GDA Recap of a Green Day concert and meet up in Denver, CO, USA

When I first decided to make the trip out to Denver for the Green Day show a couple weeks ago, I was obviously super excited. But at that time, I had no idea how awesome and epic it would actually be.

My flight left Cedar Rapids at 4:45 on Friday, August 27th. I arrived in Denver at about 5:30 greeted by two people who I've only talked to online: Alex and J'Net. It only took me a couple minutes to realize how truly amazing these two people actually are.... and it would only get better as the weekend progressed.

We went from the airport to Alex and I's hotel to drop off our luggage. From there, J'Net took us out to eat at a fancy Italian restaurant in Englewood. I felt pretty awkward because I was in flip-flops, plaid shorts, and a Green Day t-shirt. Who cares right? We ate our fabulous meal and then headed to a Mexican restaurant named "3 Margaritas" to meet up with some other GDCers. I met Beth, her husband Chris, Tony, "the Aussies" and a couple other fabulous people. By that time, I was tired so Alex and I headed back to our hotel where we crashed an hour later.

That next morning, we woke up at 8:00 and got some breakfast. Then, in our GDA Team shirts, we walked over to the Amphitheater to start "queueing up." We got there a little before nine and we ended up being the third "group" in line. The first group in line were a bunch of the people we met the night before at 3 Margaritas. They had been in line since 3:00AM! Now that's dedication.

Aside from the actual show, waiting around all day was the best part of the trip. I got to meet a lot of fabulous people. Many, if not all, are either on the forum or visit GDA. That experience was awesome. Being surrounded by Green Day fans all day... I LOVED it. Many of us shared common interests other than Green Day.

One of the most interesting conversations was with some of the Aussies. They had been following the band around for a lot of the shows this tour and they had some incredible stories about their experiences at the shows. It was really great to hear all those things from actual fans.

After hours of waiting, which actually seemed a lot shorter than that, the band started their sound check at around five. They ran through a couple songs including Murder City, American Eulogy, 21st Century Breakdown and a couple more. Beth and the Aussies were actually able to get into the sound check to watch it. After it was over, they came back out of the Amphitheater screaming, yelling, and with Green Day koozies in their hands that the band had thrown at them.

Finally, 6:00pm rolled around and they started letting people into the Amphitheater. Alex and Tony ended up having better seats than J'Net and I had. But due to the great souls of J'Net and Tony, they let Alex and I have the great seats which were about 6 rows up from the very very small pit. I cannot thank J'Net and Tony enough for what they did. They are two of the nicest people I have ever met.... and I really do mean that. If anyone else has met them, they will agree with me.

So Alex and I got into our greats seats and (sadly) watched AFI perform some songs. After about 35 minutes of performing, they finally left the stage and the roadies started setting up Green Day's equipment. Thirty minutes later, the famous Pink Bunny came out on stage and entertained the crowd with its beer chugging and dancing to songs such as the YMCA. The bunny left, the stage went dark, and on came "Rock and Roll Radio" by the Ramones followed by "Song of the Century".

By this time, the crowd was already going nuts and were were singing along to the song. Then the intro to "21st Century Breakdown" started playing right after "Song of the Century" just like on the album. The crowd went even more wild as the band came running out on stage. As soon as Tre hit his snare to open "21st Century Breakdown", the stage lights came on and a big explosion of pyro and cheers erupted.

The band went through their normal show-opening routine by playing 21st Century Breakdown, Know Your Enemy, East Jesus Nowhere, and Holiday. During the outro of Holiday, Tre started a familiar drum roll. I immediately knew the next song and I couldn't wait for Billie to say the words "desperate, but not not helpless" to begin the song "Murder City." To me, that was a treat to see live as I really like that song.

Next, Billie came out on stage with his acoustic guitar and Tre started the drum intro to "Give Me Novocaine." I love this song and I am really glad that I got to hear it live. As Tre played the outro to Novocaine, I thought She's a Rebel was going to be next as it is on American Idiot. But was I in for a shock. Right after Tre hit the hi-hat to end Novocaine, Jason White started the intro to Letterbomb! I screamed as loud as I could because I absolutely love that song and it has been somewhat of a rare live song until recently.

