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Winnipeg Arena in Winnipeg, MB
October 23, 1995
Other Acts:
The Riverdales
  • Rob Williams: "...But there was no repeat of their 1995 concert at the Winnipeg Arena, when the lower-bowl fans overwhelmed the guards and rushed the floor."
  • When the night started out, Green Day probably thought that their show in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was going to be just like any other on the prolonged Dookie tour. They'd play their hits, the crowd would cheer and mosh and sing, and that would be that. Goodnight, you little fuckers. But the Winnipeg crowd wanted more. They were rowdy, they were disorderly, and they were locked in a battle to the death with the most hardassed security guards you could even not hope to find at a punk show. After several fans had been dragged off, kicking and screaming, Billie Joe started to shout to all the people in the stands that they should rush the stage, storm the pit! They did. An entire arena full of rowdy punk rockers flowed out of their seats and flooded the arena floor, creating a mosh pit roughly the size of a professional hockey rink. Unfortunately, Green Day didn't quite know what they were getting into. Billie Joe got hit in the head with a flying shoe, and threatened to end the concert. Then, some kid stage-dove into oblivion and really sustained a head injury worth crying about. And that was the end of THAT Green Day concert. The 1995's Winnipeg show isn't well-known to Green Day fans, but it was one of those moments in music history that, like the Woodstock show, says something about anarchy, and chaos, and free-range rebellion, that goes beyond the significance of any one single band or concert. Green Day was in the right place at the right time and they started a riot. It was far and away THE craziest mosh pit any of the long-time concert goers who attended the event had ever experienced, and it goes down in the annals of music history for that alone. However, none other than Green Day incited its transcendental nature, and no other band could have pulled it off with so much fuck-you flair."
  • Uptown: "When Green Day first came across Canada on an arena tour in 1995, the band told its promoter, Universal Concerts Canada, that they didn't want to come unless they got to meet MacLean & MacLean. They were joking, sorta, but Universal made sure the meeting happened anyway. Drummer Tre Cool is a huge fan of the Winnipeg-based kings of toilet rock, having discovered the disorderly duo as a kid through a bootleg cassette of the MacLeans' 'Suck Their Way To The Top' album. So it was arranged that Blair and Gary MacLean met Cool, Mike Dirnt and Billie Joe Armstrong in 1995 at the Winnipeg Arena. The duo exchanged albums, t-shirts and CDs with their much younger peers. Ten years later Blair MacLean and Cool renewed acquaintances backstage at MTS Centre after Green Day's May 17 show. MacLean got a chance to tell the Green Day drummer about the passing of brother Gary in 2001, and also introduced him to two of Gary's sons, Travis and David. 'He knew about Gary, so we talked about that for a while. I gave him all of our CD's, too, now that they're all available, and he looked at his girlfriend and said, 'Guess what we're listening to on the way to Edmonton tonight?'' MacLean said. 'He knew the whole "Take The O Out Of Country Show' by heart, even the dialogue between songs, so we were doing them together for a while. 'He said he wanted the lyrics to I've Seen Pubic Hair because he wants to do it for a dirty country album he's working on.'
    As for the show? MacLean said he enjoyed it and was struck by how the band seemed to have complete control of the sold-out crowd. 'But my ears are still ringin',' he laughed. "I'm 62 fuckin' years old and I can't take that shit." Word backstage at the Green Day show was that it very nearly didn't happen because frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was suffering from a heavy cold and a sore throat. 'They had a doctor come down and spray his throat so he could perform,' one insider said. 'People were nervous for a while.' Green Day's a band that has always had Winnipeg connections. When the Berkeley, California trio broke through to the mainstream in 1994 with Dookie, its front-of-house soundman was Randy Steffes of Beausejour, Manitoba. Steffes, who was the guitarist in Bif Naked's first band, Gorilla Gorilla, was even the band's co-manager for a brief period after the group parted ways with Elliott Cahn & Jeff Saltzman in 1995. He now works with a number of groups, including Bad Religion. Winnipeg restaurateur Brad Linden was the band's touring chef at the time, providing meals for the group and its crew throughout Europe and North America. These days Green Day's Winnipeg connection is maintained by Mike Dirnt's bass technician, Micah Chong, who was introduced by Billie Joe Armstrong as being "originally from Winnipeg." To stretch this thing even further, Green Day's current sound mixer, Kevin Lemoine, was recommended to the group by another former Winnipegger (and another Gorilla Gorilla alumnus) Kent Jamieson, a Glenlawn Collegiate grad (two grades behind me) who mixes sound for and co-manages Fat Wreck Chords heroes NOFX. The band's current tour manager, Doug Goodman, is also a Canadian, and all the show's pyrotechnic effects, including the patented, 50-foot gas flame-throwers called Dragons, are supplied by Toronto company Pyrotek Special Effects. People from our little village certainly do get around in this business."
Photos from Winnipeg, MB
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August 2020
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