I’m not going to use a cliché by saying “it was the best day of my life.” But I will say it’s on my list of days I will remember forever. On the 21st of October I achieved one of my life’s small goals. Despite the fact that I will do my leaving certificate this year and this little trip meant taking time off school, it was something that HAD to be done. After school that day in October, a friend and I boarded a train for Dublin, 3 hours later and a quick taxi ride and we had arrived at our destination. It was thronged by people dressed in the same t-shirts as us emblazoned with the images of the band we had come to see.
I have to admit that I pulled the wheelchair card that day. But there has to be some perks to the wheels! My friend and I got to skip the queue as a steward beckoned us over to the entrance. To get to the door we had to pass the whole queue and for some reason that neither of us will ever know the entire crowd started cheering. Yes it really was at us they were cheering, because the next person that walked recieved raucous roars as well. The third person to be roared at went by on a motorbike and was wearing a helmet. This is only a rumour but it turns out that the drummer drove his motorbike by the crowd to get them all worked up in every other city, I never saw his face, but I’m going to run with the idea that it was him.
My friend and I were the first in the arena! (The Wheels paid off!) I have a sneaking suspicion that one other guy in a wheelchair took the wheelchair card one step further and got to meet the band… I tried this too, but was given the rather blunt answer of… no. You can NOT blame a man for trying though can you?
We had some of the best seats in the place, but I couldn’t go to the moshpit (I didn’t want to get crushed considering I’m three feet below everyone else.) Still though we had an amazing view of the action. The support act were well into their set when we got to our seats, I won’t go into too many details, but the Prima Donnas were a good supporting act, so good luck to them.
I’m sure by now you know exactly where this article is going, but here’s another clue:
With the prima donnas wrapping up, the crowd got into a frenzy, made worse by the pink bunny. A drunken character that has become a staple of the band’s shows.
Then the crowd became completely ecstatic as the band walked on… for the first time in my life I was within 100 metres of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool.
I’m not going to say it was the best day of my life (I’m definitely not going to say I had the time of my life, because that would be a MAJOR cliché) but I will say it was the best concert of my life and that’s saying something considering I had spent the previous summer going to concerts like those of Linkin Park and Nickelback.
What I think makes a Green Day concert so enjoyable is the sheer likeability factor of Billie Joe. I completely regret not meeting him that night as I had hoped would happen (wishful thinking I realise). He’s such a charismatic character. He’s the kind of frontman that makes an audience of 65000 people (as in Milton Keynes) comfortable (or completely excited.)
It was a high quality concert, the band played 40 songs or more from both old and new albums. They engaged in the usual camp as a row of tents medley of Shout and King for a Day (the band dressed in costumes reminiscent of the village people for this one.) Again Billie got the audience all worked up as he, “played with himself” on stage.
Also included was a story by Billie when he related the events of his first Dublin concert. It was in the upstairs room of a pub, Billie told us, and the band were told to make the supporters stop dancing in case the floor caved in on top of the pubgoers below!
Of course no Green Day concert would be complete without the fan’s rendition of Longview. One lucky audience member was pulled onstage to sing this song (about sitting around the house all day doing nothing but smoking weed, watching tv and… well, playing with yourself!) Near the start of the concert one other fan was pulled onstage for another part of the show where Billie Joe “saved” the 9-year-old girl in the new-age christian style. It was these little spectacles that set Green Day’s show apart from every other I have seen. Most bands just go onstage, play the songs, then leave. Green Day captivated the audience with jokes, gags and fantastic performing of both their old and new songs and covers as well for over three hours. Of course the night came to a truly inspiring end as Billie played the band out with 21 Guns and the anticipated Good Riddance on acoustic guitar.
I’m sure many people were lost in the reading of this and gave up long before the words Green Day were mentioned. A few more probably decided to stop reading at the sight of the words Green Day too. This is known as the Green Day Lashback effect. It seems that just as sure as gravity makes apples fall off trees there will always be someone who does not like Green Day. But Green Day for me is so inspiring. I became hooked on Green Day when we met their tour bus on a ferry from Holyhead to Rosslare. Unfortunately the band had decided to travel by plane from England that day, but I treasure the American Idiot t-shirt that the roadies issued us with!
Through Green Day, I have discovered unique music, they have inspired me to continue playing music now even though I don’t attend the school of music in Cork anymore. While in Billie Joe I have found my idol. For personal reasons, Billie will always be one of my role models.
Furthermore in all the Green Day fans on the Idiot Club and the Lushies on Facebook I have found new friends and wonderful people to share my passion for great music with!
“Do you know what’s worth fighting for?” Well it’s “not worth dying for” but I think Green Day are worth defending since “it’s something unpredictable” I’m sure, but they’ve shown me “the time of my life”. That’s right I’m a “basket case” for Green Day and to all you haters, just leave now because all I can say is “good riddance….”
Alright I’m done…
A portrait of Billie Joe Armstrong as drawn by me!
Crazy Billie, As Drawn by Me!