Green Day @ Barclays, 3.15.17

I’ve seen Green Day a handful of times now. I don’t know how many; I don’t keep track. But I do know that music brings people together and anytime Matt and I are brought together for Green Day, it’s a good time. I failed to secure GA tickets when the presale came out months ago and we debated what or how to get seats for the past several months. 

Well, it came down to game time this year. Or, I guess you could say, it came down to Fuck Time. We bought seats in the nose bleeds on StubHub four hours before and we thought, well, it’s Green Day and our seats for PNC in Holmdel, NJ in 2010 sucked, too, but it’ll still be awesome to be in the room. When we arrived at our seats, which were basically on the right side of the stage against the wall, Matt and his girlfriend sat down and I went to ‘use the bathroom,’ aka scope out new seat as I’ve never been one to accept the shitty seats I’ve been dealt, even if they were the ones I bought. Nobody puts baby in the nosebleeds.

I found an area, still on the second level, but lower than where we were, directly across from the stage, that was inhabited by a railing, three or four high top tables and a few folding chairs, with a few people milling about. I scoped out the area, leaning against the railing, seeing if anyone would tell me move, and after 3 minutes, I rallied to the troops to relocate. The view was much better and we were all more than happy to sit (or lean) for the duration of the concert. Photos and more thoughts after the jump. 

Against Me opened and they were great, but we didn’t really pay attention to them. The setlist was the standard setlist that they’ve been playing on this arm of the tour and it included King For a Day, which although it’s a song all of us would like them to stop playing for the rest of time, I couldn’t help but sing along. Matt and I performed as much of the American Idiot choreography as we could. Some dude rocked out during Longview and BJA asked him after, ”are you trying to take my damn job?” BJA asked after, and I’m pretty sure the fan Billie Joe pulled up onstage to sing Know Your Enemy didn’t actually know the lyrics. 

I have a newly found respect for a couple of the songs from Revolution Radio that they played, mostly Youngblood and Forever Now

Billie Joe, a master in the art of subtlety let out an exasperated, “Fuck you, Donald Trump!” at the end of Letterbomb

St. Jimmy was out of this world energized. Always a favorite of mine to see performed. 

We watched on in horror, and also laughing, at the two kids who were sitting in folding chairs covering their ears and sulking while they’re parents (probably mid-to-late 30 something’s) danced and embarrassed the hell out of them.

The GA area was outrageously small and had no energy in it whatsoever. The three of us plus another couple who were probably of a similar age had more energy than all of the kids on the ground. I’ll just say this: There were far too many seats on the floor and the first rule of Green Day is: you don’t sit at Green Day

The energy was high for the first encore which included American Idiot followed by the sensible 7-minute Jesus of Suburbia

Lastly, I’m glad they’ve gone back to ending with Good Riddance. It’s just not the same when they don’t. 

i have a thousand other thoughts but they’d make no sense and this “review” is pretty consciousness as it is. Green Day concerts, regardless of where you’re sitting, are always a good time and should always be attended when possible. They bring people together and get people off their news feeds, even if only for two-and-a-half hours. The backdrops, pyro, and lighting were fucking awesome, too. Snaps for whoever designed the tour. Last, but not least, here are a few photos:

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So much pyro onstage!

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Tiny GA section. 

At the Barricade // Green Day @ Webster Hall, 10.8.16

I’d spent the last number of weeks looking for an extra ticket to see Green Day at Webster Hall. I posted on the event page, on my feed, friends feeds, etc. I was super annoying. But even as Saturday approached and no ticket was in sight, this wasn’t my first time at this rodeo and I had absolute faith that I’d get in. At 2pm on Saturday as I was laying down to take a nap, I looked st my phone to find a text from a Green Day friend asking if I still needed a ticket. After she verified that she knew the person and that she was not a scammer, I happily PayPal’ed her $100 and napped for about an hour.

I met up with a few Green Day friends at Bar None before going to meet up with my new best friend. There weren’t actual tickets, so we went in (luckily avoiding the entire square block long line to get in, thank fuck) and our names were checked off a list and our wristbands slapped on. Pictures after the jump 🙂

Webster Hall was already pretty packed so instead of trying to get closer going the way that everyone else was going (ie. the side closest to the door), we went to the opposite side and got right up against the barricade – pretty much – on the side. It was a first for me to be so close to the front, albeit the side, at a Green Day show, and at first I was like ‘where are all the people coming from that security is escorting out?’ and then I realized they were likely crowd surfers. Security sometimes pushed their way through us behind the barricade, too. Well, it was something. But we were close and got lots of love from BJA and Mike during the show, which was totally fun.

They played a 36ish song set, including some throws WAYYYYYY back that I hadn’t listened to in a LONG time. I probably appreciated hearing Nice Guys Finish Last and Minority, since I’m a huge fan of Warning. I’d never heard Nice Guys live before! I also, of course, loved hearing Bang Bang and Revolution Radio performed live.

