Tag Archives: Jesus of Suburbia

Camden, Baby! – Green Day Rocks the Riverline

Listen to Me Whine - BJA, Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 - Photo by xGeneralxS

By the time I got to the kickoff show of Green Day’s current North American tour leg, I was stressed and a bit exhausted. The weeks leading up to the show have been overwhelming emotionally and just sucky. I’ve been missing the idea of California and my life here in New York has been droning on. I’ve been restless and unsure and stuck about many things lately, and I’ve only wanted to think of big ideas that I’m afraid will never come true. Combined with a general life pathos, well, let’s just say that I wish the Last Ride In was actually on a surfboard and not on what feels like a runaway train. It’s been good, but it’s been hella frustrating, too. And not in a fun, Frustrators, sort of way either.

Luckily, I’ve seen some pretty good bands since Green Day (or actually the Foxboro Hot Tubs) was last in town back in April, like the Mystic Knights and Prima Donna, but I’ve also been lucky to see old school punks and shows such as The Avengers, Jello Biafra and the School of Guantanamo Medicine, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the English Beat, Courtney Love, Faith No More, and Star Fucking Hipsters. I’ve come across smaller bands over the time, too, the crazed Cula A Buco playing with the Cobras and Prima Donna in Santa Cruz, local NYC bands, the Homewreckers, the Sandworms, Yula and the Extended Family, and a few more whose names I can’t remember. It’s been good musical times.

The Ticket That Went to Wembley Without Me - Wembley, 19 June 2010

Though I’ve seen many great shows over the last few months, Green Day was never far from my mind. I missed Wembley last June because I couldn’t get over the expensive Summer airfare pond known as the Atlantic Ocean, and that made me sad. Luckily, a little piece of Wembley came home to me as Jax sent me the Ticket That Went To Wembley Without Me. Thanks, Jax!

Since missing Wembley (and I’ve been lucky through the year, so I’m not whining about it… anymore), the second leg of the North American tour has been on my mind what with making mental plans about which shows to go to, how to get there — if I can get there — all the while attempting to avoid a 21st century breakdown simultaneously. Sigh.

Though I’ve seen a lot of great bands since those halcyon days of Pinhead Gunpowder playing at the small 924 Gilman in February or those beautiful nights at Don Hill’s or the Bowery Electric with the Foxboro Hot Tubs in April, I’ve got to say that I have been a little spoiled by the smaller, more intimate shows that Green Day or any of their members in all of their varieties may play. I’d love to see Green Day in a smaller space, and the amphitheaters are going to be the equivalent of as small and intimate of a Green Day show that I’m going to get after missing their shows last year at the Bowery Ballroom and Webster Hall in NYC.

Green Day - Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 - Fith Photography

I’m excited by the amphitheater tour, though I’ve not always been so thrilled at the thought that either there was no pit at some venue or as I found out last night, there would be no catwalk for Billie Joe to go strutting down. I had thought about that possibility, but the reality was a bit like, oh, bummer, no catwalk at all. After which I thought to myself that that was a bit whiny. I didn’t even have to worry, though, because Green Day can adapt to any venue, and adapt they did. It was a great show, despite the dicky boys in the area of the pit that my friend and I found ourselves in. I heard later that if only we could have seen the other side of the pit, we would have known that there was plenty of space over there to dance.

Tre is All Smiles - Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 - Fith Photography

A Man and His Bass - Green Day, Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 - Fith Photography

Since we got to the show just as Green Day went on after a traffic jam on lovely NJ Highway 295 stopped our progress (thanks Rachel for clarifying that for me, lol), by the time we caught our breath, had a beer and some cigarettes, and entered the pit area, we could not see over the heads of anyone and assumed that there was no space on the far side of the pit. I suppose there was an entrance on the Ben Franklin side of the space, but we entered on the Walt Whitman side and into a wall of people.

