Jason Freese, one of the touring members of Green Day (I’d name an instrument, but he plays many) let it slip in an interview back in March that the band would be playing a world tour starting in September, and the interview was immediately pulled and could not be found anywhere. Suspicious, right? So naturally, that was confirmation enough that it was true.
Lo and behold, September rolled around and Green Day announced a tour. But not a full world tour like we were expecting. Much better. A small club tour around the states in support of their upcoming album Revolution Radio, which would be out October 7th.
Again, naturally, I had a leak of the album before the first show of the tour and knew the entire album forwards and backwards. And it’s an amazing album. About a thousand times better than the 2012 Trilogy. Not that the Trilogy was bad by any means, but if a band gets a “that didn’t happen” album, that would be Green Day’s.
Revolution Radio, however, is perfect front to back. It’s raw and real and emotional, with just a touch of the political. That’s what Green Day seems to do best. And I was in love from the first listen.
When tickets for the club tour went on sale, I made a plan to catch a string of four shows on the East Coast in one weekend, as well as my local Berkeley show and a bit further south in LA. Unfortunately Green Day tickets are almost impossible to get, so I was only able to snag tickets to two shows, one for Boston and two for Philly. I bought the extra Philly ticket for my friend and fellow Idiot Jen, but she snagged her own set of two as well. And she miraculously got two tickets for Jersey and DC as well, so she hooked me up and I am forever grateful.
Berkeley and LA are other stories. Shows that don’t involve flying across the country, I’m a little less concerned about because I can risk doing stupid shit to try to get in. So that’s exactly what I did.
Dog Party opened for this tour. Dog Party are two badass ladies who can’t even buy beer yet, and they’re opening for Green Day. I’m amazed, but they absolutely deserve it.
I flew into Newark the morning of the Jersey show and took an uber straight to Starland Ballroom, right smack dab in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. I wish I was exaggerating. Someone made a comment about wanting to walk to Dunkin Donuts and we told him it was two miles away. There was a dump next to the venue where car parts were being auctioned off. Our options for a bathroom before the show were the woods or a porta potty. Literally the middle of nowhere. Thanks, Jersey.
Starland had a special early entry line for people who paid a little extra for a good parking spot. When I got there around 11am, I went to that line first to say hi to a few of my Idiots—Nicole, Shannon, Kayla, and a few others. But then I had to check out the regular line and saw two of my COTFs (who somehow are Green Day fans as well? I love when my fandoms overlap) Sean and Matt. I mostly hung with them all day leading up to showtime. Jen had my ticket, which was early entry, but she was coming from Philly and wasn’t planning on leaving til much closer to time for doors, so I had plenty of it to kill in whichever line I found myself in.
I also found an Idiot Matt in the regular GA line. We’d been Facebook friends since the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2015 which we both attended, but I don’t remember officially meeting him in person before the Starland show, so that was cool. He ended up being one of my East Coast tour buddies.
I spent most of the day super pumped and jumping around. It kinda rained a little, but it didn’t damper my spirits a bit. Not counting a few songs at the Tribeca Film Festival after viewing Geezer (now called Ordinary World) I hadn’t seen Green Day since they played Gilman in May 2015. That’s way too long to go without seeing your favorite band. I was so psyched that nothing could bring me down.
We had to order a pizza to be delivered to the venue. I’m really not kidding about how far in the middle of nowhere it was. Weirdest venue location I’ve ever seen.
Another COTF friend Biz came to visit with me and Sean and [COTF] Matt before doors opened. I’m mostly West Coast these days and he’s in Jersey, so why not come say hi? In other words, my music fams are the actual best.
Jen got there late to the point of I was starting to stress about it. She’s as big a Green Day fan as I am (and if you’re not aware, I am a BIG fan), so I was a little surprised at how late she was willing to show up. But we had early entry, so it truthfully wasn’t the end of the world. We’d get barricade no problem regardless of when she got there.
I spent so much of the day in the regular line that when I finally rejoined the early entry line, there were more Idiots present I hadn’t met yet.
Me: -blank stare-
Melissa: “Melissa. We’re Facebook friends!”
And now I adore her. I’m so glad she said hi to my dumb ass.
Our entry was almost as weird as the venue’s location. They made us line up inside near the bar before we were allowed to race to the barricade. Okay, no, we weren’t even really allowed to race to the barricade. But come on, it’s Green Day. You really think we’re gonna walk in a single file line? These small venues don’t know who they’re dealing with here.
Jen, Mel, and I got barricade on tour-guitarist Jason White’s side. Sean and [COTF] Matt somehow were able to get barricade as well, but on Mike Dirnt’s side. They took some killer shots, which I greatly appreciated because my phone was staying in my pocket the whole night.
They opened with “Bang Bang” which was AMAZING. Such a fun song live. Such a fun song in general if we’re being real. But I loved it as the opening song so much.
Unfortunately they didn’t play as much of Revolution Radio as I was hoping for. I would have loved to see “Say Goodbye” or “Bouncing Off the Wall” or “Forever Now” live, but nope. The only songs they played off the new album at this show (still pre-album release, mind you) were the songs they had already released: “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio,” “Still Breathing,” and “Ordinary World.”
This was the DEBUT of “Still Breathing” live though. And it was PHENOMENAL. Billie Joe definitely cried and it was great. It’s such an emotional song. I love it so much.
The crowd at this show was really intense. There were so many crowdsurfers. So many. All these big dudes kept falling on our heads. It was not pleasant. And we kept seeing the SAME big dudes crowdsurf. You already squashed us three times, isn’t that enough bro?