Billie rhapsodized a lot on us all being together and to forget Facebook and the news for one night and just be present. I appreciated that. Still, there were a lot of phones up the entire time. Oh well.

American Idiot was especially timely given the state of our politics. And Jesus of Suburbia… who doesn’t love a 9-minute song cycle?

After two and a half hours of jumping, dancing, screaming, and singing we were sufficiently beat. I wasn’t deaf, which was surprising given how close I was to a few speakers.

I also picked up a completely affordable $40 shirt because no trip to see Green Day is complete without that.

I felt energized and inspired leaving the East Village but also really happy to go home and sleep. Because was I ever exhausted. But it was worth it. So, so worth it.

I was really, really confused when I first listened to Green Day’s new track, Bang Bang, from their upcoming album (!) Revolution Radio yesterday morning on Spotify. I got somewhat that it was from the POV of a mass shooter but it wasn’t until I watched the video they made accompanying the song with the lyrics that I realized, yes, this is exactly that.

And the lyrics are subtle as fuck.

Not since the band’s criticism of the Bush administration on American Idiot have they been really political or this discreet with their lyrics (in my opinion). They criticized the hell out of that administration and never once mentioned their names.

But the thing is: I’m not sure which mass shooters they’re criticizing. Billie Joe was quoted saying he was inspired to write the song and the album after joining in a march in NYC for Michael Brown and his unfortunate shooting by the police. But the song sounds much more like a commentary on the Omar Mateen’s (the Orlando shooter) of the country than a commentary on bad police shootings. Basically it sounds like he’s calling out Islamic extremism.

Before you get your panties in a twist, I think it is 100% possible to talk about Islamic extremists without painting every single Muslim as a terrorist (because they’re obviously not). If a Christian went out and killed people and said it was for Jesus, we’d have no problem calling him/her a Christian extremist without implying that all Christians are bad. So, if you can’t handle me using that phrase, than scroll to the next blog and enjoy living your life with trigger warnings. (Side note: all religions are bad, in my opinion.)

I digress. Anyways, I think this is probably the case because of the following lyrics:

I wanna be like the soldiers on the screen
It’s my private movie (Holy War)
Oh baby, baby, this is Viva Vendetta
Oh this is love or it’s World War Zero

What soldiers? Most likely ISIS since the news likes to play videos of them all the time. Holy War? Hmm. Viva Vendetta? ISIS just released a list of reasons why they hate us (meaning western culture); one of which was for invading their lands. And the lyrics,”I want to be a celebrity Martyr” just make me think this is about religion

Then again there are these lyrics that make me think it’s about the Dylan Roof’s of the country:

I am a semi-automatic lonely boy
You’re dead, I’m well fed
Give me death or give me head.

Lots of these mass shooters who haven’t been motivated by Islamic extremism often have in common that they’re loners who aren’t good with girls (give me head). They come from decent families (I’m well fed) who don’t see it coming (or maybe they did and ignored it).  

But despite the supposed-lyrics that it’s about all of the mass shooters, let’s not forget the bridge music that sounds very, very, very like Arabian/Middle Eastern music (2.05 mark in the song). The sound bites before the song starts, too, are about executions which are exclusively an ISIS/Islamic extremist practice right now (at least in the news; I know other religions have partaken throughout history, thank you). 

I really haven’t found much discussion online so I’d love to know what your take on the song is. All I know is that, despite the topic, I love the song. And I love the subtly. It’s American Idiot all over again. There are even homages paid to St. Jimmy and Letterbomb in there.

October 9th can’t get here fast enough.

A Little Story About “Joy”

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I saw this trailer and thought I wanted to see it because Jennifer Lawrence is awesome and she looked like she was playing a badass. I mentioned to my mother that we should see this on Christmas and she said, “Oh yes! We’ve met Joy several times. She’s the one who gave dad your guitar!”

Remember this guitar? The one that Billie Joe Armstrong signed all those years ago? I knew it had been a freebie that my dad had been given, but I had no idea by whom. Turns out Joy Mangano rented warehouse space from the company that my parents have worked at for decades. She also apparently lives in a massive estate two towns over from us. 

Back to the movie: I liked it. It left out things like the fact that she went to my alma matter: Pace. And they cut out one of her children. D’oh. The movie starts when she’s a child and building things and then fast fowards to her meeting her husband, having more kids than she should have, and working at an airport. So much for those dreams. After getting her hands cut up on some glass while mopping up wine, she invents the Miracle Mop and we go from there.

I liked the movie a lot. Mangano was a badass who handled mafia men without blinking. Jennifer Lawrence did a great job, too, as did Bradley Cooper for the most part. Despite how the previews make this look like a Silver Linings Playbook Part 2, it’s very much not at all. 

