Wednesday December 9.
I’ve seen Green Day perform live 2 times already. Both occasions were in Sydney. In fact, Green Day popped my concert cherry in 2001. I saw them perform at the Hordern Pavillion during their Warning tour. The Hordern is an enclosed concert hall, with removable seating on the sides. It sounded perfect. Bodyjar were their warm-up band. Green Day hop on and the crowd goes wild.
Fast forward to the second concert in 2004 – the American Idiot / Bullet In A Bible tour. This time it was at the SCG. A n open area that’s home to AFL, NRL, and Cricket. I had general admission tickets and I managed to get up close to the stage, but not too close. I can’t stand mosh pits. They are very early 90s. They’re nothing now. Green Day were awesome, but the sound quality lacked. This was because they were in an open area. Everytime Billie Joe strummed the guitar, the magical notes would float into the sky, and the crowd would only get 50% taste on their eardrums. THey made up for it with a fancy colour screen and American Idiot confetti being shot in the air. Plus they made 3 audience members hop on stage and perform Hitchin’ A Ride. They got to keep the instruments. Big fail on the audio front due to open air quality control, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Fast forward again to present day – 2009. Green Day performing their 21st Century Breakdown tour at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. They’re a little older, and so am I. I’ve been given access to a seating area, only a row and a staircase away from the general admission area. However, I’m close to the stage. I can see Billie Joe without using glasses or binoculars.
Jet are the opening band. The first time I saw them was when they were unknowns in 2003. They were the opening warm-up for The Rolling Stones. I still remember their last song they performed that night and what was said:
“Thanks for listening! This is our debut song which will be released in 3 months. This is Are You Gonna Be My Girl. Enjoy The Stones!”
4 months later, it’s number 1 in the charts.
In 2009, they’re opening for Green Day. Jet are that bloody talented, it seemed like a waste of time. They need their own show. Their performance was fantastic, but the setup felt like they weren’t allowed to outside Green Day. They performed their songs one after the other, with little interactivity. But I guess that’s what a warm-up band is all about. To entertain and get the crowd psyched – not to outshine the band everyone paid money to see.
After Jet jam out their hits, some dude in a pink bunny rabbit costume comes out on stage, drinking beer, and dancing to YMCA.
This performance lasts for about 10 – 15 minutes, much to the crowd’s amusement. Flips and jumps are done. Noone knows who the real identity of the bunny guy was. However, it seemed to have the personality of Billie Joe, so that’s whom I’m putting my bet on.
2 minutes later, Green Day surface onto the stage. They breakout with 21st Century Breakdown. Naturally, the crowd goes wild. Tre Cool, Mike Dirst, Billie Joe muck around, psyche the crowd up, and brag on how much they love Brisbane, etc etc.
Then out of nowhere, Billie Joe leaps off the stage, runs along the side of the general admission area, up the stairway, and stops next to me. I’m speechless. He rips out a few frets from his guitar. We make eye contact and he gives me the Bill & Ted guitar strumming hand gesture. Being the typical Aussie bloke, I pat him on the back and say “How’s it goin’ mate??”. My friends next to me have their jaws drop to the ground in disbelief. I can’t believe it myself. He then runs further up the stairway and grabs a guy from the aisle seat. The guitar is thrown over him and Billie Joe stands behind him and instructs him to play. So naturally the guy does. The crowd is going crazy. Unfortunately, this is where iphones are shit and fail on you to get a decent camera shot, as this picture proves.
After this moment, Billie Joe runs back to the stage, and the show goes on.
All their new stuff gets played early, then 45 minutes into the show, the announcement of going ‘old skool’ is made. I stand up and go absolutely nuts. They’re all there: Brain Stew, Hitchin’ A Ride, Poprocks & Coke, Welcome To Paradise, Basket Case, Jaded, Minority etc. They were all there and they were all backwards.
In the middle of the show, 3 audience members are given a chance to perform with the band (circa 2004). Instead of keeping the instruments, they stage dive into the crowd. Billie Joe also runs out with a t-shirt cannon and fires it wildly into the audience. The pyrotechnics work overtime as fireballs, explosions, and sparks fly from the stage, with a magnificent lighting display.
It also happened to be Tre Cool’s birthday, so Billie Joe gets the cake out and throws it in his face, much to his delight.
In between songs, the show turns into a jam session, with cover songs of Ramones, AC/DC and Johnny O’Keefe cutting through. It’s for fun and noone gets hurt.
After a stellar 2 and 1/2 hour performance, Green Day prove that they aren’t slowing down. Keep it up fellas!