After Letterbomb came Are We the Waiting and St. Jimmy. Are We the Waiting has a lot more emotion when the band does it live. The mixture of the magic of the song and the audience's interaction with it just makes it a lot more special than listening to it on the American Idiot album. I prefer the live version over the album version. Billie pulled up someone from the pit to sing the song with him which was great. She looked like she had a great time. Billie took her camera and was taking pictures of her on stage. Then St. Jimmy came which got the crowd jumping again. That is also a great song to hear live

Next came one of the crowd favorites and always great "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Before the song started, Billie stood on stage completely still and just staring out into the audience for a good minute. It was actually kind of funny to watch. Then Jason started in with the guitar. The first verse and chorus was just Billie and Jason which is a really cool change to the song. Mike and Tre came in at the start of the second verse. I heard this song live the last concert I was at in 2005 but I didn't remember how great it was be performed live. Its one of those songs were its great on the album but even better live. Especially since the majority of the crowd knows the song and is singing along. It makes the song that much better. Before Billie started singing the first verse, he gave the Aussies a shout out and recognized their commitment to the band. That was a cool moment. The best part of the song was when Billie let the crowd sing the first chorus. And after that part was over, Jason stopped playing the guitar and Billie just stared at the crowd for a while and then said, "Show those mother fuckers in California how loud you are right now!" He seemed really pleased with the audience and with how high our energy levels were.

Next came the highlight of the night when Billie said this: "Hey! I just want to tell you something right now. We are recording a live fucking album right now! So check it out! We are going to play a brand new song." When he said that, a million thoughts were running through my mind. Could it be an unreleased song that we have heard before such as "Stay the Night" or "Dreamcatcher"? No it wasn't. Oh boy were the band's greatest fans in for a surprise when Billie continued by saying, "It ain't that new. This song's called Cigarettes and Valentines. Let's go." As soon as he said "Cigarettes and Valentines", I immediately turned and looked at Alex and both of our jaws dropped. We couldn't believe it. I never thought that I would hear this song and neither did all the people there that knew about the song's existence. During the song I thought of what J'Net and Tony were thinking. Especially J'Net since she told me earlier of how she was at the San Jose show where that song was played during the sound check and she wasn't able to hear it. She was pretty bummed out about it. But, most of all, I was happy that she finally got to hear it. As for the song, it is great to say the least and I'm so happy that it will be on the upcoming live album.

After the song was over, Billie, Mike, Jason, and Jeff all changed their instruments since the next song was played in Eb. But when Billie came back out with Blue, he asked the audience if they wanted to hear it again. Of course, everyone shouted, "YES!!" and they played it AGAIN. Such a great song.

The next song was "One of My Lies." Billie opened it by asking the audience how many were old school Green Day fans. I don't think there were a whole lot considering how many tweens were in the audience. This song marked the start of a series of older songs to be played.

They followed "One of My Lies" with "Geek Stink Breath." That is a great song and its even better live! Next was "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?". Billie started the song by saying, "This song goes out to the guys from AFI." After he said that, Davey Havok (AFI's singer) came out on stage to sing the song with Billie. As much as I would have liked to hear just Billie sing it, I didn't mind Davey singing a portion of it.... it wasn't half bad.

Next, Billie invited a bunch of people to come on stage while the band played another oldie... "Paper Lanterns." As much as I like the idea of the band interacting with the audience, I didn't really like everyone being on stage for a couple reasons. One was the fact that the majority of the people up there were little kids and tweens that probably don't even know the song. Second, it took away from the greatness of the song. I would have liked to just see the band up their by themselves playing it. That is also the case for the next song, "2000 Light Years Away." The people were up their during that song as well. I think that if the band is going to play those older and rare songs, then they should do it by themselves. But that is just my opinion on the situation.

Next came the classics "Hitchin' a Ride," "When I Come Around," and "Brain Stew/Jaded." After those songs, Billie and the band started their cover session which included Ozzy's "Iron Man" and "Crazy Train." Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," ACDC's "Highway to Hell," and the Who's "Baba O'Riley." The only down side to these songs were that the band teased us with a majority of them by only playing the intro or first verse. But still, its great to see the band play some songs other than their own because I love their sound, their energy, and Billie's voice.

Next was the part of the show were Billie brings someone up to sing "Longview." Billie brought up the first singer who swore that he (or she... I couldn't really tell) knew the lyrics to the song. Unfortunately, I don't think they did because Billie had to sing the first verse with him/her. Then the chorus came and it was pretty much instrumental since the singer was jumping around and didn't hold the microphone to his/her mouth. After the first chorus, Billie came over, grabbed the mic and said "That was okay.... we need to improve some." He was way more than correct. So he brought the next person up and he wasn't any better... strike two. After the second chorus and bridge, Billie said something like, "Denver! Someone has got to save you!" The next singer did that. She fucking rocked the last verse and chorus. Cool thing was that I had been by her in line all day and she was somewhat of a quiet person. But when she got on stage, she was nothing like that. And of course, since she did an awesome job, Billie gave her a guitar to take home!

