I first saw Green Day perform last year in Central Park for the morning television show, Good Morning, America. Yeah, I was a little late in seeing them for the first time, to say the least, but actually seeing them the first time in such a strange setting was… priceless. And yes, I know that they’ve been in stranger places than the set of a morning talk show. But this one was at the least, weird. A few photos that I took of the show can be found here.
Needless to say, I didn’t know what the next year would bring. I traveled to London to see them in October, Los Angeles in November, Pinhead Gunpowder in February and spent March and April with their new musical on Broadway. And then there were the Foxboro Hot Tubs. I am a lucky girl. The post below is from an old blog, one that I kept during the early part of this century. It’s predominantly political in nature, and then, I just got tired of politics and mayhem. All I wanted to do was dance and heal the world with party mayhem. Anyway, I don’t write on that blog anymore, but this is one of the last posts that I wrote, on my way to a 21st Century Breakdown.
Writing this intro, I just had a thought that I couldn’t get rid of: I would love to see Green Day play on the Great Lawn or somewhere, in Central Park, Coney Island, or Jones Beach. Either would be fabulous, but Central Park, under the stars of Manhattan and the punks of its streets… ha, it would be a dream show. Anyway, this is from May 22, 2009.
Green Day, Central Park Summer Stage, ABC Good Morning America, May 22, 2009
Gallery Players, The Who's "Tommy"
I woke up at a God-awful hour this morning after trotting in late last night. I had seen a production of The Who’s Tommy, and afterward consumed a couple of Czech beers at the Czech biergarden on 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn. Needless to say, I got home ’round ’bout midnight and to make sure I got to Central Park at or before the alloted time of 6:00AM, I rolled out of bed at 4:15 or 4:20 or 4:25 or 4:30 or 4:35 AM or some time or the other.
But, I did get up!
I was still thinking about the Tommy production at the Gallery Players in Brooklyn (or at least the songs were still rolling around in my head) from the night before when I finally pulled on some clean undies but the same clothes from the night before (ok, I put on a clean shirt) and stumbled out of the door into the dark.
I argued with myself about catching the 2/3 or the Q/N and since the N goes the closest to the Summer Stage site, I decided to start with the Q and move on to the N at 14th. But the stupid thing was that the Q came on a dime and I got in and instead of going all the way to 57th and 7th, the closest stop that the Q goes to CPE (which is a bit aways from the stage entrance at 69th and 5th), I actually got off the swift arriving Q at 14th and waited for a considerable length of time for the N. Just call me an idiot.
Long and boring story cut short, I got to the line in Central Park, and had a pretty good spot in it, but if I had stayed on the Q to 7th Avenue… well, it ain’t THAT far away, and I would have had a better spot and initially would have been closer to the stage. Oh. Well.
We finally started moving around 6:15AM and eventually got to Summer Stage about 7:00AM. Green Day did a soundcheck (in front of the entire audience), playing bits and pieces of songs for levels. Billie Joe mentioned that it was the craziest soundcheck EVAH (I bet he says that to all the soundcheck.. uh.. live audiences), and you know what? He was right.
“American Idiot,” Central Park Summer Stage, May 22, 2009
After the soundcheck, the band went off stage for a bit and we were subjected to the backstage workings of a teevee show: the stage manager who tells an audience of thousands what to do for the next 2 hours; the stage hands and tuners who know that they are so cool to be where they are and you’re not so cool where you are; the comedian who warms the audience in advance of the show and who you eventually want to punch; the endless standing around, waiting for the seconds and minutes to tick off to the next shot.
At some point, we were subjected to actually listening to the show playback being pumped through the speakers during segments. Sam Champion, the Maestro of weather prediction, blond hair, and hospitality, went into a weather spot. The PA was turned off which sent the young punks into a frenzied chorus of “Fuck the weather.” The stage manager had to come on and remind the crowd that even thought this event was happening in New York, the live feed was going out to Minnesota and that they might actually care about the weather.
