Category Archives: Tré Cool

“I Was There” – 1991 and 2010

“I Was There” – Green Day in Costa Rica, 2010 – Part of me wants a video of this on the upcoming Live DVD but part of me wants to keep it locked away in raw memory, too.

This past October, at Green Day’s show in Costa Rica that ended their 21st Century Breakdown tour, the band performed a slew of “Old School” songs, songs primarily from the pre-American Idiot and Warning eras of Green Day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a Green Day fan beg for songs from the old days, usually from those albums that came out from 1990/91-1998: 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, Kerplunk, Dookie, Insomniac and Nimrod. In fact, it’s annoying the persistence of it sometimes, but I understand. A lot of fans love the “old” Green Day and many fans missed live performances since their introduction to the band is from the American Idiot era. These fans can kick themselves (like me) for not following the band from their younger days either because they weren’t into them back then (like me) or not born yet (unlike me).

I bought all of Green Day’s albums over the last sixteen months except for American Idiot (I’ve had that one since 2006), but despite this fact, there are numerous songs from the old school days that I yearned to hear over the course of the tour and several from the 21st Century Breakdown (see what here) album itself that the band didn’t play on the tour. Since I had the good fortune to attend a lot of shows over the tour, I got to hear more than a few new and old songs that were on my mental list, but it’s nothing like actually being there back in the day.

In Costa Rica, the “old school” portion of the night included songs such as “Brat” (Insomniac),Road to Acceptance” (1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours),”Christie Road” (Kerplunk), and Warning’s Waiting,” as well as a song that Green Day may not have played live — except for sound checks — since 1991. Or, at least that’s how long the gap exists between 1991 and 2010 when it comes to live performances of “I Was There” from 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours on Youtube. From 1989-1991, there are five live performances of “I Was There” uploaded that I found. Two of them are with original Sweet Children/Green Day drummer, Al Sobrante (John Kiffmeyer) in Davis, CA in 1989 and at International Foods Day at Pinole High School on May 10, 1990 (there are two versions of the Pinole, H.S. show on YouTube). The other three clips finds Tre Cool drumming the song in Little Rock, AK and at the Starr Club in Tampa, Fl., both in August of 1991 (see below for the Starr Club), and then again in December of 1991 at the Den in Wigan, England, here and here.

The song doesn’t appear again as sung by Green Day themselves (covers of the song are uploaded) until yesterday when Green Day LIVE on Facebook posted a video link of the song from the Costa Rica show from Oct. 29, 2010. Fans of “I Was There,” including me, have been waiting for this to pop up, and just when all hope seemed lost, some nice person uploads a creaky cell phone-recorded version of the song from Costa Rica for us fans who were not lucky enough to have been there.

The video is raw and unprofessional, but personally, I don’t mind that so much. It reminds me of the old school days that way, where the pre-digital, celluloid memories of “I Was There” are clunky with a slight touch of melody, like the unpolished and fast sound that comes out of Green Day’s first EP, 39/Smooth. The videos, with not-so-great sound, syncing issues and chaotic filming, capture not only the rawness of Green Day’s musical youth and the sheer bravado of their performances, but also the fleeting quality of memory itself. Memories are never played in perfect HD in your mind, memories are never clear and crisp, and you never know when a body will come sailing at you in real life, too. Ok, maybe not that last one, but memory is fleeting and rarely accurate as time goes on and we move further away from the the original good moments, the pictures, the places, that we want to make last, despite any troubles we might have in our life… “But I don’t let it get me down, Or cause me too much sorrow, There’s no doubt about who I am, I always have tomorrow … I looked into the past, and I want to make it last, I was there, I was there…”

“I always have tomorrow” isn’t necessarily true, but at least it’s a good rallying cry in melancholy times for anyone, and heck, “I was there,” dammit, having a great time and stamping existence with our presence and always moving forward to the next thing in life. I kinda love this song when I’m feeling full of regret about the past or defiant in creating the kind of future I’d like to have for myself and others.

“I Was There” was written by John Kiffmeyer, the only song on 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours penned by him. All other songs on the album were written and composed by Billie Joe Armstrong. Billie Joe jumbles the lyrics up a bit in the 2010 version in Costa Rica, but for a song that they haven’t played in front of an audience since 1991, it’s as fun and vibrant as when they were kids in sweaty basement venues playing in front of a hundred people, only 1000 times bigger, playing in a stadium of 20,000 people.

I’m glad that Kiffmeyer wrote this song for the band, but I have to say, I’m exceptionally happy that Tre Cool ultimately became the drummer of Green Day. My favorite of these versions besides the Starr Club, below, is the up-close version of “I Was There” from The Den in Wigan, where Mike is running around changing basses, Billie Joe is avoiding bodies on the stage, and Tre starts drumming while waiting for his new and life-long bandmates to kick in. Tre takes it all in stride with his wicked smile, egging on the audience with his licks to keep them moving as fast as possible. Must have been good times. I wish that I had been there.

“I Was There” – Green Day in Tampa, 1991 – Last Youtube videos of this song are from 1991 with new drummer, Tre Cool

“I Was There”
Looking back upon my life
And the places that I’ve been
Pictures, faces, girls I’ve loved
I try to remember when
Faded memories on the wall
Some names I have forgotten
But each one is a memory I
Look back on so often.

