I was all set to write this. I had the general flow of everything in my head and was ready to tackle this recap of my amazing weekend. And then Billie posted this message to Instagram.
I can't express enough how much love is in my heart for all of you in our green day community.
for me to try to put it into words almost feels awkward. sometimes I don't always like to use the word "fan". I think I can speak on behalf of me mike and Tre when I call you family or community. Because you all truly grew up together with us and shared this journey together.
this is more than an award. it's the privilege to play music, write songs and follow this psychotic passion called rock n roll.
and We share this honor together. because honestly YOU ARE our rock n roll hall of fame. idiot nation forever
rage and love
ALL. THE. FEELS.
I can't stress how much I love that man and his band. You could tell from his Induction speech that he was truly humbled by everything that was happening. It was beautiful. But we will get to that later. Now that my eyes have dried from his message let's try and recap the weekend from heaven.
Thursday, April 16th:
I arrived at House of Blues around 7:30 AM and there was a line of about 50 people in front of me. Not too shabby. People had camped out overnight and I considered it, but decided to sleep in my own bed and get there early in the morning. I brought my iPod for the long day ahead of me to keep me occupied as I was the only one going to the show and wasn't sure how the people around me in line would be. What a delightful surprise my fellow Green Day fanatics were. I quickly became friends with the others around me. The two girls immediately in front of me were in from New York City and were fascinated by how cheap everything was in Cleveland. It was hilarious and they were both really cool. Another kid named Ryan was in from West Virginia and was also there by himself. The girls behind me, Shannon and Becky, were in from Pennsylvania and were wonderful as they let me use their blanket and jacket throughout the day to survive the brutal winds we endured. We've since become Facebook friends.
This to me was one of the most incredible things of the whole weekend. I became friends with complete strangers. That's sort of the reason you get into music, religion, sports, etc. It's that sense of community. We were all here together to celebrate our favorite band going down in rock 'n' roll history. I was blown away by the immediate connection I had with strangers who quickly became friends. People had flown in from all over. Seattle, London, Los Angeles, etc.
House of Blues handed out lanyards to the first 36 or so ticket holders in line (I was number 32) around 9-9:30. These lanyards allowed us to leave the line to use the restrooms, grab food, or whatever. It also cut down on any chance of people cutting in line. It's a neat policy and something that needs to be implemented more to reward the fans that are there all day.
Let's jump to the actual show shall we?
There were rumors all day that the original drummer, John Kiffmeyer, would be playing with Green Day at the show. I couldn't process that. Sure enough when the show started and the PA speakers announced the lineup they said Sweet Children would be opening for Green Day. WHAT. I realized I was going to hear songs that hadn't been played live since the early 90s. I was freaking out.
John was hysterical. Him and Billie had some good banter between songs and the whole set was surreal. Here's what made it really surreal. My sort of ex-girlfriend? (I really don't know how to refer to her as we never actually dated, but we were friends for years, threw around the word love, etc) was at the show with her boyfriend. Well wouldn't you know it in a venue of 1,200 people essentially on top of each other, she ended up right next to me for the Sweet Children set. How does that happen? How did the crowd move in such a way that she ended up right beside me? All those early Green Day songs are about a lost love and yearning for a relationship. The set opened with "Don't Leave Me" for God's sakes!
After things didn't work out, I fell back on 39 Smooth to feel some sort of connection with someone that was going through the same thing. Billie's heartbreaking lyrics were dead on. To hear those songs live with her right next to me was...I don't know. For those 45 minutes that they were playing my heartbreaking soundtrack I was really happy she was next to me for some odd reason. Despite everything that happened I was glad to experience that set with her.
I used to dream about her a lot after we stopped hanging out and I remember one dream in particular where we were at a crowded venue and our eyes locked from across the floor and we smiled at one another. That dream became a reality Thursday night. We would keep glancing at one another and she was never more beautiful than she was that night as a sweaty mess singing along to our favorite band. I miss her every day and I still love her. Her boyfriend's a lucky guy. "What is it about you that I adore?"
The Sweet Children was so surreal. I was seeing the original Green Day trio in a club venue. It's the closest thing I'll ever get to experiencing them playing at 924 Gilman Street. It was amazing and almost as good as the actual Green Day set. To hear stories about how they started and where the songs were written was such a treat. During the set, some sort of fight broke out and in classic Green Day fashion, they stopped playing to sort everything out and make sure everyone was OK. I think at one point Billie told the guy to go grab a Pepsi and rub one out in the back.
By the time the Sweet Children set was done I was a sweaty, dehydrated disaster. The floor at House of Blues fits maybe 400 people and there were probably 700 people jammed in there. I couldn't move. The ushers would bring water bottles out and squirt water to people in the first few rows, but I was always just one person shy of getting the water on several occasions.
Green Day's set was incredible. Never have I seen the band play as tight as they did that night. I spotted Adrienne and Joey off stage and waved to both of them and they waved back which made my night. The most touching moment of the night was right when Green Day started playing I saw Adrienne get this big smile on her face and she started to cry. It was so beautiful. The whole night felt like so much more than just a show.
Billie owned the stage as normal. 99 Revolutions will always be a favorite of mine and it kicked the set off with such energy. I knew we were in for rarities with the type of show this was and I was not disappointed. One For The Razorbacks, Private Ale, Stuart and the Ave., Knowledge (with Tim Armstrong of Operation Ivy/Rancid on guitar), Are We The Waiting and Waiting. I was blown away. There were several times throughout the night that I just started crying. The whole weekend was a celebration of this wonderful band and there were all sorts of emotions going through my head and my heart. I'll never forget this night. Side note: Holiday was incredible. That song doesn't get old and to hear it in that venue was really special.
