I can vividly remember where I was when I first heard Green Day‘s classic album, Dookie (released February 1, 1994). I was nine years old in fourth grade. About a month later is when my mind would be blown forever.
My mother was part owner/investor of a candle and craft country-style store in St. Cloud, a bustling little rural town about 20+/- miles south of Orlando. One day in March 1994, I went with her on a monthly visit to the store for meetings with her business partners. While they had their meetings, I was “babysat,” if you will, by the business partner’s teenage son and his friends, probably 13 or 14 years old. I kept pretty quiet while they played Sega Genesis video games with the 32X adapter (ahh, the good old days). They would let me play every now and then, but I couldn’t tell you what games we were playing. I was more interested in was the music they were listening to.
At nine, my music appreciation was present and accounted for, being that I was actively taking piano lessons, but as far as listening to music on the radio or tape or the new age compact disc, there wasn’t much to account for. Whatever was on the pop station or on my parent’s soft rock oldies station is what I basically listened to. My older brother listened to hair metal stuff, but I never really embraced it or understood it. I had no real idea of the wide variety and specifics that music could offer. One of the few things I said to those teenagers that day was:
What music are you listening to?” Their reply, “The new Green Day album, Dookie.”
A few days later I was at the mall with my aunt and cousins, and I made it clear I had to go to the music store “to get Green Day’s Dookie.“ I must have listened to it thousands of times in the next few weeks, and a few thousand more over the course of the past 23 years.
Flash forward to September 5, 2017, and I’m driving from Orlando to Tampa for my first ever Green Day show. Although I am yet again traveling to a show alone, I was just as excited as the nine year old me back in March 1994.
I tailgate in the parking lot for a half hour and finally decide it is time to head in to catch some of the opening act. I make it about five cars down the isle and strike up a chat with another dude who is there solo. He compliments my Offsping shirt and the conversation gates are wide open. I would go on to spend more than half of the show with my new friend, Leo, in the very back middle of the lawn, where there’s plenty of room to act a fool. We’re running around in circles, moshing, just the two of us, and singing as loud as we possibly could.
Catfish and the Bottlemen open up the show. We catch the last half of their set. I had never heard of them but they were great and kept my attention; however, all I cared about was Green Day. Leo and I get more Yuenglings during the set break.
The intro starts with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” being played over the PA system, followed by “Blitzakrieg Bop” (The Ramones) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (Ennio Morricone). It’s like listening to the the best of the radio to get pumped up. I get chills singing along with the crowd as we await Green Day.
The show has a solid start with “Know Your Enemy,” “Bang Bang,” and the current hit “Revolution Radio.” Not my favorite tunes by far, but I could care less as I bounce around the lawn trying not fall down or drop my beer. Any song I hear tonight is my jam.
“Holiday” is the first track which I get genuinely excited to hear. From there on, whether it was “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” my all time favorite “Longview,” “Hitchin’ a Ride,” or “Welcome to Paradise,” I was a kid in a candy store all hopped up on … sugar.
I’m so overcome with joy. I get the chills on more than one occasion. One instance in particular is during “I Walk Alone” as I ponder the walk down the long and winding road of life that awaits ahead of me.
Check out my highlight video below which includes a clip of “I Walk Alone,” courtesy of The Sober Goat.
For the last half hour of the show, I make my way down to my seat in the front left section (pretty damn close compared to where I was coming from). I meet up with my photographer for this show, the lovely Vanessa, who was shooting from the pit for the first two songs.
Green Day puts on more than just a concert, they deliver a true show. Awesome lights, pyrotechnics, multiple banner backgrounds throughout the show, welcoming young fans up on stage to sing or play guitar, and a political rant which morphs into a call for unity. They got it all.
Check out this Instagram video clip of “Are We The Waiting” courtesy of The Sober Goat.
“American Idiot” is the first encore song. Cool. BUT THEN, the most gangster Green Day song ever begins… the 9+ minute “Jesus of Suburbia.” This song has five movements:
- I. “Jesus of Suburbia” (0:00 – 1:51)
- II. “City of the Damned” (1:51 – 3:42)
- III. “I Don’t Care” (3:42 – 5:25)
- IV. “Dearly Beloved” (5:25 – 6:30)
- V. “Tales of Another Broken Home” (6:30 – 9:10)
I was moved at least five times. Wow, I get chills again. I’ve heard all I need to hear.
I stay for most of “21 Guns” and then start to make my way towards the exits while “Good Riddance” sends me off with absolutely zero fucks given.
I am so damn satisfied, and it only took 23 years.
Thank you, Green Day. I love you. Please come back to Florida soon!
I’ll gladly accept a “Dookie 25th Anniversary Tour” in 2019.
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