I look into the past
I want to make it last
I was there

I look into the past
I want to make it last
I was there

Looking back what I have done
There’s lots more life to live
At times I feel overwhelmed
I question what I can give
But I don’t let it get me down
Or cause me too much sorrow
There’s no doubt about who I am
I always have tomorrow

I look into the past
I want to make it last
I was there

I look into the past
I want to make it last
I was there

Looking back upon my life
Faded memories on the wall
Looking now at who I am
I don’t let it get me down.

Looking back upon my life
And the places that I’ve been
Pictures, faces, girls I’ve loved
I try to remember when
But I don’t let it get me down
Or cause me too much sorrow
There’s no doubt about who I am
I always have tomorrow

I look into the past
I want to make it last
I was there

I look into the past
I want to make it last
I was there

Composed by John Kiffmeyer, 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

Sacre Bleu! Green Day in Montreal, 8/21/2010

It’s been over a week since I went to Montreal to see Green Day. This post is a little overdue, but I was hoping that the xGeneralxS would post a few more pictures that she took of the show, but she’s been busy with life and seeing Green Day in Colorado on 8/28. I have two more shows to go, in Chula Vista and San Francisco, and it’s hitting me a little hard that the tour will soon be over. After those two shows, the boys have a month off and then hit South America finally, and then… it’s all over. This blog, except for occasional updates, will be over and then what do I do, ha! It’s been an amazing tour. I really hope the fangirl fever that I’ve attempted to keep under some control this past year, despite blogging about the tour, won’t come to a head and have me bawling like a freaking baby at Shoreline, but we’ll see. Thank you, Green Day! Thank you!

BJA Montreal - Green Day, August 21, 2010 - Photo by xGeneralxS

I had contemplated heading up to Montreal to see Green Day since the second and final leg of shows were announced earlier this year. I love Montreal. It’s a nice city, with beautiful vistas and lovely buildings. I know a few folks from Montreal, both English and French, and love them dearly. Sometimes the French can get a little overbearing, but on the whole, a chance to see the band again in a foreign country was way too tasty to let pass by.

Tired, Happy, Wet - Nicole W-M and GDM in Montreal

I had no idea, though, how I would get up there. I didn’t want to go by myself, even though I knew some Canadian fans who were going. The bus was 10 hours and $139. The train, 12 hours and a bit more. Flying, one hour and $327. Uh, choices, choices, choices. My friend who lives there offered me a place to stay, and I hadn’t seen her and her family, including her son, now seven, in a few years. It would be a perfect time to get away, see the band, the city, and my friends. It would never have happened if Nicole W-M had not said yes when I put the idea of going up to Canada on the evil Facebook after the Holmdel show. We ended up getting into Nicole’s hybrid car, which got us to Montreal on one tank of gas for $35. What a deal!

Green Day Flags in Montreal - Photo by GDM

The show was scheduled for Saturday, August 21st. Nicole and I left at 4:30 AM on Saturday, and got to Montreal at noon. It was the first time that Nicole had been to Canada, and I was happy when we parked, got into line and Nicole was able to walk around the beautiful area of Old Montreal. Of course, it was raining — Montreal had been sunny and bright the day before and when we got there, boom! — rain, rain rain. The show would go on rain or shine, and it did. It was wet and wonderful.

Canadian Idiot Flag - Photo by Silvi Kingsland

We waited in line and I finally met up with a photographer whose photos I use a lot, xGeneralxS and her sister. I was happy that they came up from New Jersey to make the show. Naomi, who I had last seen at Madison Square Garden back in July 2009, was there, as well as her fellow Canadians Silvi and Jaymee!, and I saw a couple of the Aussies, Liz and Aska.

The venue was open air and unlike the previous amphitheater shows that I made it to (Camden, Hartford, Holmdel), the stage was high and the band seemed far away again. I was a little worried about the entire space being General Admission. I had heard that one of the roughest shows so far of the tour had happened at Green Day’s gig at the Parc des Princes in Paris, and if that was any indication, the French-Canadian fans would be a crowd of wild-children. Well, they were, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Jacques Cartier Pier - Green Day, Old Montreal, August 21, 2010 - Photo by GDM

The site itself was magnificent! If you’re never been to Montreal, particular Old Montreal, it has an Old World style with winding, small streets, and ornate stone buildings. Many of the streets along the waterfront are closed to traffic and you can just walk around and stare at people and things, and pretend like you’re walking around old Europe instead of Old Canada. Old Quebec City is even more beautiful, if that’s possible, and I highly recommend going to these two great Canadian cities… though I’m not sure about attending a rock or punk show there.

The show itself took place on a pier that juts out from Old Montreal, and when we got to the site, there were already about 300 fans standing in line. We met a few people from Canada, including one funny fellow and his girlfriend who had seen Green Day play at the Belle Center in Montreal last year and was raring to see them for a second time. We finally were let into the site around 6:00 or so, and made a run for the front barrier. Nicole W-M went to her favorite spot, to the right of Mike’s stage side, at the front, the xGeneralxS was near her, and I went to the heart of the pit, in front of Mike, and where I could see Tre. I love watching him drum, and he makes some pretty funny faces during a show. There’s also opportunities to just play with him, and it’s always fun to play with a crazy drummer.