By the time King For A Day rolled around I thought I was going to pass out/die. I was exhausted. I couldn't even bring myself to sing along. I needed water. I stumbled out of the pit and made my way to the bar where I chugged a glass of water. Big mistake, and this is where I realized I was suffering from some serious dehydration. Right after I had finished chugging the water I had to vomit. I ran into the bathroom and threw up in a stall. After I got myself back together, I went back to the bar, took my hat off, grabbed another water, poured it in my hat and put my hat back on to cool off. Once Green Day started playing Waiting (one of my all-time favorites) I had to be back on the floor for it. Green Day closed the show with Jesus of Suburbia and they totally killed it. The highlight of the night was arguably St. Jimmy, though, as Billie got into character and brought Broadway to the House of Blues. He was amazing.
After the show ended and we were filing out of the venue I realized again that I was not doing well. Spending four-plus hours crammed against people and jumping and screaming and pushing was a bit of a task that night. I wasn't able to wait in the long line at the merch table because I was feeling sick again. As soon as I got outside, I ran into an alley and threw up again. Ugh. On my drive back home I pulled over and threw up again right in front of a police station. Thank God nobody saw me or that may have thought I was drinking or on something! I got home, fell on my bed and passed out. I woke up around 5:30 in the morning still wearing my disgusting, sweaty clothes and all the lights were still on at my place. I gave it my all at the show!
What a night, though! I'll never forget what I witnessed and experienced at the House of Blues. After years of watching Green Day play small shows all over the country it finally happened in my backyard at the venue I regularly attend. This show was a celebration of the band that has been there for me through everything over the last 11 years. It's going to be weird seeing shows at House of Blues from this point on. I'd always wondered what it would be like to see Green Day play there. Now I know. It's fucking amazing.
Friday, April 17th:
Friday was the awkward off-day between the show and the Inductions. It was a day to recover. I planned on sleeping all day, but I was still riding the high from the concert and looking forward to the Inductions so I stumbled over to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. I hadn't seen the new inductees exhibit yet, so I figured why not? When I got in to the exhibit there was some sort of ribbon-cutting ceremony going on and the whole thing was roped off. I decided to go check out the rest of the museum while this wrapped up. I wanted to go see the band's signatures. Poor Jason White. He didn't get to sign They added Green Day to the jukebox and you can listen to all of their tunes minus anything from 39 Smooth which was odd.
After that I stumbled back downstairs to the exhibit and ran into Ryan from the show and some other fans. It was so cool to recognize other fans and this again goes back to that feeling of community. Turns out Ryan is also studying broadcast journalism and wants to go down the same career path as me which was pretty neat.
While I was walking over to the Green Day exhibit, Bill Withers scooted past me which was pretty neat.
The Green Day stuff is awesome. Billie's homework assignment from 3rd grade was just adorable.
I spent the rest of Friday trying to run into the band somewhere downtown and wondered out the streets of Cleveland for a few hours, but had no luck.
Saturday, April 18th:
I'll just jump right to the Inductions. When Joan Jett almost cried during her speech I almost lost it. I knew I'd be a fucking disaster for Green Day. I can't even begin to explain my emotional state during the whole ceremony. I spotted Green Day's table early on and fixed my eyes on them for most of the night. Mike and Brittney looked they were have the greatest night of their lives and it was very moving to see them so happy after what was undoubtedly a miserable year with cancer. My dad went through it and that whole time of my life is an ugly blur. Mike was rocking out to "Lean On Me" when Bill Withers was performing and it was so touching for some reason.
Fall Out Boy actually gave a solid speech but it paled in comparison to Billie's humble speech. He looked so awestruck by everything that was happening. When Tre and Mike were talking, I could see Billie muttering to himself. I could tell he was nervous. I lost it when he choked up telling Adrienne how much he loved her. They're such a beautiful couple and I hope to be in a relationship like theirs someday.
I couldn't process what was happening. I was sitting in a room just listening to Green Day talk and give their thanks. That will never happen again. They were all so humble that it was truly amazing. My eyes were watery and it was just such a beautiful night.
Then they played. And it was incredible. American Idiot. When I Come Around. Basket Case. I didn't expect When I Come Around and that might be my favorite Green Day song. The crowd ate it up. That's a timeless song and even if you don't like Green Day you like that song. While Green Day was playing their backdrop featured pictures of the band throughout the years along with album artwork, lyrics, etc. It made it even more emotional to me. To hear a song like When I Come Around and to see pictures of them as young dudes...I can't describe it. They've been the soundtrack to my life and I can't thank them enough for that.
What made the night even more incredible was I saw two of The Beatles perform together. That may never happen again! It was so awesome to see Ringo and Paul together. And then to see Ringo play with Green Day? Unreal.
I got home shortly after 1:30 in the morning and simply could not believe what I had just witnessed. After all the build up and anticipation it was over. Post concert depression is a real thing and it was hitting me hard. I felt like all of my friends came to Cleveland to throw this big celebration and then they all left except for me. Now I'm just kind of still here while everyone is gone and back to getting on with their lives. I'm in a weird rut right now.
I hope I've been able to process my thoughts appropriately and accurately on this post. I fucking love this band and can't believe I got to witness them at House of Blues and at the Inductions. They're incredible guys and they mean the world to me. I will always and forever be a Green Day fan and I'm so grateful for everything they've done in my life. I don't really know what's next in store for the guys, but I can't wait to see what it is. The whole weekend was a surreal experience, but I'll have those memories forever. I'll close with words from Billie's Induction speech that sum up my feelings as well.
"You know, I've always loved rock & roll music. I always have. Soon as I opened my eyes and took my first breath, I'm a fan. And that's the one thing that I'm going to close with is that I love rock & roll."