4/20 memories

Three years ago today American Idiot opened on Broadway. Of course it opened on Four Twenty. Here are a few photos from that night, including one of my favorite photos ever: my photo with Billie Joe Armstrong.  

I’ll be heading to New Haven, Connecticut in a couple of weeks with a friend to see the wonderful and energetic non-equity tour of American Idiot. Can’t wait!


This Brutal Love: Green Day Plays Barclays, April 7th, 2013

Nothing describes a Green Day concert on the floor better than the title of a song off of Tre, “Brutal Love.” You will sweat. You will get kicked. You will get stepped on. You will get shoved. You may find yourself in a mosh pit. You may even get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. But all the while you’re smiling because there’s no place you’d rather be than down in front, and center, at a Green Day concert.

My friends and I were about midway back when we finally made our way down to the floor at Barclays. The venue was far from capacity and the opening act (Best Coast) was far from going onstage. If this was as far as we got, that’d be fine (but we knew we’d get closer eventually).


Best Coast eventually came on and in retrospect, I enjoyed them (and it turns out I’d heard them before because they have a song on the Girls soundtrack!). But really, does Green Day need an opening anymore? It’s like giving Paul McCartney an opening act – you just don’t. Anyways, Best Coast was good, but after listening to them for 25 minutes and getting amped up with a recording of Queen (video! this video just makes me so happy), we were ready for the main event.


The lights lowered and the guys came out, the crowd on the floor moved forward (obviously), and it began. They opened with 99 Revolutions off Tre, because it’s the 99 Revolutions Tour, duh. They played a half-dozen songs off the new trilogy and then started to dig pretty deep into their catalogue (Burn Out, Going To Pasalacqua, She, etc.).





Now this side! AY-OOOOO!!

The full set list is available here. I think my favorites of the night were Stop When the Red Lights Flash, Holiday, St. Jimmy, Letterbomb, Stay the Night, and Brutal Love. Okay, I really liked all of them. But especially Stop When the Red Lights Flash. Holiday can still get a crowd going like it’s their job, as can Letterbomb. It was really cool to hear X Kid live (first time, I think?) and I was glad they closed their first set with Minority (Warning FTW!). 

Side note: The lighting designs on this tour were pretty fucking fantastic. Kudos to whoever programmed those lights.



As promised in the beginning, we made our way to the front. Well, about four people deep. Not bad. Above is the packed stadium that was now entirely behind us. The crowd was amped again when their encore included American Idiot and everyone’s favorite 9-minute anthem to how much living in small town America blows, Jesus of Suburbia



King for a Day.


St. Jimmy!


Brutal Love.


I snapped this shot at some point during the show and I’m pretty sure it captures exactly how we all felt: on air, elated, although covered in sweat. There’s no better pain than the kind you feel after a Green Day concert. Your ears are ringing, the lower half of your body is in extreme pain from three hours of jumping and dancing, you have no voice, and you’re covered in sweat.

But like I said at the beginning: there’s no place you’d rather be then right there.



Dos!, the second installment in Green Day’s trilogy, was released on Tuesday and it’s been a good week ever since. Before listening to it, I read in AMNY that it was the low point of the three albums. Awesome, I thought, this one will definitely be my favorite! (Since the album Warning is one of my favorites and it’s often cited as the near-death of Green Day…)

Anyways… I’ve listened through Dos! probably ten times since Tuesday and I absolutely love it. Here’s the rundown: 

See You Tonight: A quick, acoustic one that’s kind of sweet. It’s far from one of my favorites, but I definitely don’t dislike it.

Fuck Time: I don’t think I really need to go into much description about this. The guys wrote this song in 2010 after it became a pre-show ritual at American Idiot. They wrote it and performed it as a Foxboro Hottubs song, but I’m quite O.K. with them recording it as Green Day. It sounds a tad different from when I’ve heard them play it live, but it’s still an awesome, rockin’ time. (I love the shout-out to Amanda Jones at the beginning of the second verse too. God, that woman certainly left a mark on Billie Joe’s soul.)

Stop When the Red Lights Flash: I’d heard this for the first time at Webster Hall in 2011. It’s a solid song, and one that I definitely enjoy. I need to look over the lyrics to this and Oh, Love and see if there’s any relation (because in that one they say “don’t stop when the red lights flash,” so why is he now telling us to stop?). Definitely love the opening guitar riff too.

Lazy Bones: Took me a couple of listens to warm up to, but I like it now.  Again, I love the intro riff. This song makes you realize why Billie Joe might’ve put himself in rehab after they finished up these albums. 

Wild One: This is one I skipped over at least two times. It seemed to go on for forever. But after listening to it for a few times, I grew to appreciate it. It’s sweet, really.