The Stage - Photo by GDM

AFI went on first again, and I have to say, while I’m not a big fan of their music, I think of the five opening bands that I have seen for Green Day this tour (The Bravery, Franz Ferdinand, the Kaiser Chiefs, and Prima Donna), AFI and Prima Donna were the two bands that really got the crowd pumped up prior to Green Day coming on. I even found myself humming AFI songs afterward, once I got back home. They did about a 35-minute show and several members of their fan club were in attendance, and they certainly catered to them. At one point, Davey Havok came down to where they were standing at the front and rocked out with them for a bit. They left the stage, and the rain, which had held off for about two hours or so, started coming down again as Green Day went onstage. I was lucky for the most part because I was so close to the front of the stage that the top awning shielded most of the front area from the rain.

Naomi (BJ's Entourage) and Silvi - Photo by GDM

The all General Admission crowd rushed forward when Green Day came on and pushed us all into the barrier. It was fun for the first few songs, and then things just got crazy. I love crowdsurfers and being in the pit, but there are happy pits (Pinhead Gunpowder at 924 Gilman back in February was one of the roughest pits I’ve been in, but everyone took care of each other out of sheer joy) and then there are pits with crazy fans who don’t give a fuck whether they kill you or not. Both are fun, but seriously, if you’re trying to kill me, I’m going to try and kill you, too. That’s just the way it is. Fans elbowed other people and got into stupid fights, and in general were assholes. Good times!

Americans with the Funny Canadian Dude and His Girlfriend - Photo by GDM

The highlights of the show for me (Billie Joe tweeted that his highlight was “Armatage Shanks”) was hearing “Platypus (I Hate You),” “F.O.D.” again, and my favorite Green Day song, “Welcome to Paradise,” which was dropped from earlier amphitheater tour shows that I’ve seen, but was on last year’s tour setlist. For me, these three songs together summed up how I felt about the Montreal crowd, though I have some special love for the wonderful and enthusiastic fans from Montreal at the Green Day Community and I will always love the city. I had to leave the pit center during the Shout Medley. I had had enough after I threw out a expletive at a French-Canadian fan who had said to no one in general, “If you all can’t handle the pit, you all should just go to a Justin Bieber show,” and I realized that my F.O.D. level was way too high. Despite wishing earlier that the band wouldn’t hose the crowd because of the rain, I was hella happy when they did, but at that point, my anger and the fact that I was dehydrated, was too much. I got out and was completely rained on. I paid $4 for a bottle of water (egads), and went to Jason White’s side of the stage, which is always a bit saner. I spent the first encore there, and was very happy for the remainder of the show.

“Armatage Shanks” and “Paper Lanterns” – Billie Joe’s Highlight – Green Day, Montreal, 8/21/2010 – xGeneralxS

“Welcome to Paradise” – Green Day, Montreal, 8/21/2010 – zanth214

We all really have to thank the Lushie Gods for the Crazy Band of Australians who have managed to follow Green Day from Australia to Europe, and now, to our shores here in North America. One of the them, Aska, requested “Take Back.” Billie Joe looked at her like she was a bit crazy, but then said, all right, what about “Platypus (I Hate You),” a song that they haven’t performed on this tour yet. He turned around to Tre and made a bunch of hand movements while Tre was like, “What, are you nuts? OK, yes, you are,” and then boom, into “Platypus (I Hate You), they went. I posted two videos of “Platypus (I Hate You)” in a previous post [LINK HERE], but here’s an additional awesome clip that Green Day LIVE on Tour on (Evil) Facebook posted of Tre banging the drums during this song like the King of Drumming he is, and what a face he makes afterward:

Tre Drums Out “Platypus (I Hate You) – Green Day, Montreal, August 2010 – Brian

Speaking of Tre’s drumming, during the soundcheck earlier in the day, the crowd could hear Green Day rehearse, and we heard “Church on Sunday,” which made us all really happy. [LINK HERE] A video popped up that someone took that showed the big screen, which was focused mostly on Tre during the band’s rehearsal of “21st Century Breakdown.” You can clearly see him drumming the song, and since I’m a bit fascinated with his drumming and love the jig of 21CB, I am in love with this video of a laid back Tre practicing for the show.

“21st Century Breakdown” Soundcheck, Tre Dumming – Green Day in Montreal, 8/21/2010 – GSPInsights

With that, Nicole and I waited for a bit after the show for the crowd to thin down, and we said our goodbyes to people we had met up with throughout the day. We were pretty high-strung and happy from the drive, the rain, and the show, and we finally got back to the car, went to my friends’ house, and crashed, hard. The next day, we had a wonderful Canadian breakfast with them, got in the car ($35 worth of gas from Montreal to New Jersey), listened to Green Day again all the way back to New York, where she dropped me off and I went home. We drove through some of the worst weather ever, but in the end, despite the crazed fans and that same rain, to see Green Day again, it was all worth it.

