I’ve wanted to see Green Day live for about 20 years now. Much like anyone who came into adolescence in the 90s, Dookie remains one of my favorite all-time albums and “Basket Case” is my go-to karaoke song (I have been singing/yelling along to this song since long before I knew what on earth, “Am I just paranoid or am I just stoned?” meant).
I saw that Green Day was playing Webster Hall and immediately had the thought that I imagine a lot of you are having if you’re familiar with both this particular band and this particular venue: “Green Day is way too fucking big to be playing Webster.” So I did some research and saw that they’re playing a series of small venues in support of their new album, Revolution Radio, and will probably do a stadium tour later this year. I knew I wanted in on the small venue action. For once in my life I was blessed by the Gods of Ticketmaster and managed to grab a pair of really-hard-to-get tickets and proceeded to feel really smug about the whole thing.
So the show day arrived, the lucky friend I had invited to be my +1 and I went to the venue and found our spot in the crowd about 6 minutes before Green Day was supposed to take the stage. And then, like angels singing upon us from the heavens, “Bohemian Rhapsody” started blasting over the loudspeakers. Have you ever had a Bohemian Rhapsody singalong and NOT enjoyed it? Trick question! Because that is literally not even possible.
Finally, the band actually took the stage and launched into “Know Your Enemy,” and 1500 people jumped up and down and I could feel the Webster floor moving under us, and I thought, “Well, if the floor caves in right now, at least I died having fun.”
The next 2 hours and 15 minutes were spent singing and dancing and generally being mesmerized by Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day’s lead singer who is 44 but looks 19. Like all great Rock Gods, Billie Joe is a total badass and is cooler than you and me and all of our collective friends combined. At key moments he would just stand there doing absolutely NOTHING except looking out at us soaking it all in and I still think everyone in Webster last night would have jumped off a bridge if Billie Joe had asked us to. Shows like this one always have me feel a little nostalgic for the days when I used to attend mostly rock concerts as opposed to just the occasional one that I do now. There’s something about an energetic, charismatic frontman guiding you along in a rock and roll journey that is just not paralleled in other types of musical experiences.
Last night’s show featured a range of Green Day classics and samples of Revolution Radio, which dropped on October 7th. Perhaps the most unexpected moment for me came with The Isley Brothers’s “Shout,” which may have been the last thing I would have expected to hear at a Green Day concert, until they followed “Shout” with “Hey Jude,” which was just beautiful.
Though Green Day ended the show with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” a song I grew to hate after hearing a college roommate play it on the guitar all day every day for an entire semester, I still couldn’t help but sing along and enjoy the moment and maybe now, 14 years later, I can stop loathing it.
Green Day has yet to formally announce their larger stadium tour, though Billie Joe did say they’d be back to New York in 2017. Even though the small venue setting will probably always win out, I, for one, cannot wait.