"Thanks" from Fans in Paris -- Green Day in Paris, June 2010 -- Photo by Chris Dugan, greenday.com
Oh Twitter, how I love thee!
As some of you may know, a strangely odd tradition popped up at Green Day’s shows back in Summer of 2010: the appearance of hundreds of signs at shows, ranging from “Thanks” to “Merci Beaucoup,” and morphing into “Awesome as Fuck,” and “Welcome Home.” Last night, Green Day (ok, Billie Joe) tweeted:
Greenday: When we do the talk back on sunday, everyone should hold up signs that say Awesome as Fuck. That be.. Uh.. awesome as fuck?
"As Billie Joe sang the last song, the fans in the front all held up homemade signs saying 'THANKS'. No one in the band or crew had ever seen this kind of mass sign of appreciation from an audience before.. " Greenday, Parc des Princes, Paris, August 2010 -- Bobgruen.com
Oh Billie Joe, that would be awesome as fuck, as American Idiot on Broadway continues to rip up the traditions of Broadway and turn them on their heads. I am sure there will be photographs taken as the signs are held up at the Talkback on Sunday, which will make a wonderful photographic memory. I’ll be at American Idiot today (I have a ticket to the show), as well as the Talkback. The AI talkbacks (I have somehow managed to see all four of them so far), have been pretty awesome as fuck themselves!
Since Billie Joe tweeted it last night, I thought I’d write up a short little history of the signs, to make sure that all of the people who had a hand in this crazy tradition get the recognition that they all deserve. As Bob Gruen said when he posted his photograph of the signs from Paris, “No one in the band or crew had ever seen this kind of mass sign of appreciation from an audience before.” I have never seen something like this at a concert before, have you?
So, here goes. If there is any discrepancy in the history, please feel free to update the history in the comments to this post!
The signs started out in Paris with “Thanks.” Greendaylove38 (Abbey) then suggested that fans continue the signs of “Thank You” in Virginia based on what happened at the Parc des Princes in Paris. When the “Thank You” signs materialized at the Virginia show because of Abbey and other Green Day Community folks, Billie Joe tweeted after the show, “Great times in virginia and surrounding areas! Now that was hot! Not like randy jackson hot dawg…. Highlight-thank you signs”
Variations of the Paris “Thanks” signs continued to show up throughout the remainder of the North American amphitheater tour. In Montreal, there were “Merci Beaucoup” signs. I was at that show with a sign; Billie Joe tweeted: “Have you ever played the game Mafia? Aka wolves and villagers. Good times in montreal! Love those signs. Highlight- armatage shanks”
As the signs popped up at more shows, Gnash, a commentator at the Green Day Community (and others), suggested that the signs be turned on their head. What new craziness could we surprise the hell out of Green Day with? After all, how many variations of “thank you” were there, anyway? When Abbey had first written in the Green Day Community thread that attendees should bring “thank you” signs to the shows, her first post mentioned that the signs themselves would be “AWESOME AS FUCK.” Gnash then wrote, “I think for the next show you should hold AWESOME AS FUCK signs up instead of THANK YOU. Just to spice it up a bit, y’know?” It was a brilliant idea, to say the least!
Abbey and Beth (shesarebel on Twitter and **nobodylikesyou**” on the GDC) conspired together to present these new “AWESOME AS FUCK” signs at the Denver show. Billie Joe tweeted afterward: “Denver! Highlight- cigarettes and valentines – twice! – awesome as fuck?” The AWESOME AS FUCK signs were around in other shows, too, and by the Homecoming show in San Francisco, the signs became simply, “Welcome Home.”
At the Denver show, when the signs first came out during the second encore, they made Billie Joe laugh. And then, he magically incorporated the phrase into “Good Riddance.” Watch the video by xGeneralxS at 4:12, you’ll hear him sing “awesome as fuck” in the video below. A photograph of those signs may be found on TwitPic, by shesarebel, below, as well as an actual sign at the show (I think by Chris Dugan).
AWESOME AS FUCK -- Green Day -- Photo by Chris Dugan?
“Your awesome as fuck…” at 4:12 — Second Encore, Green Day at Comfort Dental, Denver — xGeneralxS
And with that, if you are coming to the talkback at American Idiot this afternoon, I hope you bring your “AWESOME AS FUCK” signs with you. I have one from the Irvine show, but those never really materialized at that concert because security stopped people from bringing signs into the venue at the front gates. I held onto the one given me. Beth and Abbey are bringing some signs today. I think it’s going to an AWESOME AS FUCK photograph, don’t you?
"Welcome Home" -- Green Day at San Francisco Shoreline, Mountain View, CA -- Photo by Green Day Mind
Welcome Home - Green Day at Shoreline, 8/4/10 - Photo by Green Day Mind
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!
This past Saturday, Nicole W-M and I woke up at the crack of dawn to hop into her extreme Eco-Friendly Car, a Honda Hybrid Insight, and we ran away toward the Canadian border for over 300 miles on one tank of gas, which cost $30 for a one-way trip. That is some awesome stuff.
Green Day Concert Site at Jacques Cartier Quay, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Not as awesome, though, as why we were heading up from New Jersey to Montreal: Green Day’s gig at the Jacques Cartier Quay in the heart of Old Montreal. I’ll write more about the show itself (rain, rain, rain, and insane fans), but score one for the traveling band of Australians who requested “Take Back” and instead got us “Platypus (I Hate You).” The verses got mixed up, but hey, for doing it at the last minute, who cares? It’s a crazy performance and was awesome to dance to!
“Platypus (I Hate You) – Green Day at the Jacques Cartier Quay – xGeneralxs (Jumpy, but it includes the conversation between the Australians and Billie Joe and Billie Joe and Tre ‘negotiating’ the song.)
“Platypus (I Hate You) – Green Day at the Jacques Cartier Quay – 8girl8 (Not in focus, but it’s got good sound and you can see Billie Joe rip on the guitar.)