I’m off to the shows in Chula Vista and Homecoming in San Francisco, the last show of the tour until the band heads to South America to end the 21st Century Breakdown altogether. I’m really hoping that I hold it together in San Francisco. I’m a bit afraid that I am going to bawl like a baby at Homecoming and embarrass myself to no end. After 18 months of blogging about the tour, it’s going to be a bit overwhelming to me that it will end. See anyone who’s going to the last two shows there. It’s going to be a blast!

Montreal Setlist after the jump…

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Aussie Fans Invade Europe for Green Day Tour – Pictures by Kerry Harris

The Aussies are Here! Kerry Harris and Mates Travel to Europe for a Bazillion Green Day Shows - June 2010

A marvelous gang of dedicated Australian fans who attended almost all of the shows that Green Day performed in Australia last year, decided to take a huge road trip for the second leg of the European tour. I don’t know how many shows that they went to in the United Kingdom and Europe, but I do know that they had fun!

The gang was led by Kerry Harris who also created some excellent paintings of the band that I highlighted here last year. Kerry is also a photographer and took some beautiful and fun shots during the tour, including probably one of the prettiest shots of Billie Joe that I have ever seen. I asked her if I could post some of her photos. They show a lot of the onstage antics of the band and captures one fan’s viewpoint of many different shows.

Prettiest of Them All - Billie Joe Armstrong - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Here’s a selection of photographs taken by Kerry:

Joan Jett - Photo by Kerry Harris

Dirty Pink Bunny - Photo by Kerry Harris

Jason White is a Pirate - Photo by Kerry Harris

Kiss Me Quick! - Tre and Billie Joe - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

We're Looking at You, Mike! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Mike is Cool - Europe June 2010- Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre in Shorts, It's Hot in Europe! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre Sees YOU! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Billie Joe's Got a Gun! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Billie Joe's Got a Hat! - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Billie Joe Armstrong - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre in Mid-Air - Europe June 2010 - Photo by Kerry Harris

Tre Cool on the Radio

Green Day Tonys Splash

Yesterday, June 7, 2010, Tre Cool did a series of on-air interviews with various U.S. radio stations. I listened to two of them yesterday, one from KROQ Radio (h/t DJRossstar) and one from a podcast called Cara’s Basement (h/t Robin) from Chicago’s WTMX. Take a listen as Tre, calling from Helsinki, talks with Cara about Rock Band, Lollapalooza and verbally confirms that the band will be flying into New York for the Tonys. This last part makes me happy because even though there’s a big splash page at saying that the band was “set to take the stage” for the Tonys, there was still confusion among fans as to whether or not Green Day would fly into New York for the June 13 Awards, as they have a gig in Austria the night before on June 12. However, I noted a while ago somewhere around here that they have a break in their European tour schedule until June 16 when they hit Manchester, so, God willing and the crik don’t rise, the boys will be with their American Idiot cast kids no matter what happens at the Awards. I couldn’t even imagine Green Day not being with them for it.

You can click on the image below to hear the interview:

Tre Cool Interview in Cara

Update: The Green Day Authority posted two more interviews from yesterday:

93.3 in Denver [AUDIO]

This interview link is no longer available: 93.3 WMMR Philadelphia [AUDIO] GDA notes that the interview comes at 1:50

American Idiot On Broadway Preview and Opening Weeks

Green Day Over Broadway. Photo by Gavin Boyd, Rolling Stone

Four dates in the life of the Broadway baby called American Idiot stand out for me since seeing the show in Berkeley back in September: The invited Press and Fan Final Soundcheck on 3/23/10, the first preview on 3/24/10, opening night on 4/20/10 and the MTV Special Viewing that occurred on 4/22/10. Since I live in NYC, I had the great fortune of attending all of these special events. This post is a roundup of some of the goings on with the show this past month here in NYC.

Press and Fan Final Soundcheck 3/23/10

An unprecedented invited Press and Fan Final Soundcheck was announced through the Idiot Club and the American Idiot on Broadway Facebook page a few days before the show was to begin its first Broadway preview. The soundcheck press conference occurred in the middle of the day and I made arrangements with work to take a long lunch to go. I attempted to get a blogger press pass and wrote a professional letter to the show’s press agent, and included the name of one of my friends, a top NYC theater critic, who recommended that I write to them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t afforded the courtesy of a reply. At least when I asked at Berkeley, they very kindly sent me an email saying no. I don’t want to sound bitter, but I know that both the production company and press agent for AI have come to this blog. Some sort of reply would have been nice, but I’m not legitimate enough for the courtesy of a reply in New York City. I even mentioned to them how I appeared in the Daily News regarding the show. In fact, several Facebook friends asked me “what I did for the show” and one of them, a television producer who I’ve known since acting school also asked me. And yet… well… whatever. No reply at all. At least a no is a response.

Putting aside all of that, the final soundcheck was a magnificent day. We waited outside for the Idiot interns to check us in, and they recognized me from the American Idiot On Broadway Facebook page and said hello. After about an hour, I went across the street from the theater to wait for the band to show up to take pictures, and shortly thereafter, Green Day was driven up to the theater and deposited at the front doors. I managed to snap two shots of Billie Joe, Mike, and Tre coming into the theater. It was nice to see Mike for the first time with his blond hair, and Tre was carrying what seemed to be a drumstick case.