Venue security was not doing a great job at helping us out either, and Green Day’s main security guy (who I found out that night is named Eddie) was yelling at them for sucking. Thanks, Eddie! We love you!
And people were crowdsurfing to super inappropriate songs, too, like “Christie Road.” Why?! Can we not?! That is in no way a crowdsurfing song! That’s a hug-your-neighbor-and-sway kinda song.
I have written down “storytime before ‘Christie Road'” but I didn’t do a great job of remembering what that story entailed. Whoops. I know Billie put pictures of himself at 10 years old with his guitar Blue on the back of Blue (that sounds redundant. I’m sorry) and showed us that, so I can only imagine that’s the storytime I was referring to.
Note to self: Get better at taking notes to self.
Oh but hey, the internet is a cool thing!
But a great thing about intense crowds is that sometimes people around you are really nice and try to protect you. There was a young girl next to me with her dad behind us, and he was putting his hands on the barricade on either side of her to keep her safe while the crowd was going crazy, but he put his arms around me as well. I was so thankful. He didn’t have to do that. But I look young and unable to protect myself too, so it was so great of him to think to help me out rather than just his daughter.
Unfortunately the crowd was more powerful than even that though, so he couldn’t last that way the whole show. Eventually I had to fend for myself trying to remain vertical and not-a-pancake.
Another song on the setlist that really stood out to me was “Letterbomb.” I could be wrong, but this is the first instance I can remember hearing this song live. It’s been my favorite Green Day song for as long as I can remember. At 13 years old, I would listen to American Idiot on my CD player in my room every day before school, and that song was always beyond perfect to me. Beautiful. The music, the lyrics. It’s just pure good.
“It’s not over til you’re underground…”
Even if I’d heard it live before and forgotten, it was special seeing it here. My heart just soars every time.
At every show, they play “Longview” and call a fan onstage to sing the last verse. Mel’s friend Roger Walsh of the band Knucklehead got pulled onstage for the song. He did a pretty good job.
At this point, I’d only seen a full Green Day show three times in my life. So I was mostly singing along to everything I’d had memorized from Bullet in a Bible. When you haven’t seen your all time favorite band enough times, you kinda live and breathe their live DVDs. That one in particular is about as much in my bloodstream as American Idiot is at this point.
So naturally, Billie changes things up on me.
Cue me, Mel, and Jen screaming “HEY JUDY JUDY JUDY JUDY” along with Billie. Perfection.
We also crouched down (hands still attached to the barricade) with him while he sang from the floor. Must follow Billie’s lead. Always.
When we weren’t concerned with large crowdsurfing dudes, there was unfortunately another crowd nuisance. A girl behind Jen was resting her elbow on her shoulder with her phone in Jen’s face filming THE WHOLE SHOW. (She also migrated to Mel’s shoulder and face too.) If I was her, I would’ve smacked the phone right out of her hand. But I’m not, so I hope that girl enjoys listening to me singing loudly throughout all of her videos. That’s just obnoxious. Not to mention Billie hates phones out at shows to begin with. But to use someone else’s body AND film in front of their face?! The hell is that?!
After the show we asked the venue’s security for setlists, but they weren’t allowed to touch them. We were very disappointed by that fact. I want a setlist dammit! I doubt Green Day will care that much if you gave them to deserving fans.
Know Your Enemy
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
2000 Light Years Away
Welcome to Paradise
Hitchin’ a Ride
Are We the Waiting
When I Come Around
King for a Day / Shout / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
Jesus of Suburbia
We tried to find the band at the buses, but they never showed up. They probably high-tailed it out of there before we even had a chance to get outside. Oh well.
[Idiot] Matt had to say hi to the guy who drives the truck full of their equipment. I guess he’s been to enough shows to know him personally. People know their security, people know the guy who drives the equipment truck… Jeez I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
When we finally gave up on the buses, a small group of us Idiots headed to Denny’s to celebrate a successful first night of tour. Post-show food is my favorite. Gimme all the bacon please.
Then Jen drove me back to Philly where I crashed at her house for the night before the show the next day in her hometown.
Philly was unfortunately my least favorite of the tour. I hate that I even have a least favorite show of my favorite band, but I do, so this is it. Partly the fault of the venue (Tower Theater), partly my fault, not at all Green Day’s fault. They can do absolutely no wrong in my eyes. (Hell I even like the Trilogy.)
I had two tickets for Philly because I thought I was buying one for Jen, but since she also snagged two, she had her mom with her and I had an extra. I had offered it to a COTF I knew who wanted to go, but she flaked on me the day before, so I quickly messaged another COTF Blake asking if he’d want to go. He was in. Sweet.
Here’s where I goofed, though: My tickets were for the balcony, not the pit. I didn’t even realize there was a difference when I bought them. These are small club shows. Shouldn’t all tickets get me in the same place? Nope. Guess not.
Note to self: It’s not worth it to spend the money on a ticket to a show that’s not for the pit.
There were three lines to get into the venue and I absolutely hated the set-up. They had lines on each side of the building for the three different sections: pit, balcony, and seats. My sad little group of Idiots all had balcony—Jen, Melissa, and Matt were in the same boat as me. But we had other Idiots scattered in other lines so we wanted to socialize with them. But of course the line was hell, so people were super rude when we tried to come back to our spots.
So we tried to combat that by joining Mel in the front of our line where she was playing guitar. If we can’t sit with our friends in other lines, can’t we at least sit with our friend in our own line?
Security was not happy about that either. Holy crap.
And on top of that, it was cold and rainy for the second day in a row. Why.
We tried to say Melissa was our cousin (Are me and Jen sisters now? Sure, why not) but that didn’t help a whole lot.
