A live show is always exhilarating; the build up to it and then the eventuality of actually going to the gig. The feeling when you've actually managed to get through the stress of ordering the ticket, and it's landed on your doormat a few weeks (or months) later.



I wasn't allowed to go to concerts until I was sixteen years of age for various reasons, mostly because my parents were unprepared to take me and therefore I had to be able to take care of myself. Happily for me, my sixteenth birthday was just before the first UK leg of the 21st Century Breakdown tour. I remember waiting for the album and getting all swept up in the hype of it, I also remember the exact date that tour tickets went on sale; May 5th 2009. I called up my two best friends and demanded to know whether they wanted to go to a Green Day show. Both of their reactions were lukewarm to say the least, but with some begging and cajoling I managed to get them to agree to go. We ordered the tickets and the waiting began.


It's always been different to me for Green Day shows that it has been for other bands. In my experience they announce their tour months in advance whereas my other bands it's always been a fairly short gap and the date seems to be upon me before I've really had chance to think about it. With Green Day it's never been less than a hundred days and it always seems so far away. As afore mentioned the first Green Day show I went to was my first concert as well (unless Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings at Harrogate International counts!) so I had no idea what I was in for. My friend who I was going with had been to a concert (Nickelback) before and was telling me all these horrific stories of mosh pits, being crushed and claustrophobia. Now I have been to many gigs I do look on these stories with a certain amount of skepticism. Not about the mosh pits and being crushed, just as to whether it would happen at a Nickelback concert.

There's something different about Green Day shows in general in terms of the lead up to them, there's a heightened air of anticipation, that for me at least goes on for months, not simply the week before the show. I can just think of the fact that I'm going and that I have the ticket and it'll make me smile. This can in fact, be slightly dangerous; you look a weeny bit insane if you start grinning inanely in the middle of the street when you're apparently staring into thin air.

Anyway, lets fast-forward to the day of the show. Having been to two Green Day shows, I have two different experiences about the dawning of show day. The first time we saw them, I was fast asleep; the second, I was climbing out of a taxi and going to start queuing. With other shows I've been to I've never done a dawn start for queuing, travelling yes, but Green Day was a first for getting in line. Late-morning/noon is usually my limit for queue times. As is usual with concerts, I pulled up a patch of concrete with my friends and we began our wait. I don't know what it is about me, but somehow my group always seems to end up near the bins when we queue for shows. At the first Green Day show it was the catering bins, at my first My Chemical Romance show it was a bin that clearly had dog poop in it, and the second time I went to see Good Charlotte we were by a public bin. If you've never been to a show before; try and pick a spot that isn't near the bins, it doesn't make for a pleasant experience. I generally like queuing for gigs (other than the bin thing!) because you get to meet some really cool fans in the queue around you. They can give you advice, share stories, whine about the queue time and it just adds to the general atmosphere of the day.

When it gets to about half an hour before doors, however, it's every man for themselves. Usually I stick with the little group I've managed to create, but woe-betide anybody who tries to do the shifty past us, or does the whole "I'm texting so I can't see where I'm going - oh look I'm at the front!" thing. At both Green Day shows I've been to, there has been nervous energy throughout the crowd at least two hours before doors were due to open and mob psychology seems to take over; one person stands up, everyone stands up. The officials have difficulty trying to keep everybody calm. Once doors open and the security is telling everyone to walk, it becomes one of those olympic fast-walking marathon events, to see who can actually walk the quickest without technically breaking into a run. At the LG Arena we had to go through four ticket screening to get in, whereas at Wembley it was an automated ticket scanner. There's a heart stopping split second when you put your ticket in the slot and it doesn't immediately go green, all kinds of scary thoughts go through your head. Then it beeps and the barrier opens so you can get in and "walk" to the front (or however close you can get).

