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Nothing describes a Green Day concert on the floor better than the title of a song off of Tre, “Brutal Love.” You will sweat. You will get kicked. You will get stepped on. You will get shoved. You may find yourself in a mosh pit. You may even get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. But all the while you’re smiling because there’s no place you’d rather be than down in front, and center, at a Green Day concert.
My friends and I were about midway back when we finally made our way down to the floor at Barclays. The venue was far from capacity and the opening act (Best Coast) was far from going onstage. If this was as far as we got, that’d be fine (but we knew we’d get closer eventually).
On September 15th, Billie Joe Armstrong proclaimed that he was all of our fathers and we couldn’t have been happier to welcome him into our families, even if it was just for one night.
The guys still know how to open a show after 20+ years of performing in tiny bars and huge stadiums. They opened with “Welcome To Paradise” and we, the crowd, agreed. We were in paradise. I was about five people from the stage during the opener and was almost pushed to the ground, and while Matt had his contact knocked into the side of his eye, we retreated for a moment to get ourselves together again and, of course, grab more drinks from the bar.
Green Day barreled through a 38 song set that we thought, and hoped, would never end. When Billie stated that he’d be playing all fucking night, we responded with elation. He talked briefly about performing on “Americas Got No Talent,” and just kept going further and further back into their catalogue to perform songs none of us would’ve expected to hear like Brat, Scattered, and J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva).
The crowd got going most noticeably during songs like Holiday (when Billie Joe jumped off the stage and up onto a risen platform stage right to play the Representative of NYC), Hitchin a Ride, and Murder City.
Towards the end of the night, it was well past midnight and so it was September 16th, the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Billie Joe’s father, and so he changed the lyric in Wake Me Up When September Ends to “30 years has gone so fast.” The moshing stopped for a moment, for at least the songs duration.
I think I can safely assert say that it was an unbelievable night for everyone present.
We exited Irving Plaza that night, sweaty and exhausted, opting not to try to catch a glimpse of the band as they exited. I walked across the island to 8th avenue totally blissed out (in addition to being sweaty, exhausted, deaf, and sore!) listening to the sounds of a relatively quiet 14th Street at post-1am on a Sunday morning.
Days later my wrist band is still proudly fastened around my wrist (although my hearing returned relatively quickly on Sunday).
The night went by way too quickly and it’s all still kind of a blur, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else on September 15th, 2011.
Less than four months until Barclays!