Her passive aggressive Green Day covers kinda made my day though. Yes, this was totally an intentional choice of song.
Eventually Blake and another COTF friend Jamie showed up to the venue, and soon enough it was time for doors.
When we got to the balcony, I immediately looked at it and said “Hell no.” Blake and Matt joined me in sneaking downstairs to the seated section of the venue. I really wanted to sneak all the way into the pit, but no one wanted to join me and I was afraid to get kicked out of the venue by myself. Seats are at least slightly better, but not enough. Oh well.
I caught all of Dog Party’s set from where I sat, but I really had to pee and picked pretty much the worst moment to make a mad dash for the bathroom. Green Day has a tradition of playing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in full, loudly so we can all sing along, before sending the Drunk (but less so now that Billie is sober) Bunny onstage to hype the crowd up with the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
I managed to miss both. Boo.
They played the same setlist as the previous night, except only this time I could hardly see a thing.
At one point Mike made a comment about blowing the roof off the venue, and then pieces of the ceiling LITERALLY started falling. Green Day doesn’t joke about that kinda stuff.
Two of my Idiots, Fallyn and Stephanie, also had balcony seats, but spent the night at the venue and made sure they knew they wanted pit tickets. It paid off and they were able to trade their tickets in, so they were on the barricade all night. (I later took a page out of their book. See Berkeley below.)
That was my view. No bueno.
When Billie was calling a fan onstage for “Know Your Enemy,” Stephanie helped huge fan Evan Kentile get chosen. He’s autistic and has heart issues, so I think he was a little nervous about the experience, but he did amazing, and it was so great of Steph to try to help him out, and later scour the internet to find him and show him the footage everyone got of him.
He did a really fantastic job. And Billie is so wonderful. Ugh my heart. Security made sure he got back to his spot in the front too, I’m pretty sure.
Despite being so far from the stage myself, I went hard in the seats. You can take the girl outta the pit, but you can’t take the pit crew outta the girl. This is my band. They’ve had my heart and soul and ran through my veins for close to 13 years at this point. I’m not gonna let not seeing the stage ruin my night.
There was one guy in the row ahead of us who was also going hard and that made me happy. He seemed to just kinda watch me rocking out at times, but he made me feel a little less alone in my craziness. I live for people who go as nuts as I do, even if I’m not as crazy about the band in question as they are. It’s just a nice thing to see, ya know?
After the show ended, we went outside and met with another Idiot Shannon, who told us she heard whispers about the next tour announcement. We’re getting an arena tour in Spring 2017, and the announcement would be coming that weekend. Eeeek! This tour had barely even started and we’re already getting another?! Fuck yeah!
But I’m never doing not-pit again. That lesson has been learned.
Our group went out for cheesesteaks post-show, because when in Philly, must eat cheesesteaks. Duh.
Then Matt drove straight to Boston for the next show (after a day off, which I was taking advantage of), while I went back with Fallyn and Stephanie to Jen’s house for another night of sleep.
And then the very next show might have been my favorite of the tour. Either Boston or DC. I can’t decide. They were each perfect in their own ways. But I was really really impressed with Boston.
Fallyn and Stephanie live in upstate New York, and we had an off day between the Philly and Boston shows, so I hitched a ride with them north and spent my off day in New York City. I grabbed a drink with Biz and then met up with some Infernites (friends from yet another music community, the World/Inferno Friendship Society) for a night out. I then caught a 6am bus to Boston, just like good old times when I lived in Boston and took a bus between cities every few weekends.
So yes, you read that right. I spent my night off drinking in New York City and then took an early bus to my next destination. Team No Sleep!
What was really funny, though, was that I ran into an Idiot at the bus station who had the same idea as I did. I met Morgan at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2015 (I should probably just mention that everyone I know in this fandom I met there). We were both living in Boston at the time, but she now lives in New York, and had apparently gotten tickets to the Boston show as well.
Most of my crew from the past few days weren’t doing this show, but Matt was obviously already in Boston with another RRHOF Idiot Bethany. I found a few more, Nicole and Eileen, outside the venue as well. So that was my Boston crew more or less.
The show was at the House of Blues, which has been a very good venue to me. I’ve seen Rise Against, Rancid, The Used, and the Dropkick Murphys there. Adding Green Day to that list? Yes please.
Remember how I said the past few shows were rainy and cold? Well Boston took the cake. I couldn’t deal. I was okay in Jersey and I was okay in Philly, but I was not in the mood for Boston cold and rain. There’s a reason I left that city.
So I refused to stay in line for once. I say the line is half the fun, but I was so miserable that day. I kept leaving to go sit at a bar across the street or next door to the venue. If I wasn’t eating, I was in the bathroom trying to warm up using the hand dryers. How pathetic.
Then I did something even more pathetic. I bought the House of Blues’s VIP option to be able to go in the venue early. It didn’t lead to the pit, so I wasn’t cheating the system or anything. I just got let in to a fancy room upstairs where I could sit for a bit before doors actually opened.
I had hoped to be able to make a run for the barricade from the VIP room, but alas, I done goofed again and had another balcony ticket. How did I keep screwing that up?!
But I was not about to be stuck in the balcony again. Not today, Satan.
I saw another friend Cade upstairs and asked him if he was stuck with balcony too. He told me he had pit but just wanted to say hi to somebody. And he told me to sneak downstairs and join the pit anyway.
So that’s what I did.
I waited for a good moment when security wasn’t checking tickets between the floors to race downstairs. Once I made it through those doors, they had no way of knowing I wasn’t supposed to be there. Score!
(Hi, my name is Lindsay and I tell the internet when I sneak into the wrong section and/or backstage at shows.)
