Green Day in Chicago


July 13th, 2009, I went to Chicago with my buddies Scott and Arvin. Much respect to Scott, who got me the whole catalog of Green Day. This was my first Green Day concert, and I was very much looking forward to it.

Arvin, Scott and Me

Green Day’s new album record: 21st Century Breakdown points to economic uncertainly in the shadow of political transition. Although those are heavy sentiments indeed, the ever-evolving trio turned one of this summer’s most anticipated tours into the ultimate party, peppering in these message-centered anthems, but playing plenty of hits in between. I pretty much fainted when Green Day came on stage, and the skyline of Chicago in the background appeared. They opened the set list with “Song of the Century” leaning into “21st Century Breakdown” track. The lyrics from this track: “My generation is zero…I never made it as a working class hero..” is to be ponder upon.

Jason Freeze did Micheal Jackson tribute

For me, it’s not about the particular moments, it’s a whole magical experience that leaves you dizzy and slack-jawed. I know people like to relate the little tidbits, the moments when Billie said this or did that, or one of the other band members did whatever, but there is no essential moment for me. Yes, there were bits I noticed and loved, like the fact that when they played “Welcome to Paradise”, and then again in parts of other songs, like “Longview”, “Basket Case” and “She”, using the same wide-legged stance, with one leg thrust forward, and his head banging. At various points, he donned police cap and feather boa, used a T-shirt gun to fire merchandise into the second deck, and employed a retrofitted leaf blower to shower the crowd with toilet paper, saving a child on “East Jesus Nowhere” or trying to taste his nipples in the middle of the stage..lol. Confetti filled the air at the close of “Minority,” and indoor fireworks cascaded over the band during “21 Guns.” Green Day also opted for a medley of sorts during the quirky” King For A Day” with snippets of “Earth Angel” and “Shout” as Armstrong got a bit cheeky in showing his buttock, yet also paying tribute to Jackson 5 on the snippets of “I’ll Be There”. It came off okay despite saxophonist Jason Freese delivering a good solo dressed in a vintage Michael Jackson circa “Beat It” ensemble with the appropriate dance steps. The constant interaction between Armstrong and fans was great. All of that onstage and lyric-driven message mongering – would have been for naught if Green Day didn’t deliver musically. Which they did, whether it was with the power-chord crunch of “Brain Stew,” the echoey football chant singalong of “Are We the Waiting,” or the lone-man-on-acoustic-guitar, sentimental strum of the prom-theme closer “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”

Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are a vise-tight rhythm section. And while the auxiliary players added power and a smidgeon of subtlety, the principal attraction of the mature, high-minded Green Day remains the same as it was in its juvenile delinquent incarnation. This concert was amazing from start to finish. I don’t think I ever had this much fun. They really knows how to get involved their fans, giving them a chance to sing with them, play guitar along with them. This was my first time seeing them and surely much more to come in the future!


Setlist

  1. Song of the Century
  2. 21st Century Breakdown
  3. Know Your Enemy
  4. East Jesus Nowhere
  5. Holiday
  6. The Static Age
  7. Before the Lobotomy
  8. Are We the Waiting
  9. St. Jimmy
  10. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  11. Hitchin’ a Ride
  12. Brain Stew
  13. Jaded
  14. Longview
  15. Basket Case
  16. She
  17. King for a Day
  18. Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)
  19. 21 Guns
  20. American Eulogy

1st Encore

  1. American Idiot
  2. Jesus of Suburbia
  3. Minority

2nd Encore

  1. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
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