Most bands I've seen play arenas have two support acts and stadium shows three, Green Day breaks this mould (on my shows anyway!) by only have one for the former and two for the latter. This is mostly so they can get more time on stage and I am not complaining on that front. Some bands have a lot of support acts for fairly small shows and I often find myself getting edgy (and sometimes bored!) depending on how good the act is. Some bands just simply can't get the crowd going other than some lukewarm clapping and cheering, other bands I've seen support have ripped up the joint and made some people actually forget whose name was on the ticket (until they actually appear of course!). I've actually found some of my favourite bands through support acts (namely The Blackout and Frank Turner, the latter at a Green Day show).

After the support acts everyone begins to get really restless, the shoving gets more intense (some people seem to think that they can actually go through you to the barrier). This is often the worst part about gigs I find; not the waiting outside, the waiting once you finally get in, in between supports and the main act. I find I'm getting impatient by this time and the seconds seem to tick by so slowly until stage time.

[url=http://www.greendayauthority.com/Picture_Vault/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=6&pid=26391#top_display_media][img=041012_bunny.jpg][/url]And then... then, this pink thing meanders onto stage with two beer bottles in it's hands and the rush of adrenaline shoots through me; this heralds the beginning. This grimy rabbit (with no tail) proceeds to lead the crowd through various haphazard versions of the YMCA before chugging through his beer and staggering off again, occasionally having to be persuaded off by a roadie. Then, in my experience, The Ramones song 'Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio' begins to play accompanied by the essential clapping. After that everyone waits with baited breath, knowing what you've waited for is only seconds away. Every band has their own way of building up the anticipation for their appearance on stage and getting the crowd to fever pitch, ready to explode when they hear that opening note, or see that silhouette through the curtain. For the 21st Century Breakdown Tour, the crackle of 'Song of the Century' heralded the arrival of Green Day to the wings and then the opening chords of '21st Century Breakdown' announced their first steps onto the stage. The energy becomes so apparent you can almost taste it and the decibel count reaches that of an airport runway as everyone catches the first glimpses of the band.

Then the room explodes. The build up of all those months of waiting has finally been realised, you're here, it's real and you're in the moment. For me, I have an intense realisation that this is going to be over in a matter of hours so I have to make the most of it whilst I can. Singing every word from the top of my lungs, jumping, dancing and generally having fun. That's the most important thing; having fun and being in the moment. It's amazing how 10,000 or 100,000 yelling voices could sound so fantastic when harmonising together. We all like to think we're completely individual, but it has to be said that there is something amazing about being part of such a crowd in moments like this.

[url=][/url]If you've ever watched Green Day videos online, or you've been luckily enough to see them live, then you'll know that the energy doesn't dip for a second, even during the ballads/slower songs it's like electricity. Billie Joe controls the crowd with the ease of a practiced puppet master; he says jump and you ask "how high?". Another thing with Green Day shows is the diversity of the set list, yeah they play the current singles and the radio hits, but in both times I've seen them they've also delved deep into their back catalogue and played old favourites as well as those that are simply quite an obscure choice. It means that you never know what's coming next and it makes it all the more exciting; it gives it an edge because it seems as if the band are just making it up as they go along (even though they're almost certainly not!). The band seems to communicate almost by thought making the show seamless and yet have a place for silliness. This is what can be had from a band that's been together so long; one nod from Billie Joe, and Tre and Mike know exactly what he means. It's amazing to watch.

[url=http://www.greendayauthority.com/Picture_Vault/displayimage.php?album=282&pid=29124#top_display_media][img=041012_acoustic.jpg][/url]As the evening comes to an end and the show draws to the now iconic finish that everyone recognises; Billie Joe at the front of the stage with his acoustic guitar, playing out the evening on the notes of 'Good Riddance', the night comes to its emotional climax. Nobody wants the night to end and yet everyone wants to join together in the belting out of this Green Day anthem. For my part, I'm always sad when it gets to this point because I know the evening is drawing to a close, but Billie Joe often consoles the crowds with words of how there will always be a next time and that this band is going to go on until they're geriatrics and beyond.

Everyone leaves with adrenaline and emotion pumping through their veins and in their heads all there is room for is thought of the next time.

Until next time...

Written by @BryonyIsabela. Thanks to @mdriver11 for allowing us to use a photo of his.
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