Pretty much my entire crew was on barricade and I’d never been in the pit for Green Day before (because my entire crew is always barricade). It was a new experience for the night, and completely by my lonesome.
Thankfully it was the greatest solo pit experience I think I’ve ever had. Worth it. Boston knows how to throw down, I’ll give them that.
I haven’t said a whole lot about Dog Party yet, so it’s time to remedy that. This was my third time seeing them this tour, and probably fourth or fifth overall. They’d opened for SWMRS/Emily’s Army/IDK-what-they-were-called-at-the-time before so I know I’d seen them prior to playing with Green Day. It was probably this show that I started really digging them. They grew on me.
Dog Party is two (very) young girls, sisters, Gwen on guitar and Lucy on drums. They both sing, and they’re more talented than I will ever be in my life and they can’t even buy beer yet. They’re opening for Green Day for god’s sake. That’s amazing.
They’re pretty straightforward punk, a little bit poppy. They almost remind me of old school Lookout bands in a way. They’re out of Sacramento and play Gilman fairly often, so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if those are the kind of bands they draw their inspiration from.
(The following videos are actually from Jersey, but ya know, you get the gist.)
Basically they’re just adorable and super fun and I was starting to really love watching them.
Then it was about time for my boys to come onstage. It’s such a great feeling being in the middle of that crowd when “Bohemian Rhapsody” starts playing. We’re all squished together screaming every word at the top of our lungs. It’s the best.
They changed up the setlist up a little bit tonight, and not in a way I was thrilled with. They changed the opening song from “Bang Bang” to “Know Your Enemy.” As someone who loves literally everything this band has ever released, I also know they have much better songs than “Know Your Enemy,” so it doesn’t need to be on the setlist at all, let alone starting the show off. But it’s a crowd-pleaser. It’s a song that Billie uses to call a fan onstage, and I can understand why opening a show with something that well-known is important. But come on, “Bang Bang” was such a great song to start the show off with! I loved it opening the show!
Aside from moving that song in the setlist, the rest of the show was the same as the previous two.
I found my mosh pit pretty quickly and had full intentions of staying there most of the night, aside from crowdsurfing. I’ve never crowdsurfed to Green Day before. I’m normally on the barricade, so this is a new experience! And I knew exactly when I needed to go up.
“Letterbomb” came on and my heart did that little thing again, and it was time to fly. I don’t even remember asking anyone to throw me, but I’ll never forget soaring over the crowd while my arguably-all-time-favorite song played and I watched the stage from the air.
I feel like I made eye contact with Billie while in the air. He probably didn’t recognize me, but I hoped that he did. If you’ve read my bio then you know he once blessed me when I sneezed, so we’re kinda BFFs, ya know. It’s casual. I would love to meet him again just to ask if he remembers that.
“I had just eaten mac’n’cheese and I sneezed and you said ‘Bless you’ and I said ‘Billie?’ and we took selfies together. Do you remember that, Billie? DO YOU?”
Yeah, it’s probably best if I don’t meet him again.
When I got deposited on the other side of the barricade, I tried to make my way back into the pit, but found myself momentarily stuck in the front.
Well this isn’t a bad thing, now is it?
I stayed in the front for the rest of the song and got to enjoy it in both of my favorite ways. Crowdsurfing and barricade.
Then for the fun part. Trying to find my way back to the mosh pit.
I know a lot of people tell me this is a stupid thing to do. If you crowdsurf to the front, why not take advantage of your new amazing spot and watch from there? Well, I was already set on this being a pit show. So I wanted back in.
A few people told me on my way back in that it wasn’t possible. I’d never make it back there. Watch me.
I do this weird thing where I walk backwards and basically melt into the crowd. I’m small so it works for me, but I know bigger people can do it too by just powering through. I, however, get through like magic, and all of a sudden I’m where I want to be.
But when that doesn’t work (because unfortunately it doesn’t always) I just point at the pit and scream “I’m trying to go back!” I’m doing the opposite of getting in people’s way who want to see the stage, so they should have no issue with me migrating. I’m helping them if anything.
Eventually I was back in that mosh pit dancing my heart out. It was absolutely wonderful. This pit was so loving, and it was full of complete strangers. That seems rare.
Naturally I was in there screaming along to every word. An older man commented on the fact that I knew it all, and as always, I had to explain that they’ve been my favorite band for more than half of my life, so something would have to be seriously wrong if I didn’t know every word to every song they’ve ever played ever.
I’m used to being part of the group that runs the pits at Coheed shows in the Northeast, but I hadn’t really run a pit myself until this show. It’s my favorite band, and those Coheed pits boost my confidence tenfold when it comes to moshing, so I took a couple chances with this crowd. As I mentioned earlier, they were the absolute best group of complete strangers to share a pit with.
I successfully got the whole pit to do this weird clapping on the floor thing during “Welcome to Paradise.” Ya know that part in the song where it gets all instrumental and cool? I have no idea why I decided getting on the floor seemed like a good idea, but it was pretty awesome when everyone followed and it just kinda became a thing. Loved it.
The guy who actually opened the pit (wait, was I there the whole time? I remember him opening it, so I guess I was) gave me a “Good job, kid,” for that. I was proud of myself.
Then during both “Christie Road” and “Good Riddance” (which closed the show, as always) everyone in the pit joined together to hug and sway to the music. It was really a loving pit! I knew no one, but we just knew to hug and it was beautiful.
Kinda a 180 from those big dudes crowdsurfing to “Christie Road” in Jersey.
When “Are We the Waiting?” started playing, a guy in the pit asked if I wanted to sit on his shoulders. Uh, yes please. That was amazing. Perfect view of the stage, sitting on top of the crowd but stable rather than getting tossed around, and swaying along to a beautiful song.