Catcher In The Rye - Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 - FITH Photography

No one was really dancing in the pit, it was more pushing and shoving, and I can get a bit wild. Most of the time, it’s all good, but I ended up behind this tall fellow whose space I entered and I am not sure if he was trying to block me from taking his space (which I wasn’t trying to do), or blocking his girlfriend from being pushed by me or the people that were pushing me from behind. The day was so stressful that I actually got angry at his elbow blocking and literally punching me in the side and chest with them. No way do I play that. I pinched his arm when he kept doing it. I was trying to get past him and out of his way, but his elbows were blocking everything and I couldn’t move anywhere. At the same time, I was so warm that I thought I was going to faint. If only I had known that the other side of the pit was empty, I would have been much happier, and not felt the need to annihilate this tall asshole in front of me. At that point, I sorely missed my burly and stoic Cobra men, who would have chomped his elbows off, or at least been able to see over the heads of the crowd. Those boys are tall!

Anyway, the show itself was great. The band had a frantic energy that did not stop onstage. I was also totally psyched when Billie Joe came out with fluffy blond hair. Yes, folks, you heard it, it’s a HAIR ALERT!

Billie Joe with a Silly Bandanna of Pot Leaves - Camden, NJ, 8/4/10 - Photo by Green Day Mind

You know how I am about taking pictures (I’m not much of a photographer lately anyway since I hate my camera and I don’t like taking a lot of photos at shows anyway), so I only have two of them, but it just so happens that xGeneralxS, who took some amazing photographs of the Foxboro Hot Tubs at Don Hill’s before her camera died, was at the Camden show! I’ve only seen a few of the photos, and as usual, she’s caught the band beautifully. Fith Photography, who posted a gallery of photographs on Flickr, also took some great shots and both kindly agreed to let me highlight some of their photographs. Thank you!

The setlist structure was primarily the same with each section changed up a little bit, 21CB, AI, Old School, 21CB, Encore 1, Encore 2, and the playing of “Paper Lanterns” during the “old school” portion of the night felt really special. There was a fresh ferocity from the band as they launched into their huge back catalog of songs. A reviewer at Spin wrote that they didn’t seem as emotionally invested singing the older material as they seemed to be when performing the newer stuff. I’m not sure about their assessment, it’s possible, particularly when they come blasting on with “21st Century Breakdown,” at the show’s opening and the song crawls right under your skin. I love to hear it kick off the set at each show that I’ve been to so far this year. While 21CB might be grittier than “Paper Lanterns,” I’ve never had the thought that they were more emotionally invested in one type of their music than the other, though I do think that Green Day believes its newer music is more accomplished than their older stuff. As to whether they have fun playing one more than the other, I think that’s quite arguable. But what the hell do I know? Just shut up and dance.

“21st Century Breakdown” – Green Day, Camden, NJ – RockConcertNo1Fan’s Youtube Channel

Billie Joe’s voice sounds crystal clear. I’ve noticed this not only from the European tour that I’ve seen on Youtube and the smaller shows that I attended earlier this year, but most especially during the band’s performance of “Last of the American Girls” on Jimmy Fallon the other night. As I was listening to it, for a second I thought that they were actually lip-syncing the song, it sounded so good and like the album recording. Hearing his voice live at Camden, and joined by the best rhythm section in music these days, Mike and Tre, they kept a dynamic beat throughout the entire night. These guys just love to play, new stuff, old stuff, their stuff, someone else’s stuff. I think that’s kinda the bottom line with them, not emotional investment between old and new. Haven’t we all had that argument already?

1st Part, “¡Viva la Gloria!” – Green Day, Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 – chixLL

“Hitchin’ A Ride” and Saving a Kid from Being Crushed – Green Day at Camden, 8/3/2010 – denwilliams

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Thank you for the last 22 years! – chixLL

I guess because it’s been so tough lately, “She,” a song that I try to avoid listening to because I just don’t want to mentally crack, really got to me on Tuesday, though a bit through it, I felt awfully faint and crushed. The video below is a bit like my experience of the song, as I was really trying to concentrate and listen, but each time that I started feeling that emotional scream inside, I think my psyche rescued me by making me slightly blank out at points of the greatest emotional and heat distress.