American Idiot Soundcheck Billie Joe and Tre, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

American Idiot Soundcheck Mike, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

After they moved into the theater, I went back across the street to wait with everyone, and eventually, the first fifty fans in line, who had been told that they were going to sit in the Orchestra seats, were let in first. About 10 minutes later, the remainder of the line was shepherded into the theater up to the Mezzanine. The folks who had been told that they were going to sit in the Orchestra were actually sitting in the Mezzanine with the rest of us. Official word was that there were too many people in the press corps in the Orchestra, and needless to say, the first fifty fans in line were disappointed. I have a feeling that they were afraid that people would try to rush the stage and attempt to get autographs from the band or cast, a very legitimate possibility.

We bitched and moaned with them for a few minutes, and then the lights started to go down and the sounds of the opening strains of the musical — news and television clips from the Iraq War era — began to play. The huge red velvet curtain slowly went up and the cast stood onstage with their backs toward the audience (a definite and effective change from the Berkeley show), all looking toward the 20 or so television screens embedded in Christine Jones’s excellent set design for the show. The guitar riff to “American Idiot” began, and the cast was off, singing the title song to the show.

American Idiot Sound - Tre Climbs in Bed, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

AI Cast Headbanging During "American Idiot" Soundcheck. Photo by Green Day Mind.

After the song, director Michael Mayer, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt walked onto the stage to loud claps from the crowd in the peanut gallery. Mayer spoke for a bit about the show and his inspiration and collaboration with Billie Joe on the book. Billie Joe spoke, then Mike, and Tre said something for a second. While Tre was talking, Mike and Billie climbed into the onstage bed prop, the cast piled on top of them, photo ops were had by all, and the event was over. I went back to work while the rest of the Green Day Community gang hung out and went to lunch. Green Day and the cast headed over to Sardi’s, a famous restaurant down the street from the St. James known for its Broadway clientele for more interviews with the “legitimate” press.

All in all (and despite my bitching), the press conference was a great way to start off the feverish run of American Idiot in New York City. The celebration lasted for a solid month and ended with a spectacular bang with good reviews, solid changes to the show, a special MTV showing with the band, hanging with old and new friends, and one of the best After Parties Ever — two appearances by the fabled Foxboro Hot Tubs (more on the latter in a later post).

APRED Clip of American Idiot Cast Singing “American Idiot” and Press Conference, 3/23/10

More of my pictures from the Press and Fan Soundcheck may be found here.

First Preview, 3/24/10

I didn’t intend to go to the first preview and hadn’t bought a ticket for that night. My first “official night” of seeing American Idiot was actually scheduled for 4/7/10,  but a bunch of Idiots had traveled from around the country to come into New York to see the show, and one of them, sadly, couldn’t bring her friend as planned because of her friend’s cancer treatment. She had an extra ticket so I offered to give her some cash for it (which I still have to do), with the proceeds going toward her friend’s cancer fund. The show at this point was in the working stages from the move from Berkeley to Broadway, and they were working kinks out and adjusting to the larger set and staging of the show. I was quite impressed with the changes in the choreography, the storyline, and the passion that I felt from the cast. Over the course of time from the first Preview to Opening Night, I saw the show three times (3/24; 3/27 and 4/7) and noticed that there were several changes and reworkings during that time until Opening Night and the MTV Special Viewing. (All together, between Berkeley and Broadway, I’ve seen the show seven times.)

Green Day, of course, was there that night, and it was a three-ring circus! Their wives and kids were in the audience and just before the curtain went up, Billie Joe’s bodyguard (a nice guy who I’ve spoken with a few times who does an excellent job of crowd control and protecting Billie Joe) brought him down to sit next to Adrienne. They were so damned cute together, too. I didn’t stare too much, being the nonchalant New Yorker that I am, ahem, but of course, a stare or two couldn’t be helped during the show. There was a palpable excitement and nervousness in the air as the audience, clearly in the show’s corner for an exciting time, was bouncing up and down in their seats in anticipation.

After the show, the circus continued outside. I’m not a fan of getting autographs or photos with famous people, so I just hung around outside until I could find the contingent of folks I had come to the show with. The sidewalk outside of the St. James was packed with people, and many folks had to stand in the street just to let people pass through. Of course, those of us standing in the street kept getting yelled at by cops and security to get out of the street. I would move along, put a foot on the sidewalk, and then head back into the street while people crowded the sidewalk.

Here’s a video link to the scene outside of the theater on the first preview.

Billie and Adrienne and Rebecca Running to Sardi's after the first preview. Photo by Green Day Mind.

American Idiot First Preview After Show Madhouse, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

Eventually, the cast started to roll out of the theater on their way back to Sardi’s for the preview after party. They were asked for autographs (you can see Stark Sands, “Tunny” being mobbed in the photograph below), and after it calmed down a bit more, probably 30 minutes or so after the show when some of the crowd had dispersed (but not by much), Tre kind of quietly walked out a side door to the restaurant first, followed later by Billie Joe, Adrienne, Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername), Mike and Mike’s wife, Brittany. My friends and I went down to Sardis and stood outside for a bit, watching Tre stand in the window of Sardi’s looking down at the crowd. Girls were screaming up a storm, and I’ve got a bad reputation for telling them to shut up (sorry, I just hate screaming girls or boys, my bad), so after awhile, I got tired of the spectacle and headed back down to the theater. Tony Vincent came out and we said hello to each other (we met at Berkeley and spoke online during the Berkeley run), and eventually, John Gallagher, Jr. came out of the theater, after most of the crowd had dispersed or were at Sardi’s. John knows me by name (probably because I drunkenly told him at Rockwood that he needed to bring more of the angst and also from talking with him at the Character Approved Awards a few months ago), so it kind of shocked me that he remembered my name.