Next came a pair of Dookie greats "Basket Case" and the somewhat rare "She." Alex and I looked at each other in disbelief when Tre and Mike started playing in the intro to "She." That is such an awesome song to hear and see live.

Next was the long-lasting "King for a Day" portion of the show where the band put on ridiculous costumes and had a lot of fun with the song. Billie was wearing a police cap with a red feather scarf-type-thing around his next. Jason was wearing a large pirate hat, Mike had on some funky glasses, Tre was wearing a bra, and Jason Freese was dressed up like Elvis. My god was that funny as hell. The band rolled through "Shout," "Satisfaction," "Stand by Me," "Break on Through," and "Hey Jude." The Hey Jude was a great moment where everyone in the audience was singing and it sounded really cool. It seemed as if this portion of the show went on for over 30 minutes... but it was awesome none-the-less.

Next was "21 Guns." By this point in the show, it was completely dark outside so everyone got their cell phones and waved them in the air to the beat of the song. It was cool to turn around and see. During the first verse and chorus, I noticed a guy a couple seats to the left of me fingering the stage the whole time. I took it as if he didn't like the song. I was pretty offended by it. Looking back on it, I wish Billie would have saw it, stopped the song, and said a few words to him.... that would have been epic. But, the song went on and it was a special moment because its such a great song. The piano portion after the solo gave me the chills. Jason played a piano version of the chorus while Billie sang it. It sounded so beautiful.... and as I said, it gave me the chills.

After "21 Guns" was "Minority." I LOVE hearing/seeing that song being played live. It has such great energy and the band does so much with it before the third verse starts. Billie does a bunch of solos and while running around the stage. Very neat. Also during the part, Billie thanks the audience for coming out and for such a great time. He announces that Colorado is now the home of Green Day. He also says something to the tune of "fuck California." That was pretty awesome. During the the last of chorus, a shit load of blue and white confetti was shot off into the audience. Some had "Green Day" written on them in the 21CB font and others had skulls on them. They are pretty neat. I managed to bring a couple pieces home with me. After the song, Billie thanked the audience again and then the band walked off stage and the lights went off.

After a couple minutes, the Green Day sign at the back of the stage started alternating between "Green" and "Day"... wanting the audience to yell "Green Day, Green Day, Green Day"... and so we did. The band came back on stage and Billie started "American Idiot." The audience sang the whole first verse which was really neat. During the "subliminal mind fuck America" part, I, as well as a lot of other audience members, put up our middle fingers while singing it. That was pretty cool in my opinion.

Next was one of the best Green Day songs ever in my opinion: Jesus of Suburbia. Those in the crowd who knew the song went nuts. It is such a great live song there is no way to describe it so I'm not even going to try.

After JOS, the band left the stage and Billie came back on for his acoustic portion of the show. He surprised everyone by starting off with the unreleased song "Olivia." That is such a beautiful song. My favorite line is "the city's in ruins but there's a flower on the cracks of the streets." This added to the already amazing set list. And it's also pretty cool that my girlfriend's name is Olivia.

After a short version of "Olivia", Billie went right into "Last Night on Earth." He played the first two verses and choruses by himself but when the sliding guitar part came along, the rest of the band came back out and joined him. That was really neat. It was so beautiful.

Next was "Wake Me Up When September Ends." This is also a very beautiful song and it has a lot of personal meaning to myself. Like Billie, my father also died when I was at a young age. So when Billie sang the line "like my father's come to pass..." I started tearing up. It was such a great moment during a beautiful song. I will never forget it.

Next was the show ending "Good Riddance." I was sad that it got to this point in the show because it was the last song. I teared up many times during it because its such a gorgeous song and it really takes an affect on you when you are witnessing it in person. It's very different than listening to a recorded live version of it. You don't get the atmosphere along with everything else. There are no other ways to describe the feeling.

Billie ended the show by finishing "Wake Me Up..." At that moment, I stood there with my hands on my head in total shock at what I had just witnessed for the last three hours. I can't begin to describe my feelings at that moment. I was the happiest person on Earth.

I look back on everything now while typing this on Monday afternoon and I can honestly say that it was the greatest day of my life. Not just because of the show, or because of Cigs and Vals, but because of all the fabulous people I got to meet throughout the day. I don't know if I will experience anything like it in my life without going to another show. Its just amazing being surround all day by hundreds and thousands of other Green Day fans. Meeting people from the forum and who visit GDA was such a treat. Listening to other fans' stories about their experiences at shows was just phenomenal.

"I hope you had the time of your life.." Yes I did.... yes I did.
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