“She” with long stares into the ceiling (but sounds great) – Green Day, Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 – RockConcertNo1Fan

By “Jesus of Suburbia,” I was still slightly in a state of daze. Billie Joe sang the entire song, and the shape of the amphitheater really offered a lovely background soundscape to the music and made the tune’s complexities stand out. I loved it.

“Jesus of Suburbia” – Green Day, Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/2010 – RockConcertNo1Fan

I was overcome by the tons of confetti that blew out during “Minority,” and by the time the second encore came around, I needed water. I also realized that I was so emotionally drained by then (as well as dehydrated), that it would probably be a bit too much to stick around for the sad part of the show. Sigh. I listened to the encore outside, desperately searching each vendor stand for water. Billie Joe’s voice was still clearly heard when I finally found a bottle of water in the amphitheater outdoor atrium. I gulped down the refreshment and listened to the last strains of “Good Riddance” outside, with the song drifting up the hill and out of the sides of the venue.

I’m going to do it all over again in Hartford on Thursday. It’s gonna be a blast.

Boys Will Be Boys - Camden, Susquehanna Bank Center, 8/3/10 - Fith Photography

Here’s some links from last night’s show:

SoundSpike: In Pictures Story by Editor Hali McGrath and Photographer Rob Loud.

Spin.com: Green Day Kick Off Epic Tour Near Philly

Rolling Stone: Green Day launch Tour with Punk Marathon

Popstar.com: Green Day Returns to U.S. for Second Leg of North American Tour

Green Day Picture Vault: Camden, NJ Photos by Jimmy / Marie

Green Day Authority: Camden Post

Michael Alan Goldberg: Flickr Photostream

Fith Photography: Flickr Photostream

Samma-Wamma: Smugmug

Guest Shredder: Stephanie from MSG1

Green Day’s performance at Madison Square Garden back on July 27th was not only a great romp by the band, but also featured a dynamic young woman by the name of Stephanie Vera-Tudela. She was pulled on stage by Billie Joe Armstrong to play lead guitar for the epic “Jesus of Suburbia,” playing the tune so well and with such panache that Armstrong eventually screamed out, “I fuuccking lovve youu!”

Green Day Shredder, Stephanie Vera-Tudela – Music Connection – Article by Rob Putnam

Rob Putnam interviewed Stephanie for the Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 online edition of Music Connection. The active link to the article at Music Connection is no longer working. The link above will take you to a PDF of Rob’s article on Stephanie. Thanks to Rob for letting me post the article! Sorry it took a bit of time to update this!

Green Day Takes New York, Pt. III: MSG2

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

New York, Madison Square Garden, July 28, 2009

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

And I did.

The Line

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Soundcheck Buddies

Soundcheck Buddies

The Show

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

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

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

“A Quick One While He’s Away”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billie Joe Armstrong receiving a request from an audience member

Billie Joe Armstrong receiving a request from an audience member

Set list:

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

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

Act One: 21st Century

1. Song of the Century

2. 21st Century Breakdown

3. Know Your Enemy

4. Murder City

5. East Jesus Nowhere

6. Holiday

7. Static Age

8. Before the Lobotomy

9. Are We the Waiting

10. St. Jimmy

11. Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Unexpected Interlude

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

Act Two: 20th Century

13. Hitchin a Ride

14. Welcome to Paradise

15. Stop, Drop, and Roll/ Eye of the Tiger

16. FOD

17. When I Come Around

18. Going to Pasalacqua

19. Stuart And The Ave./ Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?

20. Iron Man riff

21. Brain Stew

22. Jaded

23. Knowledge

24. Basket Case

25. She

26. King For a Day

27. Shout/ Earth Angel (The Penguins)/ Christie Road / I’ll Be There

Act Three: Present

28. 21 Guns

29. American Eulogy


30. American Idiot

31. Jesus of Suburbia

32. Minority

33. Macy’s Day Parade

34. “Say I Love You”