John Gallagher, Jr. at Rockwood, 1/18/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

When I first saw the show at Berkeley, I wasn’t impressed with his performance, but then again, I had major issues at the time with the entire show. My biggest concern was that during the Berkeley run when I saw it, I didn’t see the seriousness of the material coming from him nor did I feel the depth of the character. I also say that off-Broadway runs and previews are the time for steeped criticism, particularly in regards to something one feels passionately about, and I’m a jaded theater person from back in the day. If everything is perfect at the beginning, there is no room for improvement. And shows and performances can always be improved. John steadily won me over, as I was pulling for him, particularly after I saw him perform his own material at his residency at Rockwood on the Lower East Side this past January. He’s a heartfelt kid, super-sweet, and a talented dude who obviously is in love with this show and the band. Watching him grow into the role of Johnny has been a pleasure and I give him all the kudos in the world for a brilliant and successful run. And I hope he gets a Tony nomination as well. American Idiot is one of the most bone-breaking shows I’ve seen on Broadway. These kids, led by Gallagher, throw themselves around that stage, and every night Gallagher leads the way. I’m sure it’s not easy.

My Wall Signature.

Once John went inside the restaurant, things got pretty tame outside of the St. James, but people were still bat-shit screaming in front of Sardi’s. The kids outside couldn’t get into the bar at Sardi’s, but since my friends and I are of age, we hung out in the bar at Sardi’s and talked with the bartender who has worked at Sardi’s for years, a real old skool New York character. Outside some of the kids were yelling up to the 2nd floor window asking that Billie make an appearance and show them his tattoos. He did, and then one girl screamed for him to sign her arm for a tattoo when he left the bar and he mimed that he would.

At some point during the night, I went upstairs to the bathroom, where the after party was taking place, and walked right into Brittany Dirnt. I didn’t say anything to her. Heck, what are you going to say to someone in the bathroom? When I walked out, Mike was on the phone near the bathroom and Gallagher was hanging out talking with people. I went back downstairs and chatted for a bit longer. I left at 12:30, but the others stayed until 1:00. I guess I should have stayed for another 1/2 hour, but I had to work the next day. From what I understand, the cast and eventually Billie Joe came out of the party and Billie Joe asked for a “fucking” cigarette. (Yes, he does smoke on occasion, get over it.) My friend who had taken me to the Preview was just about to put a cigarette in her mouth and instead, she gave it to him. Bonus! LOL. Oh, and he did sign the girl’s arm, too.

Here’s a video of Billie at the Sardi’s window and coming out of the restaurant, with cigarette and signing.

Opening Night, 4/20/10

American Idiot Opening at the Irish Rogue. Photo by Michael Gary.

What can I say about Opening Night? By this time, I had seen the show three times in New York, and I was ready to just sit back and enjoy what was about to happen. The opening was a star-studded event, with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael J. Fox and Donald Fucking Trump… oh and a bunch of Idiots who are stars in my book. I didn’t see the Donald, and that was probably a good thing, but I did see the other three, and that was a good thing, too.

Green Day Bracelets in Front of the St. James, Opening Night. 4/20/10.

We Idiots met for dinner and a powwow at the Irish Rogue, having snacks and drinks. Carolyn had brought new Green Day Friendship bracelets to the theater, and she had an extra one and gave it to me. I already had one, but I took it anyway, in anticipation of seeing the show with Becky Walter (of the Facebook page Green Day LIVE on Tour) on 4/22/10. Becky was flying in from Minnesota to New York for the first time ever for the MTV Viewing on 4/22.

We walked down to the site as a group and got more excited as showtime came closer. Our seats were in the balcony and with the crowd, it took a bit of time to get up there. I wasn’t sitting with the Idiots from the restaurant, unfortunately, but I was anticipating meeting up with two special friends, Rachel and Michelle, who were sitting next to me. We three had shared some incredible moments out in Berkeley over the last few months, and Rachel was there to help manage the Mystic Knights of the Cobra tour that was starting the next day and Michelle is the spectacular photographer who took photographs of the Pinhead Gunpowder show back in February. She’s also the girlfriend of the bassist (Jim Graz) of Honah Lee, the accompanying band with the Cobras on their Party! Party! Party! Tour of the East Coast. The tour had been something I was hella looking forward to for months now, and I knew that when I saw them, that the REAL party was about to begin. More on that in a coming post.

The audience, if possible, was even MORE excited to see the show than on the first preview. Everyone was dressed to the nines and there were a few times when the audience shouted out lyrics to the songs with the cast, which was very exciting. I loved it.