He kept me up there through “St. Jimmy” as well, which was ridiculous and fun. “St. Jimmy” is not a calm song. It’s musically tied to “Are We the Waiting?” but it’s a total flip in tempo. I loved being able to watch Billie and all his wild dance moves throughout the song, but the guy whose shoulders I was on was also dancing to this one, as was I, while in the air. Another girl who had been in the pit as well was on someone else’s shoulders next to me, so I grabbed her hand and we sang with each other. We’re all just dancing in the air, going crazy together, and it was a great moment.
Then there’s “King for a Day.” I know quite a few Idiots who are just so done with this song, but this being only my sixth time seeing them, I wasn’t as tired of it yet. It’s not a very long song to begin with, but Green Day draws it out for the purpose of both goofing off and taking a break. They all come out in costume and throw in a bunch of other songs while Billie sings from the ground. If you’ve never seen them before, it’s a lot of fun and probably one of the best parts of the show. If you’ve seen it a million times, you know exactly what’s coming and it’s just a little much.
I made it fun in the pit by following Billie’s lead similar to how we crouched on the barricade in Jersey.
When Billie Joe did the “A little bit softer now” in “Shout” and got on the ground, my group in the pit all got on the ground too. (Yes, I stole the idea from The Matches’ “Audio Blood” tradition. Fight me. It’s too good not to use.) And we stayed partying down there until it got “A little bit louder now” and we all jumped up together. I love the camaraderie of dancing together. That’s my favorite part of being in a mosh pit. Actually celebrating with other people, and not just alone near them.
Also it was a nice little break for all of us too. Dancing gets tiring, dude.
The last song before the final acoustic encore was “Jesus of Suburbia,” and toward the end of the song when it builds up (for significantly longer than on the album version) before exploding in “Hoooooommmmmmeeeee!” we all came together and hugged in a circle again, but we also did this weird thing where we all shook a foot in the center. Gotta stay hyped somehow!
After the show a guy told me he was watching the pit from the balcony and he thought I was gonna die in there, and that he was impressed with me. Dude, this is my shit. It’s always so funny to me when people are surprised that I not only enjoy moshing, but I can hold my own.
I got booted from the venue fairly quickly because I left my jacket in the VIP room and there was no reentry back into the venue from there, so I hung around outside while waiting for Matt and Bethany. The two other girls from the pit saw me and stopped to say hi/bye. Their names were Nicole and Britney and they told me I’m charismatic and they’ll never forget me. (Brb crying.)
“I love when girls stick together and don’t like elbow each other in the face!”
Me: “You guys are awesome!”
“You’re more awesome!”
Badass ladies in the pit are actually the best.
Then I was alone again, and “Jesus of Suburbia” came on the speakers. So I walked around in front of the venue singing along loudly until Matt came out to find me. I told him to look for the girl screaming all the words and I think he thinks I’m insane, but it’s okay, because Idiots get it.
Someone recorded most of the show so that’s cool.
My journey to DC was kinda different. I had intended on going to DC from Boston and spending my off day seeing the city because I hadn’t really been there since 8th grade. I spent like maybe 12 hours (probably less, and some of that was sleeping) there months prior because I was seeing the World/Inferno Friendship Society in Baltimore, but that was a pitiful attempt at actually seeing DC.
But then the friend whose floor I assumed I could crash on made it pretty clear to me that we’re not even actually friends. Well, so much for that plan.
So I spent my off day in New York. Yet again. I’ve never lived in New York, but it feels more like a second home to me than anywhere else. (Which is also how I felt about San Francisco before moving there, but that’s home now and I wouldn’t trade it.)
So I took an overnight bus from NYC to DC, and got there at about 4am. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get coffee and head to the venue, or try to get some sleep.
I ended up just killing a little time at the bus station and then heading to the venue (9:30 Club) to sleep on the sidewalk.
It’s not the first time I’ve ever done that, but it’s definitely not ideal either. I don’t really recommend it to anyone because the show isn’t as enjoyable if you hardly sleep the night before. Priorities, ya know? But it wasn’t exactly my choice as I didn’t have a place to stay and I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to see Green Day when I actually had a ticket to the show. That’s not an easy thing to swing.
Luckily Shannon showed up around 6am with a sleeping bag in tow. She laid it out like a mat and I used my backpack as a pillow and was able to get five hours of not completely godawful sleep. Then I found a Starbucks to do my makeup in, finally grabbed some coffee and grub, and was ready to start another long day of line waiting.
Oh hey, there’s a Billie Joe.
I bought some supplies to make signs for this show. I’d never made a sign for a show before and I was a little afraid of not being able to get them in the door. Signs are bigger than glitter. But I had finally gotten enough courage to try to be called onstage to sing “Longview.” So I had to try.
I also made a sign that just said “Holden Caulfield” on the off chance that the band would be open to a last minute set change for a request. It’s my other favorite song aside from “Letterbomb” and it would make me so happy to see it live. It’s also one of Billie’s favorite songs, so I thought if he was open to requests, it was a good one to try.
That one was done in vain, unfortunately. I don’t think it was even acknowledged. Boo.
There were a bunch of people there that had won a contest, probably through a radio station, and they were getting let in before us. That was extremely stressful, considering I had literally slept in front of the venue, and I was only fifth in line.
But amazingly enough, we were still able to get barricade and the contest winners did not! They probably had their own special section (balcony?) to watch from. I’m glad I’m not a contest winner, because I would not be okay with that. But free is free, so ya know, it’s whatever.