35. Good Riddance


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


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

Green Day Takes New York, Pt. II: MSG1

New York, Madison Square Garden, July 27, 2009
I knew from the moment I exited the Times Union Center that I would not experience the full impact of Green Day’s music at this concert. You see, I had seats… high into the dead zone of MSG. So very sad. Nonetheless, the crowd around me (except for the three people next to me who kept getting out of their seats) were pretty great. There were four young men in crazy hats (Kings for a Day?) who very politely let us know that if their giant sombrero hats got in the way of viewing to say something. And I did. But, my friend who went with me is a only a nominal Green Day fan and while I love her, I don’t think she enjoyed the show very much. I have sworn never to again attend a Green Day show with someone who is a nominal fan. It’s all or nothing for a Green Day show.

Green Day concert seats - MSG1

Green Day concert seats - MSG1

I’ve seen a few concerts at Madison Square Garden and for most of them, I’ve been in the 300 sections, high up under the skyboxes. I hate sitting there. U2 sounded like they were underwater when I saw them there years ago. I noticed the sound difference most specifically during this show when I went down toward the front of the stadium after Billie Joe frightened the MSG security guards by urging fans to (slowly) come down and fill out the pit. Looking from up above, I had a feeling he would do this since the pit on stage right had a slight void of bodies in it. Of course, as usual, I didn’t get down there in time (yes, I left my friend in the dust), and of course, as usual, I chose the wrong aisle to go down because Billie came up to the stadium on the aisle next to me. I’m pretty sure they were clearing that area anyway so that he wouldn’t trip and fall. And he didn’t! Yay! I marched back up to my seat and longed for that pit. My goodness.

Elijah and Green Day

High Five

Other highlights of this show for me where Billie telling the story of fighting with Adrienne over the phone when he was out with friends, while some guy drove by and said, “Fuck you Billie Joe! Green Day sucks!” Billie Joe then went on to relate how he beat the crap out of the guy, goes back into the bar, does some shots and forgets that Adrienne is still on the phone. Apparently this all took place during the tough final record-mixing time. Those days are over now, it’s all good.

I love storytime!

Green Day at Madison Square Garden 1

Green Day at Madison Square Garden 1

I think the thing that I missed most in this show was the chance to dance, play and interact more directly with the band. Billie, Tré and Mike work the crowd like you wouldn’t believe. They draw you into playtime, even if seeing them at great distances. Take it from me, the closer the better. Even if it’s only been three times so far (tomorrow’s MSG fill will make four, all this year) seeing them, I completely regret not taking the opportunity a long time ago. Oh. Well. After only a few shows, I kinda feel addicted now. Is this how all those old Deadheads felt, too? Hmm.

Liz and me at the Green Day show, MSG1

Liz and me at the Green Day show, MSG1

From an audience participation point of view, this show had some great moments. I can’t remember exactly when but at one point a construction hat pops out of the pit, and Billie puts it on. He throws it back to the pit a few seconds later. The construction hat will be back.

Billie in the epic-failed stage dive guy's construction hat - GDA

Billie in the epic-failed stage dive guy's construction hat - GDA

East Jesus Nowhere.” What can I say about this song except for ‘thank you.’ From the very moment when the screeching, metallic quality of the chords start, a powerful moment begins which does not disappoint. The band finds a young, preferably innocent, child upon which to perform a ritual known as “saving the soul.” Sometimes the kids are scared shitless, and sometimes you get a kid like Elijah… with a Biblical name no less… at Madison Square Garden. Good times. Elijah played his part perfectly and deserved the chant that his name got. Billie was pretty good, too. 🙂

“Longview” was surreal. I don’t remember the first verse singer, but for the second verse singer, we come back to the construction hat. From what I understand, some kids from Oakland traveled from California to see the band. The guy with the construction hat being one of them. Well, he got on stage and in a heavy metal sorta Gwar-like voice started the lyrics. Which was kinda cool for a word or two. And then he stopped in the middle of the verse and made Billie sing the song. A bit of a bummer, I’d say, particularly since the second verse is the best verse in “Longview.” In recompense, Billie had him stage dive, which he gladly did. He ran down the cat walk at high speed down and…. he jumps and… nobody catches him. Oops. This clip has the scene, which ends around the 3:37 mark. LOL funny. Luckily, the last dude totally redeems the moment with a great performance and a even better stage dive. As a bonus, the clip also has Basket Case, always a winner. (Hurry before it’s too late!)