Makeout Party: I remember loving this one at the Webster Hall concert and I still love it.   Awesome opening riff, uptempo, and I love the lyrics. 

Stray Heart: It’s definitely more pop than rock or punk. Almost sounds like something that could’ve been played at a 1950’s Sockhop? I love the chorus.

Ashley: Who is the girl that Billie Joe wrote this for?? She’s sounds vile, but I’d like to meet her. He certainly did a number on him and pissed him off. But I think we can all relate to being strung along by someone. In short: I love this song. One of my favorites on the album.

Baby Eyes: I hate the title, but I love the opening riff. This is probably one of the songs I like less on the album. Probably because I don’t understand the lyrics yet.

Lady Cobra: This was written for the lead singer of Mystic Knights of the Cobra, a band that’s pretty popular among some my friends (though I’m not very familiar with them). Another awesome opening riff that pulls you in right away. It’s a solid, awesome song.

Nightlife: Featuring the aforementioned Lady Cobra, when I first listened to this song, the first thought I had was, “WTF is this?” It is probably the furthest thing from typical Green Day fare since 2000’s Misery. Billie Joe’s voice is distorted, it’s featuring a female singer, and the lyrics are out there (even for him!). I really like this one though – or rather: I’ve grown to appreciate it over the past couple of days.

Wow That’s Loud!: They played this at Webster Hall and I loved it then, and I still love it. I love the opening and recurring guitar riff – as has been the case with so many of the songs on Dos!. I haven’t listened closely enough to the lyrics yet to figure out what the song is about exactly, but I adore it regardless. And that’s saying something.

Amy: This one leaked around Halloween last year and I think it’s a great way to end in the album. It’s one that was written for Amy Winehouse and it’s a really pretty, simple, melodic song. And when you find out it was written for Amy Winehouse, it’s also pretty sad.

Those are my thoughts on Dos!. I think it’s pretty unique, and I also think it’s a pretty good album, so sue me.  Nightlife has to be heard by everyone, so you can listen to it above. Leave your opinions below on it if you have one. 

Green Day Rocked Irving Plaza.

On September 15th, Billie Joe Armstrong proclaimed that he was all of our fathers and we couldn’t have been happier to welcome him into our families, even if it was just for one night.

The guys still know how to open a show after 20+ years of performing in tiny bars and huge stadiums. They opened with “Welcome To Paradise” and we, the crowd, agreed. We were in paradise. I was about five people from the stage during the opener and was almost pushed to the ground, and while Matt had his contact knocked into the side of his eye, we retreated for a moment to get ourselves together again and, of course, grab more drinks from the bar.

Green Day barreled through a 38 song set that we thought, and hoped, would never end. When Billie stated that he’d be playing all fucking night, we responded with elation. He talked briefly about performing on “Americas Got No Talent,” and just kept going further and further back into their catalogue to perform songs none of us would’ve expected to hear like Brat, Scattered, and J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva).

The crowd got going most noticeably during songs like Holiday (when Billie Joe jumped off the stage and up onto a risen platform stage right to play the Representative of NYC), Hitchin a Ride, and Murder City.

Towards the end of the night, it was well past midnight and so it was September 16th, the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Billie Joe’s father, and so he changed the lyric in Wake Me Up When September Ends to “30 years has gone so fast.” The moshing stopped for a moment, for at least the songs duration.

I think I can safely assert say that it was an unbelievable night for everyone present.

We exited Irving Plaza that night, sweaty and exhausted, opting not to try to catch a glimpse of the band as they exited. I walked across the island to 8th avenue totally blissed out (in addition to being sweaty, exhausted, deaf, and sore!) listening to the sounds of a relatively quiet 14th Street at post-1am on a Sunday morning.

Days later my wrist band is still proudly fastened around my wrist (although my hearing returned relatively quickly on Sunday).

The night went by way too quickly and it’s all still kind of a blur, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else on September 15th, 2011.

Less than four months until Barclays!

I told you I’d find a way in and I did. My friend Andrew was able to buy tickets on Tuesday when they went on sale. Then we both ended up winning the Nokia/AT&T contest, so I was able to bring my friend Matt and we both rocked out. 

Last night was a dream. It was a wickedly awesome 38-song set. I don’t really have words to describe it, but today I was sore, exhausted, and last night I was sweaty and out of breath from the screaming and jumping. My point-and-shoot died after a photo or two, but here are some of my favorites that I took on my iPhone. I’ll write more later!

We’re leaving… And on April 24th, 2011, they actually meant it. They did leave. I will never forgot the show or the concert afterwards on the stage of the St. James. There are lots of heads (because everyone was standing), but here are a few pictures. 

Check out the videos of the entire post-show concert on my YouTube channel!