The setlist was the exact same as it was in Boston, but it was a different experience entirely being at the barricade, getting to interact with Green Day themselves. And this crowd was significantly more calm than the Jersey crowd. I survived the entire show without any crowdsurfers landing on my head.
The girl behind me kept apologizing for “bumping into me?” when really she was an absolute angel. I wasn’t even a little bit squished. I could not only breathe, but also dance with zero issue at all, and I danced plenty. It was wonderful. Why apologize, girl? You can stand behind me at every show if you want.
I was on Mike’s side and we made eye contact a few times. I love that man.
When it was time for “Longview,” I pulled my sign out of my pocket and unfolded it. That’s how I was able to get it in. Do what ya gotta do. Mike saw it and he looked as if had he been the one to choose who to pull up, he’d have picked me. He kinda pointed me out to Billie, but then he picked a young kid instead. I can’t be mad if he’s picking a kid. Kids are always the best anyway.
Green Day absolutely killed it. They always do, but something about this show was just a little extra. This was my favorite show next to Boston, meaning this was my favorite barricade show. The venue was a really cool little space, too. Seemed smaller than the House of Blues, so that was cool.
During “King for a Day,” Mike came out onstage wearing a mask of his own face. The masks were crucial in the music video for “Bang Bang,” and they were now selling them as merch. They’re a little bit creepy if you ask me, but it was really funny seeing Mike wearing a copy of his own face.
Did the whole band wear their masks? They might have. That’s just the instance that struck me. I had trouble watching Billie while Mike was wearing it. It was just that ridiculous.
At the end of “Good Riddance,” Mike and Tre came back onstage with Billie and it was super cute. They picked him up and carried him off. It’s so hard not to love them with all that I have, and there’s nothing better than being surrounded by friends who feel the same. (Jen was back for this show, so I had my best Idiot with me again.)
I got one of Mike’s picks, so that made me super happy. I had one of his picks from the Gilman show in 2015 (which he thew directly at me), but this one was different.
Then my crew went off in search of chili dogs that were recommended to us, and Shannon drove me to the airport (where I was headed off to New Orleans to see I the Mighty) and we talked about the upcoming Lookout! Records festival in Berkeley, the Lookouting.
There was a decent amount of time off between the DC and LA shows. I was in New Jersey for a Coheed and Cambria show and flew from there to LA, only to realize while on the flight that LA was simply a layover, and the flight actually continued all the way to my home of San Francisco.
Remember when I said my ticket for this show was scalped?
Green Day wanted to make sure only the hardcore fans got tickets to these small club shows, so they attempted to combat scalpers by making it credit card entry only. That means that you need the credit card used to buy the ticket to gain entry into the venue.
Different venues were handling this differently. In Philly, for example, I had to give them my name and ID and they found my tickets from a list.
If that was the case in LA, I would not be granted entry into the venue.
However, if they were running the credit cards, I would be fine because the scalper who I bought my ticket from mailed me a prepaid card that had been used.
Part of me was exhausted from my Jersey ‘Heed trip, and part of me was afraid that after such a great weekend with my COTFs on the East Coast that even my favorite band couldn’t top it. And of course a big part of me was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get into the venue and that by leaving the airport rather than getting on the next plane, all I’d be doing is adding so much more time to my journey home.
Cue all of the stress.
Do I leave the airport? Do I try to get in with my scalped ticket?
I spent my time in the air using the flight’s wifi to message my friend Shar who had been in front of the venue since morning. She told me to take the chance. So I did.
And it worked.
There were about a thousand metal detectors set up, which means that if they hadn’t already checked people’s names off a list and given them their tickets, they were just running cards and letting them in.
Holy shit, I’m getting in to this show.
I got there right before doors, so I was cutting it super close. But I made it.
A woman Shar had befriended in line, Jenny, let me throw my backpack in her car as soon as I got there.
The lines were organized alphabetically, which was extremely shitty. It’s bad enough when there are multiple lines to get in, but telling the people they can’t even choose what line to stand in is just a thousand times worse. I felt so bad for all the people who had camped out for the show and were probably being screwed out of barricade.
I didn’t care though, because I knew I didn’t deserve barricade for this show. I was happy for another night of moshing and crowdsurfing if that’s what it came to, and it was. My line wasn’t moving. I felt like it was the universe’s way of telling me that’s what I get for jumping in the main line with Shar, but again, those poor people in front of me did not deserve that.
I ran into my friend Kat once (finally) inside the venue. We hadn’t talked in a while and she was there with her boyfriend, but it was still nice to see her for a bit.
There was pizza in the lobby of the Palladium, and while it didn’t hold a candle to the pizza I had just eaten in New York, it was something.
Then because I left the pit area, I had to squeeze my way back in. I’m becoming so much more aggressive thanks to shows.
There’s this whole killer clown craze going on right now, which is pretty terrifying, but during Dog Party’s set, a clown came onstage and Green Day’s Drunk Bunny took him out. Beautiful.
When Green Day hit the stage, I was instantly squished to the point of my feet were no longer on the ground. This has happened to me only a few times before, but it never gets less awful. I don’t like not being in control of my own body. Time to find a mosh pit.
It took me a few songs to find it, but eventually I did. I can breathe again!
For the second time I had to crowdsurf to “Letterbomb.” And again, I made my way back into the pit only to be met with “Why didn’t you stay in the front?!”
“I’m a pit crew girl! This is what I live for!”
And I proved it. I opened the pit up myself a few times, and I was definitely helping to run it.
I don’t think Billie pulled anyone onstage for “Longview” this time, which was weird. He teased it, but that was about it. What is going on here?
Me: “I lived on Stuart & the Avenue!”