Green Day at Madison Square Garden, July 27, 2009

Green Day at Madison Square Garden, July 27, 2009

I think this night was the first time that they played “When I Come Around,” which may have been a request from the floor. Lots of fun signs pop up with requests, but alas, I can’t think of any right now. I was made happy by it being played. Yay! Disappearing Boy made its second appearance on the concert tour (it was also played in Albany), but on this night it was dedicated to Billie’s oldest son, Joey.

Besides the fact that Green Day played, which is the greatest thing in the world, an even greater thing happened during the 40-hour song, “Jesus of Suburbia.” On this tour the song, or portions of it, have been given over to aspiring musicians from the audience in a sort of crap-shoot way (see Construction Hat Guy). Usually it works out well. Occasionally, it works out really fabulously.

Billie began to ask the audience if they could play “Jesus of Suburbia” and was about to settle on a guy with a sign when the guy said two words he never should have uttered, “What song?” Billie looked at him said, “What song? What did I just say, dumbass?” and moved on to a girl with a sign standing next to him. What happened next was magical, and it was a good thing a professional bootlegger… uh… caught it on tape.

Picking Stephanie

Stephanie debuts with Green Day, Madison Square Garden, July 27, 2009

“I fucking love you!”*

Stephanie, from the GDC, is pretty ecstatic, as you may well believe. She got a mention in the Arts Blog of the New York Times, a bunch of other blogs, and most importantly, Larry Livermore mentioned her on his blog. You go, girl!

Elijah needs salvation from his good ways - Green Day - Madison Square Garden1*

Elijah needs salvation from his good ways - Green Day - Madison Square Garden1*

Setlist: MSG1
1. Song of the Century
2. 21st Century Breakdown
3. Know Your Enemy
4. East Jesus Nowhere
5. Holiday
6. Static Age
7. Before the Lobotomy
8. Are We the Waiting
9. St. Jimmy
10. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
11. 2000 Light Years Away
12. Welcome to Paradise
13. Castaway
14. When I Come Around
15. Disappearing Boy
16. Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
17. Thank You (Led Zeppelin)/ Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns N’ Roses)/ Take Me
Out to the Ball Game/ 99 Bottles of Beer/ Iron Man (Riff)
18. Brain Stew
19. Jaded
20. Longview
21. Basket Case
22. She
23. King For a Day
24. Shout/ Earth Angel (The Penguins)/ Swanee/ I’ll Be There
25. 21 Guns
26. American Eulogy

27. American Idiot
28. Jesus of Suburbia
29. Minority
30. Drama Queen
31. Last Night On Earth (acoustic)
32. Good Riddance

The show traditionally ends with Good Riddance performed by Billie on guitar, and some surprise acoustic numbers have come before it lately. Tonight’s show held a beautiful “Drama Queen” (my first time hearing it live), and a soulful “Last Night on Earth.”

Goodbye until next time. Like tomorrow??

Goodbye until next time. Like tomorrow??

I think the saddest part… and mind you, I had a super time… was not being in the pit and missing the chance to meet Adrienne Armstrong. Apparently she was asking folks in the pit to help with the natural resources project that the band is involved with, the Natural Resources Defense Council or NRDC. You know, some nature crackpots that keep talking about saving the planet or something like that. Good people. It would have been nice to say hello.

Nonetheless, I still had one more show to go. The second night of two shows is always better.*

Photos from: vcastlive.com; greenday.com; greendayauthority.com
*quoth Billie