I’ve been to many, many concerts in my life. I have seen everyone from the Spice Girls to Suicidal Tendencies over the years. Green Day was a band I had always wanted to see live. I have been a fan of theirs for over a decade, starting back in
the mid 90s with Dookie, Kerplunk and Smoothed Out Slappy Hours.
I up and joined the fan club to get the opportunity to buy presale tickets. I landed a pair about 2 minutes into the presale, about 15 rows up from the corner of the stage. The seats were awesome, and I knew as I sat down that I was going to be in for something special. I was totally wrong. I was not in for something "special" — I was in for the opportunity to witness the best concert I have ever seen in my life . . . period!
The interlude to their most recent album, 21st Century Breakdown, was the first sound through the speakers that the crowd heard when the lights went down. The electricity, even though the band had yet to take the stage, was building. Then, to an uproarious applause and some "Green Day" chants, the trio (plus a few extra musicians) hit the stage. Pyrotechnics exploded and so did the crowd. I was incredibly stunned only to see Billie Joe run off the stage, and run up the aisle only to stop right next to me on the stairs and lift his guitar high in the air to pose for the crowd. It was the closest I have ever been to someone that famous . . . and fricking awesome! He then proceeded to take control of the audience, and commanded every Mother-F***er in the entire arena to get off their seats. Everyone willingly obliged and clapped in unison to the ring leader’s request.
They hammered out multiple songs from 21st Century and didn’t forget to play old school classics from their early years (2000 Light Years Away), a favorite of mine (J.A.R.) and countless classics (Holiday, Longview, She, Minority). As the concert went on, Billie Joe continually got the audience involved. He pulled a tween girl up on stage for a "spiritual cleansing," complete with a "Hallelujah" blessing on her head. He pulled up a 50+ year old lady out of G.A. and enticed her to do a stage dive, which she did. Several others were pulled up to help belt out the lyrics to the tunes, right there on stage, in front of the entire audience. All of those things were extremely entertaining to watch, but I can only imagine how incredibly memorable they would be for the persons taking part.
The show itself was the loudest, most interactive and most energetic concert experience I have ever been a part of. Green Day played for nearly 2 1/2 hours straight; each song with as much tenacity and life as the next. Each song was louder and louder, and with each break in song, Billie Joe would yell out "Ayyyyy Ohhh," replicating what sounded like an Irish soccer hoodlum’s battle cry in which the crowd would echo that sentiment back to him as loud as they possibly could. I kept thinking after the show was over, that to me, it seemed like they played this concert as if it was their very last ever. We were just a group in Kansas. We weren’t some awards show. We weren’t Woodstock. We were Kansas Citians ready to rock, and were treated with an absolutely amazing performance. I, along with the rest of the arena, stood the entire set, and though my ears were pulsating from the explosions and my hands stung from the incessant clapping, all I wanted was for this show to never end. It was one of those shows that keeps you up long after you return home, just reflecting on each and every detail. And if I was a college kid with no responsibilities, I would sell a few textbooks to travel to Green Day’s next stop on the tour and catch it again. I am an adult, and have commitments, so I shall pass on that road trip. I will definitely make sure I catch them again, in town, next time . . . "When They Come Around."