“Fuck the Weather” – Green Day on Good Morning, America, May 22, 2009
Eventually the band came back onstage around 8:30 AM and the spectacle of Green Day meets Good Morning, America was in full force. The dichotomy of a mature (mostly) post/present punk-pop band against the backdrop of ABC’s ‘Good Morning American Idiot’ (the song and show redubbed as such by Billie Joe during Green Day’s introduction) made for a super-crazed mindmeld at 8:30 in the way-too-early-to-be-in-Central-Park morning.
Oh, but did they rock.
I know that this was an abbreviated set from a band under pressure to work the audience and try not to laugh too much at the setting. Tre Cool was noticeably agitated about the setting (or I should probably say naturally agitated in general) but I’ve never felt so lovingly cared for by a band before. With all those crazy bodies flying, rock and punk shows can get a little scary. Especially if you bogart your way toward the mosh pit after the first song commences because you MUST be closer to where the dancing fools are… but I was extremely polite about it and said excuse me and thank you as I barreled through the dense audience and finally broke into the magic of that spot in a punk show that lets you get loose without getting smashed in the face a mere two to three feet to the left. Man, sometimes I wish I were a guy and I would really get in there. Some women do… but very few and far between. I get near it, but alas, my brain may feel young, but my body insists otherwise.
The real show list was (if I remember correctly) was “Know Your Enemy,” “American Idiot,” “21st Century Breakdown,” “East Jesus Nowhere,” “She,” “Longview” (a snippet of it at least for a breakaway shot; I understand that the censors had trouble censoring the song during the live play out to Minnesota; please excuse the shits and fucks, our bad), and an unbroadcast rendition of “Jesus of Suburbia.”
(ABC and Warner have taken down the majority of songs played at this show from YouTube. Here is an article review about the event that has many of the official links from ABC.)
Special guest stars included a little girl who danced with Billie Joe during “East Jesus Nowhere” and a girl from the audience who helped with ‘Dearly Beloved’ from “Jesus of Suburbia” and was in ecstasy over her good fortune.
It's Raining the Tears of Queens - Mary Stuart - Photo by the NYT
Sweeney Todd in a Catholic school auditorium under the Verranzano.
A note about the last week: I’ve had a smashing week of entertainment. It started last Friday with a crazed community theater production of Sweeney Todd in the far nether regional hinterlands of Brooklyn, performed in a Roman Catholic school auditorium. The production values were horrible, but the singing was tolerable and at times enjoyable, though there was a noted lack of…hmm… how shall I put this… actors. My friend, Beth Elaine Smith played the lead as Mrs. Lovett, and she was great, as usual, but that’s why they cast her as Mrs. Lovett because she can sing AND act! My week continued on Wednesday with a stop at the Broadhurst Theater in NYC for a performance of Mary Stuart, written by the Father of German theater, the playwright Friedrich Schiller, complete with a full onstage rainstorm and a pair of marvelous actresses in the roles of Queen Elizabeth I and her doomed sister, Mary, Queen of Scots. My surreal and groovy stop with the deeply trouble pinball wiz, Tommy at the Gallery Players, threw me back into the world of Brooklyn musical theater with MUCH better production values, solid acting, and yet another church basement, but I didn’t catch the denomination on the way in… it might also be a former school, alá P.S. 122, I can’t remember. And then my last stop with Green Day, today, Friday.
What a great week its been, despite the biopsy (more about that when I find out what’s going on), and my tooth filling coming out over the weekend. Yay for the ups and downs of life.
Both issues worked out fine – GDM
All of my theater days are bit numbered for a while, though I have bought some theater and band tickets for shows later in the summer. I live with two roommates and they are both moving out. Our lease is up at the end of July. I have to hoard resources a bit from here on out until this yet-another-apartment move takes place. I really don’t look forward to it.
Fortunately, this Happy Woman saw Green Day today and they made her bop her head, which was sorely needed. Just in time to pack in some energy for the next steps.
And that was the first time. It has turned out to be a great year so far. Thanks, dudes! Can’t wait for the next round in August and September!