After the show, we made our way downstairs and waited around for a little bit to say hello and goodbye to people. We were standing in the St. Jimmy Bar and as I was trying to walk into the area, my bag poked Ed Norton really hard in the ass. (Lucky bag.) He turned around and I apologized, and he smiled, and since I was looking hella good, he looked for a bit longer than usual. And I let him. Haha. And then I turned away and decided that the only thing I wanted to do was leave and hang out with Cobras and start the next phase of this wondrous opening week. So we hopped in a cab and went downtown.

The Real Party Begins. Hanging with the Cobras in the East Village, 4/20/10.

I did not go to the Opening Night Party, but the Green Day Community’s Katie McPansy Grogan won the American Idiot on Broadway Facebook contest. She had a fabulous time in NY, got to meet the band, interviewed Rebecca Naomi Jones, had excellent seats, and went to the After Party. I highly recommend visiting Katie’s Video Blogs of American Idiot on Broadway Opening.

A Shout Out to Nicole.

Lastly, a word of thanks to Nicole Gary. Nicole and I met on the Green Day Community and have been theater buddies in NYC since then. We were also in the Daily News photo shoot together back in March. She told me on opening night that she had attempted to get me a press pass for the After Opening Party festivities and had almost succeeded, but things didn’t work out. Thank you, Nicole, for believing in me and my blog, and for being a good buddy. I appreciate your friendship.

MTV Special Viewing, 4/22/10

J’net (an awesome moderator at the Green Day Community, thank you!) had bought us tickets to the 4/22/10 showing when tickets first went on sale. At the time, tickets weren’t on sale for Opening Night, so 4/22 was the next best thing going at the time (and it proved to be pretty amazing). I was hoping for something weird and special, as I had heard that weird and special things might happen on this night, so I was in weird and special mode. When tickets went on sale on 4/1/10 for Opening Night, I regretted my decision a bit to attend this performance. The Cobras and Honah Lee had played the night before at Arlene’s Grocery, and they were off to Asbury Park for a show at Asbury Lanes. Truthfully, I wanted to be with them as I don’t get to see them very often. But, we make our choices and I had to work on Friday anyway, and ok, shoot me, since all in all, I’ve been way lucky and it’s all good.

Minnesota Gal in NYC. Becky of Green Day LIVE on Tour Comes to NYC.

Things always work out best for those who love the Lushie Gods. Becky Walter, a friend of Niki Lee’s (Seize the Green Day), had won tickets to the MTV Special Viewing but was a bit panicked about making her first major trek from a small town in Minnesota to New York City. I had seats in the Mezzanine that night, but I told her that I would help her navigate through Manhattan and she gave me her second ticket. Niki, Dorie and I talked her through it and encouraged her to take the bull by the horns and conquer her fear of coming to NYC by herself. After all, we don’t bite… hard… here. We told her it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she really wanted to come see the show, and having free tickets was half the battle since the ticket prices can be high. She flew in the day of the show, walked to my work to pick me up so that we could navigate down to the difficult to find Pop2Life offices for the tickets, and then whizzed uptown to meet folks at the Westway Diner for dinner. We proceeded to the venue a bit later and I gave her the Green Day Friendship bracelet that Carolyn had given me the day before. Our tickets were in the left Orchestra, not far from were I sat on the night of the first preview. Also, by Becky giving me the ticket, Andres from the Green Day Community was then able to share this special night with everyone by taking my original Mezzanine seat with J’net, Dawn, and Sherri. The Lushie Gods are good!

As the show was about to begin, Armstrong, Dirnt, and Cool family members walked in and filled the seats in the Center Orchestra. Billie Joe’s mom is the cutest thing ever, and she was beaming from ear to ear. Adrienne walked in with her and sat about two rows from us. As the curtain bells were ringing, The Edge from U2 entered and sat in the Center Orchestra not far from us, followed by Tre, Mike and Brittany, and finally, Billie Joe, who sat in the aisle seat next to Adrienne. Needless to say he caused a stir when he came in, but then the lights went down and the curtain went up.

Is this thing on? Green Day sings during American Idiot on Broadway. Photo by Green Day Mind.

It was kinda funny looking at him as an audience member. He was mesmerized by the show and his mouth was kinda hanging open in amazement the entire time, but something kept distracting him and he ran out of the theater twice during the performance, but came back in. Just as the show was ending, Green Day left the theater and a stage tech brought two mikes onstage. Afterward, the band took their rightful places onstage with their kids, the cast of American Idiot. Billie Joe had some issues with his guitar set-up for a minute, but they worked it out and he noted that it was “his first time on Broadway.” The crowd stood up as they came on and were treated to the “real” version of “American Idiot” and a great rendition of “Basket Case.” The month-long ride from Preview to Opening was complete, and this new baby called American Idiot was on Broadway.

Y’know what… I missed seeing them onstage

Green Day sings on Broadway, 4/22/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

Green Day sings on Broadway During American Idiot, 4/22/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

All in all, it has been a great ride with American Idiot, and I’m glad that the show is up and running and is good. It’s gotten exceptional reviews for the most part, and ticket sales are good. It’s fucking up Broadway, and in my book, that is always a good thing. I’ll write up something one day with my thoughts on the actual production, but really, just go and see it and make up your own mind is all that I can ultimately say.