The only other person in the pit who seemed to know those songs was one of the guys who threw me up to crowdsurf. We acknowledged each other’s level of Idiot-ness. It’s nice to not be alone.
One thing I wasn’t too thrilled with, though, was that there were entirely too many circle pits going and not enough straight up moshing. Circle pits are fun, don’t get me wrong, but variety is important too.
I was the only girl in the pit for most of the show, but every once in a while another would join. There were two young girls I danced with for a bit and they were cool.
Billie Joe seemed to mess up the lyrics to quite a few songs. He just kept getting them wrong and I was very amused by it, but no one else in the pit seemed to really notice. I love when musicians mess up. It makes them seem more human.
He also talked a lot about Armageddon and California falling off into the ocean. He generally talks about peace and coming together, but Armageddon? You’re in a fun mood today, Billie.
“At least we die together!”
I cheered really loud for that.
We had another nap time during “King for a Day” and the guys in the pit were so amused by it. The entire pit stayed on the ground the whole time. I was so proud. Some of them were even filming the pit just partying it up there on the venue floor.
Speaking of filming… Another complaint I have is that too many people were trying to film from the pit. Hi, we’re trying to dance here. Would you like to keep your phone? It’s not really safe in the air right now.
I managed to injure myself this time, which does happen. It’s part of the pit experience. I fell really hard on my knee at one point and had to stand out a song. I’m sorry, body. You’ll get a break one day.
During the build-up at the end of “Jesus of Suburbia” I’m standing there shaking my hands in everyone’s faces, wiggling and staying hyped. The dudes were awesome again, and one took his t-shirt off to hold like a bull fighter for another guy to run through. The one with the shirt looks at me and goes, “I’m following you!”
That went exactly as you’d expect. It was hilarious and fantastic.
After the show ended, the guy who was actually doing most of the pit running told me I was a lot of fun, so naturally I told him that I do this so often and in so many cities that I should be paid for this.
He told me he wished he could’ve seen Billie’s collaboration with Norah Jones Foreverly live, or at least an acoustic set.
Me: “I want RevRad live!”
We parted ways and I went straight to the bar to get some water. The bartender asked me if I liked Red Bull and offered me a free one. Well yeah, but…water. I took it anyway. Again, sorry, body.
The guy who sang “Private Ale” in the pit with me wound up at the bar at the same time and turns out he lives in Berkeley. Gotta love people who love this band enough to road trip it.
Shar had already disappeared, but I found Jenny at the end of a mile long merch line. I wish I was exaggerating, but it was truly the longest merch line I have ever seen. At least it was a line though, because too often I see merch mobs and those are awful. At least lines kinda move and have an order to em.
We were at the very end of the line, and by the time we made it to the merch table, a few other notable people had joined in behind us. Namely, Madisyn Shipman, the young actress who played Billie Joe’s daughter in Ordinary World. I wanted to take a picture with/of her, but I didn’t know how to ask without making it super awkward. It was really casual. I didn’t need to make it weird.
I bought Dog Party’s latest CD Til You’re Mine because by this point, I was definitely a fan. And I don’t feel like a good fan if I don’t own any CDs.
I was one of the last remaining stragglers outside when a guy who works at the venue came out with a bag of drumsticks and started handing them out. I was really excited thinking maybe they were Tre’s, but alas, they were not. Maybe Dog Party’s, but not Tre Cool’s. One day.
Getting into Green Day shows is always an adventure for me in some way or another.
I did not have a ticket to the Berkeley show. At all. Not even a scalped ticket. But this was my local show, so if there was any to go to sans ticket and hope for the best, this is it.
I got to the UC Theater at 11pm the night before the show. You read that right. I wanted to make sure everyone knew how dedicated I was to getting into this show, so I posted pictures on all forms of social media tagging the band and the venue, making sure the world knew I was there and I needed a ticket.
I slept in my car because fuck sidewalks.
And then my campout hit a bit of a snag when two girls showed up around 8am claiming they were the first ones there the night before. Well I slept here and already started the Official Idiot Numbering System up to 13, sooooo. They left, I didn’t, and then they gave me a hard time for being there sans ticket.
“Oh, so you won’t even get in!”
Bitch I will fight you. I’m getting into this show, so help me.
I’m not really religious, but I believe in a little thing called Green Day Magic. It has never failed me before. I’ve seen Sweet Children open for Green Day, a thing that makes no sense to have ever happened in my lifetime, and I saw Green Day play 924 Gilman on a weekend that I just so happened to be visiting Berkeley before ever moving there, without even knowing about the show. If those events can happen, I can make it into a show in a city I live in.
This is the same venue the Matches are playing next month, so all the Matches posters outside made me really happy. I can’t believe I’m seeing both of my favorite bands at the same venue. One that’s in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, and one that most people have never even heard of.
It was probably 6 or 7am when Mayte showed up with some oatmeal for me, and then Kitzya got there a little while after and we made a Starbucks run. Gotta fuel up for the long day ahead of us.
Here are all of the things I did to try to get tickets:
- I put myself in charge of numbering the first 50 people in line so I could ask everyone who joined the line if they had any extras. The venue security gave me a hard time because they don’t honor the numbers. It’s the Official Idiot Numbering System!
- I asked venue security if they would be releasing any tickets that day. They swore they wouldn’t, but I knew they were lying. Venues always have extra tickets to release day of. (Spoiler alert: They were totally lying.)
- I called in to Live105 to try to join the Make Out for Green Day tickets game they were playing. If a couple came in and made out with host Kevin Klein, they had a shot at getting tickets to the show. This is the one and only time I’ve ever had this radio station pick up my call, but it was a fail. None of the guys in line wanted to pretend to be my boyfriend, but Mayte was willing to be my “girlfriend.” However, I had to get to the station in San Francisco within half an hour, and I was mostly just chicken about faking a relationship, let alone a lesbian one.
