Green Day - August 18, 2010, Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto
I say "AAAAAAAAAAAAY OHHHHHH!" (and said it a LOT, at the prompting of Billie Joe Armstrong...)
Green Day has been on my "must see" list for what seems like forever. Loved them in the 90's when they broke with Dookie, and their last two albums, "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown" have been among my favorites of all time - both concept albums that are rich in content and musical diversity from start to finish.....and best listened to in that manner in order to hear the entire story unfold. Green Day is a band that has something to say - important things, but while saying it, still maintain a sense of fun in the spirit of rock 'n roll. They (unlike other rock stars with a message, not mentioning any names *cough* Bono *cough*), provide the audience with thought provoking commentary without taking themselves too seriously.
Quick, pre-show rant:
public transit to the show was madness....arrived late due to transit problems that caused us to miss the majority of the opening act, AFI. What I caught of them was great, but sad I missed the majority of their set because I've heard good things.
Got felt up by security. Buddy should have bought me dinner first. Seriously. (do I look like the type to conceal stuff in my ass?)
Ridiculous venue regulation number ?....Bag search resulted in Jakki having her CD's confiscated. Why? Because she could have used them "as a projectile".
Paid nearly $30 for two beers
In my flustered state at all of the above, mistakenly marched into the men's washroom for my bathroom break and didn't realize it until I was well past the threshold. A multitude of dudes just sort of looked at me quizzically as I slunk out.
Content in our second row of our section and perfect view of the stage, felt nearly suicidal when the man arrived to take his seat in front of me who turned out to be freakishly, gigantically tall. I'm talking like a 7 foot mountainofblueshirt in front of me. The music Gods must have decided to cut me some slack, because he sat for all but the last 20 minutes. Will have to sacrifice a virgin to them later in thanks....anyone know where I can find one?
Green Day took the stage at 8pm, which is bizarrely early for a rock show. Turns out, they needed the extra time as they launched into a marathon 3 hour set. They started off with recent fare off the latest album and went non-stop like a whirling dervish for the duration. At one point, Billie Joe said "this is the part of the show that I say we're going to play ALL FUCKING NIGHT!". I really think they could have. Billie Joe Armstrong is a tiny little man. Like 3 apples tall. But he is so full of boundless energy it makes him larger than life and his band mates Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool keep up and then some, each exhibiting their own brand of showmanship and talent.
They played all the favorites, even going back a couple decades for some "old school" fare. Favorite moment of the night had to be where Billie Joe stood at the mic, silent, twitchy, with eyes shifting back and forth....the entire audience knew what was coming before it happened...Basket Case, full tilt.
They were all about the audience participation. A few dozen pit dwellers wanna hop on stage and rock out with the band?....no problem! At one point they plucked a fan out of the audience after polling them on who knew all the words to Longview....and let him play front man for the entire song, complete with flying leap off the drum stand at the final bar. This had to be one of the best moments of this young man's life - being a rock star for those few minutes, and being rewarded further once he was done by being handed a guitar to take away with him as a parting gift. While it could be argued that the audience would prefer to hear the band perform this song, being one of the unquestionable favorites, it was a treat to watch Billie Joe able to rock out without being tethered to the mic and display his amazing guitar wielding skills. The only instance of this I wasn't completely in love with was the covers section of the show (including a medley of clips of "Eye of the Tiger", "Iron Man" and "Hey Jude" to name a few), and then an extended version of "Shout", where each band member took a turn at the mic. While it was a display of Billie Joe's musical talent as he took on the abandoned instrument while it's owner "sang" (drums, bass, and at one point, the saxophone), it briefly tried my patience and I wanted them to get on with their own stuff. Covers are cool, but it was Green Day songs I was there to hear. I think I was in the minority however (ha! "minority"...get it?!), as the audience ate it up and begged for more.
As the band left the stage, the crowd went ape shit. They didn't have to wait long - the band returned within minutes for their encore, starting out with the crowd pleasing American Idiot, followed by Jesus of Suburbia, one of my favorite all time Green Day songs, clocking in at 9 minutes plus, with its fantastic rolling tempo changes. It was friggin' epic.
They then came back for a second encore and treated us to an acoustic version of their ballads - Last Night on Earth, Wake me When September Ends, and closing with Good Riddance. As he sang, to the backdrop of his acoustic guitar "I Hope you've had the time of your life", I can honestly say that, YES, yes I DID indeed. I don't have enough thumbs to put up to accurately depict how much I enjoyed this show. Billie Joe, Mike, Tré....you rocked my everlovin' world. Thank you.