PLAY THIS MOVIE REALLY FUCKING LOUD!

Ben and I caught one of the two (or three?) screenings of Heart Like a Hand Grenade, the documentary about the creative process behind Green Day’s American Idiot, last night on the Upper East Side. Our theatre was half-empty but it was nevertheless a good time. 

Heart Like a Hand Grenade was like sitting in your living room and reuniting with old friends for the first time in a while and picking up like no time had passed at all. It was like listening to your favorite high school album for the first time in a decade (even though we all know that we have for sure listened to this album at least a couple times a year for the last 11 years).

The lights went down and onscreen was a notice, “PLAY THIS MOVIE REALLY FUCKING LOUD.” To be honest, they could’ve played it louder, but I’ve been hard-of-hearing from Green Day before so it’s probably best that it wasn’t. Billie Joe and Mike haven’t aged a day in 11 years. They took us through every track on the album, the recording process, the mixing process, and mixed it with cuts from a concert in California, presumably the first time they played through the album (oh, to have been there..). I laughed when Billie Joe was complaining about people on message boards trashing Warning and I wanted to jump up and be like, “Fuck those guys! Warning is the best!” You know, after American Idiot and Dookie

HLAHG was funny, serious, sad, and hilarious. The guys even thanked the fans in the credits: “Thank you to the fans who waited 11 years for this documentary.” You’re welcome, dude. As big fans: we left the theatre happy and sated. If you are in the music business or a Green Day fan, this is definitely worth a watch. 

Pizza and Shakespeare

A couple of weeks back, my friend Andrew (who I met years back because of his enthusiasm for Green Day and goes to as many concerts a week as I do shows) and I hopped on a MetroNorth train up to New Haven to see a matinee of These Paper Bullets. Shakespeare and music by Billie Joe Armstrong? Consider me there. But before the show, there were two must-haves: Frank Pepe’s and cannolis. We had both (well, we saved the cannolis for the ride home but whatever) plus the most delicious $1.75/pint beer (it was basically PBR, but Italian, so much classier):

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We ate all of that. It was delicious. There were no regrets.

It had started pouring in New Haven literally the second that we stepped out of the train station, but we put up our hoods and umbrellas and walked over the Yale Rep to pick up our tickets and wait for the show to begin.

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I liked the show. I didn’t love it. The music was all very Beatles-esque and catchy, and thus good, but I wanted more of it. The creative team is very spot-on with not wanting to call this a musical, but more of a play with music. The cast, which included the fabulous Stephen DeRosa and the brooding David Wilson Barnes, was great. Very solid acting chops all around.

My only critique of the show was that it could’ve been just as good if it was a solid 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission. I know they were trying to update Much Ado About Nothing scene by scene, but large parts dragged and were unnecessary. They had a talkback afterwards and it was cool to hear about how the show came together.

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I was shocked at how little I knew about the cast beforehand and how many of the cast members I’d before in shows in New York. Love out of town try-outs. Unfortunately we missed the earlier train back though and had to wait around for one an hour later. Worry not though, we had cannolis to keep us company.

These Paper Bullets was entertaining and a ton of fun, but I’m not sure it’ll have a life after Yale Rep. Who knows though!

11 SONGS WE WISH GREEN DAY HAD NEVER RECORDED

Dear Kerrang: No. 

Misery? Misery is a hauntingly beautiful song. Restless Heart Syndrome is deeply emotional song. Warning? Let’s see you write a song made entirely of warning labels. Troublemaker? It’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s different. Nightlife? Also insanely different. It’s not your typical Green Day song. 

You know what I wish was never written? This list. 😉

11 SONGS WE WISH GREEN DAY HAD NEVER RECORDED

Uno, Dos, Tre…

I’d bought a ticket a few weeks back for Cuatro! at the CBGB festival and completely forgot what day it was for until about two days ago. Luckily Tanya was also going, so after a long day of work yesterday, and a delicious meal of authentic tacos at a tiny little place called Oaxaca on a street called ‘Extra Place,’ I met up with her at the Anthology Film Center on 2nd and 2nd.

Because the band, and CBGB’s, is awful at planning, they booked the premiere of this film on the same night as Broadway Idiot, and since Broadway Idiot had a talkback afterward, of course everyone went there. There were probably 15 people at Cuatro!, but we didn’t care. We were there to have fun. 

It was a incredibly fun trip down memory lane and made me remember how much fun October 2011 to April 2013 was. It was amazing to see their creative process and how much fun they have while at it.

It also made me want to pick up my guitar (which has been sitting in it’s case for a few weeks now) again. Which is always awesome too.

I look forward to see Broadway Idiot soon, and all the future documentaries to come from Green Day (fingers crossed, right?).