As I get back into covering the concert scene, I find
myself forgetting many of my "First Rules" of concert going that I
once had. One of those "First Rules" was that in going to see a show
at the Allstate Arena, never come north on Manheim to get to the
parking lot. Yet, there I was, heading north on Manheim on my way to
the parking lot, and yes, it was pretty much a parking lot, but that
was okay, in the end, because I did leave pretty early for this show
so I knew I wouldnít be late.
As I was sitting around, waiting for
Jimmy Eat World to start and get some photos of them, it was time to
people watch, and it proved interesting people watching. It quickly
occurred to me just how long Green Day has been around, and just how
much their appeal keeps growing a new legion of fans. There was mom,
looking like she would normally be a conservative type yet dressed a
little more risquť than normal. But that wasnít the interesting
part, there she was with her youngins, letting them bust out the
mousse and gel and giving themselves fake mohawks. Then, of course,
there were plenty of real mohawks, lots of green hair, and lots of
teen girls dressing way too skimpily. The Jimmy Eat World photo
shooting came to a close, giving me a chance to try out my new
camera in an actual concert situation, and things were looking good
for getting some good shots when Green Day took the stage.
And took the stage they did.
Starting with the drinking bunny leading the crowd through "Y.M.C.A.,"
eventually the lights went down, the band hit the stage, and Billie
Joe led the crowd through nearly two hours of music and fun like a
maestro leading an orchestra. No surprise, the set list was similar
to the European leg of the tour, and I guess from those reviews Iíve
read, so were some of the antics, but it was all new to me and it
still kicked ass. Leading off with "American Idiot," and into "Jesus
of Suburbia," my photo shooting was over, and with "JesusÖ" being a
nine minute anthem, I was in my seat just as "Holiday" was finishing
up. As I got settled, it occurred to me that Green Day has done
something with "American Idiot" that most bands seem to forget to do
these days Ė make an actual album, where sure, the kids are finding
the radio hits, but they are buying the album, learning all of the
songs, and this crowd was an album fan crowd, rather than a hit
single fan crowd, because the entire night turned into one big
sing-a-long, and that was spotlighted by the jump-along-fest during
"Longview" and a great version of "Hitchiní a Ride." And this is
where the maestro leading took a giant leap. Leading with one of
many yells of "All right Chicagoooo!," Billie pitted the stage right
crowd versus the stage left crowd in a yelling "Yeaaah!!!!"
competition, cruised into "Brain Stew," (lots of flames ensuing
during the song had me reminiscing back to the "Beavis and Butthead"
chants of "Fire! Fire! Fire!!"), pulled out a pressure washer and
started dousing the crowd, and then pulled a youngin up on stage to
help him out with the pressure washing duties. The little dude
seemed thrilled at just spraying the crowd, but then that just got
kicked up a notch when Billie helped him get the crowd into a hand
As the show continued on, Billie showed he could pass a sobriety
test as during Operation Ivyís "Knowledge" he began doing some
guitar soloing, standing on one leg, with the guitar behind his
head. And of course it was time to bring up some lucky fans to play,
and play they did. The dude brought up to drum gave Billie a kiss
before taking his place at Tre Coolís drum set, Billie chose a
dudette for bass duties, and the dude brought up for guitar worked
his couple of minutes of fame for all they were worth, playing well
while running all over the stage, complete with a leap from the drum
set platform. The dudette got to keep Mike Dirntís guitar, the
drummer got some sticks and the opportunity to stage dive back to
his place in the crowd, and the lead guitar dude, well he just
seemed to disappear. Anyway, back to the show.
Some normal hits followed, you know, a "Basket Case" and "She,"
but "King For a Day" just showed the band having a grand old time,
with Billie with his crown, transitioning the song into a version of
"Shout" (the crowd, though, I guess was too young and havenít been
to enough fraternity parties to know you are supposed to scrunch
down during the "a little bit softer now" part), but
lying on stage as they put the Kingís robe on him, as he transferred
from "Shout" to a quick version of "Danny Boy" back into "Shout,"
getting back on his feet as the crowd went wild, and finally back
into "King For a Day."
I was quickly reminded that I havenít been to a concert in years
when "Wake Me Up When September Ends" kicked into gear and quickly
realized that cell phones are the new lighters. I donít know when
that really started, but I have to say it does look way-cool, and
probably cuts down on the number of burns to peopleís thumbs.
So as things were beginning to wrap up with "Minority,"
thanked the crowd bunches of time, and then hoped for a few things
this year for the Chicago crowd. He hoped the Bears would win the
Super Bowl, he hoped both the Cubs and White Sox would win the World
Series, and he hoped that the Bulls would get Michael Jordan back.
Sitting in my seat, as the large sign flashed from "Green" to
"Day," and the crowd obliged by chanting "Green" and then "Day," I
was worried the band was really done. Okay, I wasnít really worried,
and the band came back, breaking out with "Maria," "Boulevard of
Broken Dreams," and ending this encore with, yes, you can probably
guess, Queenís "We Are the Champions," complete with some lyric
changing from "I thank you all" to "Iím Rick James, bitch!" And then
came the confetti, and then came more confetti, and then more
confetti, and Iím thinking to myself, "Self, thatís a butt-load of
confetti." Then I noticed the confetti was actually decorated, with
"Green Day" stamped on the red pieces, and hand grenades on the
white, and then I immediately thought about gathering up a bunch of
it and trying to sell it on E-Bay until I realized pretty much that,
if you wanted some, you already took some.
And so, with one more song to sing, it was time for time for
Billie solo, doing "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and a rousing
night came to a close.
Okay, letís finish up this monstrosity of a concert review.
First off, upon leaving, I heard numerous comments that this
concert was awesome, although I did hear a couple of dudes say the
show at The Vic last year was better. I thought, "Duh, big arena
show versus intimate club show?" But in any case Green Day gave you
exactly what you want from a big arena show. You had explosions, you
had fire, you had sing-a-longs, you had loud, you had the band
running all over the stage, you had cell-phone moment slow songs,
and you had a band that has been around for 16 years, building their
fan base from day one, giving everyone a fantastic show and not just
going through the motions. From young to old all seemed to have a
blast, although Iím sure a couple of dads and moms who decided to
let their six to eight year old daughters see the show might have
been a little shocked. Not so much by the use of the f-bombs, they
can probably just let the little ones let that go, but it was when,
at the end of "Hitchiní a Ride," Billie Joe was standing on the stage
portion jutting into the audience, then he started to moan, then he
started to moan and grab his crotch, then he started to moan and put
his hand down his pants and grab his crotch, and then he yelled
"Somebody fuck me!" I suppose, in the end, itís good to see a punk
band never really grow up. Happy explaining to your daughters, mom
All that being said, and I apologize a little for getting
long-winded, but itís TWO "Iím Rick James, Bitch!" THUMBS UP for
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!