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Chasing The American Dream

August 28, 2005


Much to their credit, Billy Joe Armstrong and the boys from Green Day refused to cancel their concert due to Hurricane Katrina. I think they wanted to bring some good vibes to an area that sorely needed some. And so they did.

The concert opened with a favorite of mine, a band called Jimmy Eat World from my old homestead of Phoenix, Arizona. I’m always amazed at how apathetic the crowd is toward the opening band(s). J.E.W. garnered only a smattering of applause. They played stuff from their new CD including Work and played some standard favorites including Sweetness and The Middle. My only issue was that they only played for 35 minutes. They were brief, but they sounded great.

But the night and the crowd belonged to Green Day. The majority of the 20,000 who purchased seats never used them because they stood or danced throughout the show. The stage backdrop was fairly low key, a generic curtain, some scoreboard-type lighting, and the Green Day logo. B.J. came out in all black attire with a red tie. The band opened with an energized American Idiot. It was a sign of things to come. For the next two hours, B.J. ran around the stage singing, screaming, and pandering to the crowd with seemingly endless energy. The opening set was peppered with songs off the American Idiot CD such as Jesus of Suburbia, Holiday, Are We the Waiting, and my personal favorite Wake Me Up Before September Ends. In between other Green Day staples including Longview, She, Basket Case, and Minority, B.J. played numerous games with the crowd. He repeatedly pitted one side of the arena against the other in a HEYYY OHHH shouting match, stood on the stage with arms crossed until the crowd screamed loud enough, squirted the crowd with water hoses, feigned masturbation, mooned the front row crazies, and invited members of the audience to play drums, guitar, and bass.

The show was complete with multi-colored lighting and incredibly loud and explosive pyrotechnics (funny, I’m watching Green Day on the MTV MVAs as I write this). During the middle of the show there was an interesting change of pace with the band playing classics like Stand By Me and Shout. The encore included crowd favorite Boulevard of Broken Dreams and closed with the rock anthem, We Are The Champions. After the band members departed the stage, B.J. walked down the stage runway to sing Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) on electric guitar. As he was for the entire two hours, he was right on key. He thanked the crowd profusely and stood there soaking up the applause before running off backstage.

It was a great show. I often wonder why it’s so hard for the world to bottle the incredible innocence, happiness, togetherness, and closeness of concert goers and the bands they pay to see. These concerts seem like such a departure from reality because we so rarely see these qualities in our everyday life, and that’s truly a damn shame.

P.S. Congrats Green Day for winning Rock Video of the Year for Boulevard of Broken Dreams
photo courtesy of www.greendayauthority.com


  • Thanks for the review; I'll have to let Em (the almost-12 year old) read it. She is such a HUGE fan and adores *gag* Billy. I was going to break my "no concert til you're 16" rule and take her and the girls myself, but they only had the nosebleed seats by the time I'd heard of the concert.

    So was Billy as entertaining to watch onstage?

    By Blogger Jewels, at 5:33 AM, August 29, 2005  

  • Umm. Duh. BJ = Billy Joe, I guess.

    Thanks for the clarification. What did I do with that coffee anyway?

    By Blogger Jewels, at 5:35 AM, August 29, 2005  

  • Thanks for the reveiw i wanted to go when they were in H-town but tickets sold out in record time

    By Blogger Sass, at 11:24 AM, August 29, 2005  

  • My brother went, and like I said before, he thought it was one of the BEST concerts ever. He said that when the kids got the chance to come up & play with the band that the lead singer (BJA) let them KEEP the guitars!!!! I thought that was so cool.

    I shoulda gone.

    And ditto on the 'bottling up concert energy.' I've been going to concerts since I was 14 y/o and it still amazes me at how such massive crowds can unite so harmoniously.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 3:40 PM, August 29, 2005  

  • Jewels and Cat, I think kids would have really enjoyed themselves. I think I would have taken Andy despite the concert's explicit language. There were plenty of youngins there with parents and everyone seemed to be having a ball.

    Jewels and Sass, I snagged nosebleed seats at the last minute. I say it's better to experience it than not. Seats weren't that bad, actually.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 2:29 PM, August 30, 2005  

  • sounds like a good time...

    By Blogger Amanda, at 4:54 PM, August 31, 2005  

  • I saw Jimmy Eat World a few years ago, I thought they were great! We actually went just to see them.

    The concert sounds amazing.

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 10:15 AM, September 04, 2005  

  • Where flip are you? Hope things are okay.

    By Anonymous Emily, at 1:51 PM, September 06, 2005  

  • Yeah! What Emily said!

    By Blogger A, at 8:43 PM, September 06, 2005  

  • Green Day was a band that I never cared for until the last year or so. What was wrong with me??? I love 'em now!

    Thanks for the review, now I look forward to their next concert here in the city. It'll probably be next summer... I'll wait!

    By Blogger Mari, at 11:50 PM, September 06, 2005  

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