I will say, though, that seeing Green Day back onstage made me realize how much I just wanted to see them perform again. The cast is great and the score is wonderful and kudos to everyone involved in the show, but Green Day is… well… Green Day. I silently offered supplications after the MTV Special Viewing, “please let the Foxboro Hot Tubs play a show this weekend, please let me get to see it.” Cause you know what? There is nothing like Billie Joe, Mike and Tre onstage together. And luckily, the Lushie Saints granted my wish. Twice. More on that in a later post.

And with that, faire thee well, American Idiot on Broadway. May you have a long life and prosper, may your actors stay healthy with no broken bones, and may you always Fuck Up Broadway.

After the break, stay tuned for ToniAnn and Fallyn on MTV being interviewed about the show and some additional links.

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Character Approved Awards with American Idiot Cast and New AI Trailer

American Idiot on Broadway 30-second Promo – HOT!

Last Thursday, during a massive snowstorm here in New York City, the Second Annual USA Network Character Approved Awards honored ten artists in the fields of film, writing, music, design, and charity. One of honorees was the band Green Day, mostly featuring Billie Joe Armstrong.

I wrote last week that my friend, who has been helping me with excellent buddy-passes for cheap flights to California to see Green Day perform at Fake New Year’s this past November and to see Billie Joe jam with his side project, Pinhead Gunpowder, in February (see Michelle Lawlor’s awesome photos of that here), was invited to the awards with his roommate, who was blogging about the event. Needless to say, I was a bit jealous of the fact that he was going to this event, particularly since neither one of them were into it as a whole. I (halved) jokingly railed on my friend that it wasn’t fair that he was going and that I couldn’t. At the same time, I made sure to remember that the Lushie Gods are good to those who spread the Lushie karma around, so I was keeping my head on straight about the entire thing, until the day the awards happened and I was like, oh shit, really, you get to go and honor my favorite band on Earth AND see the cast of American Idiot perform?? No fair! LOL.

A few hours before the event, my friend phoned me and asked me a magical question: would you like to go to the event with my roommate? My frozen New York winter heart melted then and there and said, “well, I look like crap, there’s no way I can go home to change before the event, and yes, I’d be happy to go!”

We arrived at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building on the West Side Highway, where the event was being held at 7:00 PM and despite the horrible weather outside, the place was crowded. We checked in, I went to the bathroom and breathed, and wondered if the band would show up. They didn’t show up, but after a few Maker’s Marks with coke (sacrilege, I know), I drank in my disappointment and enjoyed my anticipation of the performance by the American Idiot cast.

I waited for the event to start by standing near the front of the stage where the cast was to perform, and ran into a fellow that I knew from New York University back in the day and chatted with the bartender who kept my double Maker’s Mark glass full. The people around me were really nice and I made a dude laugh when we talked about the winter weather and how much he loved it but I hated it, and then I called him “Honey” for some reason, and he cracked up to no end. I blame my reverse misogyny and verbal diarrhea on the Maker’s Mark…

USA Network Character Approved Awards American Idiot Cast Stage, 2010

USA Network Character Approved Awards 2010

Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein introduces Characters Approved

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Two Green Day Auctions:, et al and Grammy Foundation, Paper+Plastic and Limited Pressings recently began a sweet auction for Haiti relief that I was going to post about, but then the Grammys happened, and I forgot about it. The auction is ongoing and has so far raised around $16,500 for Haiti relief. All proceeds go to my favorite organization, Doctors Without Borders. Green Day vinyls are being auctioned, so if you are lucky to have a record player (I’m not so lucky), go and take a look at all of the punk artists on auction now.

The Grammys MusiCares Foundation is auctioning off some Green Day-related items as well, though these aren’t for Haiti relief and some of them have a high starting bid threshold. Check them out, though. There is a signed Les Paul guitar, signed photographs of the band, and a signed vinyl copy of 21st Century Breakdown. While the auction isn’t for Haiti relief, it is for a good cause nonetheless. You can find out more about MusiCares here.

Tre with Green Day-signed Les Paul guitar for Grammy auction

Los Luchadors y Las Luchadoras

I was listening to The Network today while rearranging my mind, and started thinking of wrestlers… Luchadors, Luchadoras and Snoos…

El Luchador. Table Top, San Loco, Avenue A, NYC

The First and Only Luchador: The Snoo

More Luchadors and Luchadoras after the break!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Cool

Since it’s already December 9th down under in Australia where Green Day will play their second show in Brisbane, I thought I’d get a jump on saying “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Tré Cool. Not that he’ll ever see this, but hey, happy birthday anyway! Tre is 37! Happy birthday and many more to you, Dude!

Here’s a blast from the past with Tre singing Dominated Love Slave in Hartford, CT:

Tré Cool sing Dominated Love Slave in Hartford, CT

Tré Cool Drumstick - London, October 24, 2009

Tre Talks with Australian Radio on Nova 96.9 FM

Green Day is in Australia right now preparing for their two-week tour of that country which starts on December 4 (whenever the heck that happens here in the States, I have no frigging idea). The kids from Australia at the GDC posted this link from Australian Radio as Ryan Monty & Wippa chat with Tre on Nova 96.9 FM.