tunny) which allows the story to branch off to portray the general flavors of the different pressures of growing up and facing responsibility. It also allows for a bigger cast and chorus and to connect to our own personality types, either Will, who dismisses his responsibilities, Tunny, who embraces them, or Johnny, who for a time blows caution to the wind until he can’t do so anymore.

One would think that since the storyline is pushed so fast through the music and stage action, that it would be difficult to keep up with the storyline, particularly since the connecting dialogue (which could be at any time Johnny’s brief letters from home, diary entries or inner monologue) is few and far between and only minimally explains Johnny’s backstory. Each tidbit of dialogue offers a rushed start to the next song, and since the storyline is pushed so hard by the music, it sometimes overwhelms the actions and lyrics and offers little time for emotional nuance or respite for the cast and chorus in order to propel the emotional arch of the story. Words and images are flashed across the massive stage wall background, and while looking amazing, don’t drive the storyline, but enhance it. This is a show where you have to pay attention to a lot of things at once, projecting the idea of being overwhelmed by the mass media, as it’s a musical and visual jumble of subliminal messages and manic action. The few quiet moments within the script (primarily the first part of “Give Me Novacaine,” “When It’s Time,” “Last Night on Earth,” “We Are The Waiting,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” Esper’s turn at “Nobody Likes You,” and portions of “Before the Lobotomy”/”Extraordinary Girl”) are some of the few moments when the book shows emotional depth. The remainder of the book stays on one level…high speed…with few signs of emotional nuance. It’s a great ride, but leaves little time or reason to fully connect emotionally with the characters.

Overall, though, it’s a dynamic, if generic, coming of age story, with all the ups and downs that surround kids trying to make their way for the first time and mostly failing. Its purpose is to highlight the music, the real star of the show. (But you’ll have to see what I think of The Arrangement when I post it.)

Heart Like a Hand Grenade

Heart Like a Hand Grenade


Is this thing on?: Green Day Youtube Channel Returns

Warner Brothers and Youtube/Google got into a monetary pissing match back in January over the fee structure that Google would have to shell out in order to pay Warner Brothers and their artists for official band music videos. Youtube/Google wouldn’t back down and Warner walked away with all of their artist’s videos and channels, including Green Day.

The dispute was settled last week and Warner Brothers will begin the process of making available official videos once again. They have not done it yet, however. Some of the videos on the GD Channel still have a disclaimer that they are “No longer available due to a copyright claim by Warner Music,” so I have no idea when the Warner Music Group will actually get around to uploading or unblocking certain videos.

I also have no idea about the final agreement between Warner and Youtube regarding the fee structure agreed upon, I just know that soon official Green Day videos will be back on YouTube. (Here’s a link to various articles if you want to read more.) Meanwhile, in honor of the entire brouhaha, here’s a blast from the recent past, Green Day’s appearance on the Colbert Report and “Green Day Keyboard Cat.” Play Warner and Youtube off, Billie Joe!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat | Comedy C…“, posted with vodpod

*Via Welshy at the GDC


Prima Donna Rockin’ Europe

During Green Day’s North American tour, I was lucky to see all three of the opening bands: The Bravery, Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand. All of the bands were solid, but except for the shear antics of The Bravery, they never seemed to rock the stadium as hard as Prima Donna seems to be doing in Europe as the opening band for Green Day. Here’s a sample of Youtube videos and while the sound quality isn’t all that great on the first video, the energy is amazing! London is going to rock!

“Demoted” by Prima Donna, Paris, 10/4/09

The Lushie Nuns also captured Prima Donna in Paris at the Bercy, 10/4/09

Prima Donna in Lisbon, 9/28/09


Green Day Bercy Photos

Nothingwrongwithme.com’s News Feed (highly recommended; always lots of good stuff) posted a link to some fine photographs taken at Green Day’s concert at Bercy Stadium in Paris. Here’s a sample:

Tré Cool at Bercy

Tré Cool at Bercy

Mike Dirnt at Bercy

Mike Dirnt at Bercy

Billie Joe at Bercy

Billie Joe at Bercy

Oh, and by the way, it’s Adrienne Armstrong’s 40th birthday today. Happy Birthday!!


Tré Cool on Rick Dee’s Top 40 Countdown

Green Day from Rick Dees Top 40 Countdown

Green Day from Rick Dee's Top 40 Countdown

Green Day’s Twitter feed posted a link to Greenday.com and a recording of this week’s Rick Dee’s Top 40 Countdown, featuring Tré Cool with Dees. If you can make it through the actual music, listen to this week’s countdown here. I’m listening now and will re-post when Tré comes on and will let you know what you can skip.

Update: The interview takes place in Hour 1, Part 2. Tré talks from his hotel room in Paris, France while the band is on tour. Green Day’s “21 Guns” is at Number 36 this week in the Countdown.


Green Day in Barcelona by Toni Villen

Via the Green Day Fan Flickr Group and Tedifer at the GDC, comes a wonderful set of photographs from Green Day’s appearance in Barcelona on 10/1/09. A few nice shots of Mike Dirnt and one of Tré Cool, the photographs are mostly of Billie Joe Armstrong, but a few are of the band and the audience. And Billie is wearing a different shirt (it was white in Madrid). These are the things that count…

Check out Toni Villen’s other band photographs here.

Billie Joe Armstrong in Madrid by Tony Villen

Billie Joe Armstrong in Barcelona by Tony Villen