- I made signs to wear around the venue advertising my lack of tickets.
- One of the security guards complained about me taking his parking spot (and I told him I had been there since 11pm so I wasn’t moving until I had to), but then when a better spot opened up I ran and found him to let him know. He turned down the parking spot, but appreciated me for looking out for him, so he told me he’d let me know if he heard about any extra tickets. And he apparently told Green Day’s security (Eddie!) about me, so worst case scenario, maybe Green Day themselves would get me in.
- The band was running a contest in every city on Instagram. They would post a picture of a map with a boombox on it and the first person to find the boombox wins tickets. I just happened to be in my car when it was posted so I drove as fast as I could and ran til my legs gave out, and it was still too late. Apparently the guy who found the boombox found it AN HOUR BEFORE it was even posted on Instagram. Cheater.
Super defeated, I head back to the venue and resume numbering people in line. And then something amazing happened.
A guy told me he had an extra ticket I could buy! I did it! I had a ticket! All my hard work finally paid off! It only took 14 hours, but ya know, it happened.
People had been so helpful all day. People were sharing the picture of me with my signs on the internet, people were retweeting my request for tickets, people active on the Green Day Community were posting about how I needed one… It was just great. I felt so much love and support, even from complete strangers. People were rooting for me.
Once my car was moved, I had to move it every two hours, which sucked. At one point I wandered past a comic book shop. I walked in and stopped dead in my tracks.
They were playing Green Day on the speakers all day. It was intentional.
Marnie didn’t get there until after work, but she joined me and Kitzya in the front of the line. There was a dude ahead of us in line all of a sudden who did not belong. I let the girls who were supposedly there first (and left) go ahead of me (because there was only two of them), and obviously the guy whose ticket I bought (because we needed to go in together), but this new guy had no business being there. He was extremely drunk and Marnie and Kitzya wanted to cut him. When Kitzya unintentionally broke a mirror, I thought it might actually happen. It didn’t. We were adults and told security to remove him. He didn’t even have a ticket. (Yes, I sound like a hypocrite, but I’d been trying all day. He got there like an hour before doors and was just sitting there rambling drunk.)
A random girl on twitter posted this awful picture of us under the marquee.
And then a woman from a newspaper took a picture of me and one of the other girls in the front of the line.
Dog Party’s dad came up to me before doors opened and told me he recognized me from Boston. I didn’t ask how exactly he recognized me, considering I wasn’t on the barricade that night, but I assumed he probably saw my crazy pacing screaming “Jesus of Suburbia” after the show. I don’t know why else anyone would remember me. Anyway, I had him pass on to his daughters that I think they’re awesome.
Marnie nicknamed him Dad Party. I love it.
Getting into the venue was actual hell. (Isn’t it always?) The UC Theater did not know how to handle Green Day fans. They decided at the last minute that the way they wanted to check tickets was with ticket confirmations. The hell?! No one told us we needed them! How would we have them?! And they weren’t clear about what we could and couldn’t bring in the venue. If they decided to take something from someone, they didn’t have a place to leave it. If you don’t have a car, you’re basically screwed.
The guy I was with had a little camera, which normally isn’t a probably because it’s not professional. But they decided to take it from him, and he had to figure out how to leave it with security when they weren’t prepared for that. It wasted time and they continued to check people behind us while we waited. I didn’t blame the guy, but I very much blamed security.
Everyone was pissed. I was worried I wouldn’t get barricade because of it.
BUT I MADE IT. I got a good spot in front of Mike with all of my Idiot ladies.
“Youngblood” live for the first time in Berkeley was kinda the best thing ever. The entire venue screamed “FUCK YOU I’M FROM OAKLAND” so loud, I don’t think that song at any other show will ever top it. Too perfect.
However, “Forever Now” live was absolutely the greatest thing ever. It was so beautiful and amazing, and it’s basically my new favorite song.
Billie forgot the words to “Letterbomb” this time, along with another song or two I think.
For as much as he talked about Armageddon in LA, Billie’s topic of choice in Berkeley was how much he loves the East Bay. Big difference.
The crowd was super tame, so I wasn’t squished at all, but I was feeling bloated and my legs were swelling (thanks, body), not to mention being tired from the lack of good sleep the night before, so I took a step back from the barricade about midway through the show. I was still in the front, still had that perfect view of the stage, but for some reason I just couldn’t stay barricade no matter how much I wanted to. Boo.
Overall it was a really amazing show, though. It’s Green Day, so that goes without saying. I was so happy that I got into the show that I almost cried during “Know Your Enemy.”
“I just love them so much.”
Watching them play the new material and sometimes screw it up, I don’t know, it just felt so raw and real. Like they aren’t rockstars, they’re just people. And I love it. And I love them.
The whole album is so raw and real, and that’s why it’s so good.
People were handing out posters after the show that weren’t the ones hanging in the venue. The guy who handed me mine told me I deserved it after being there all day. I appreciated all the love.
If you don’t have at least one line day, did you even follow a tour?
The day after the show Kitzya and I went to the actual tracks at Christie Road to be complete Green Day tourists. Worth it.
There was a time when I saw Green Day play the Cleveland House of Blues thinking I would never again see them in such a small venue. But then I saw them play Gilman, and now I saw 6 shows on a small club tour. That’s Green Day magic, for ya. This band means the world to me and I’ll never get sick of seeing them.
Feature photo credit: Jane Tyska (East Bay Times)