Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Deja Vu

For the record, Umlaut is having an amazing Music Geek month of April so far...

Green Day
The Independent, San Francisco
April 7, 2009

Let this be the first post of Umlaut's Stalking Tour Manager Doug Tour 2009-10! For the newbies: Click HERE for the details about the last time Umlaut stalked Tour Manager Doug (TMD) around the world while using Green Day as an excuse; the tally was 6 shows in 4 cities and 3 countries.

When this show went onsale online at 3:00PM (a mere 5 1/2 hours before the doors opened) it sold out in less than 5 minutes. It takes a show like this to get Skychick out of the house, but it takes TMD to make it magical! This time TMD waved his magic laminate and Skychick and I found ourselves watching the soundcheck for Green Day's first show in 3 years with maybe 15 other people (most of them band crew):

(Pic by Umlaut)

As the band sorted out parts of new songs before the doors opened, I couldn't believe that we were among the very first people outside of the band's circle hearing the new songs for the first time. I almost soiled myself... figuratively speaking of course. Hmm, during soundcheck the band had an awesome new banner hanging behind the stage featuring a martini glass / upside down cross and a Satanic goat's head... but it was taken down and not seen again that night. Hmmm.

Green Day jumped onstage for the first time in 3 years at around 10:30PM and kicked into 'Welcome To Paradise'... and followed it with an hour of new songs; basically the entire new album I assume. For the record, I think American Idiot is a perfect album; every song is amazing and it's an old school album (i.e. a musical journey where each song tells a chapter of a story) versus simply a collection of songs. The new songs felt exactly the same way; they seemed to be telling a bigger story, but individually they were so great.. Amazing: I think Green Day might have struck music gold again! My initial thought was "This is what it must have felt like when people saw The Who play Tommy for the first time, before the songs became ingrained in music history".. I couldn't believe we were in the first audience hearing these songs. Mindblowing.

The new material was causing "The Who" to pop into my head.. and another song had a guitar part that caused "Mott The Hoople" to pop into my head.. I've been saying this a lot this week, but my head was spinning, this time from the catchiness of the songs, the power of the songs, and the variety of stuff going on in the songs. Also, the 2009-10 version of Green Day has an additional 3rd guitarist (!) in the lineup for the new songs, which makes them the Skynyrd of Power Pop. What song is it you wanna hear? For those stuck in 1994, Green Day haven't been a 3-piece onstage for awhile; they are now a full blown ROCK band with 6 musicians bringing the volume.

After debuting the new album, the band came back and played over an hour of hits and requests from the crowd... starting with 'American Idiot' > 'Jesus Of Suburbia'. Holy fuck! Seeing those songs being played in a club was like seeing an old friend again who I haven't seen in several years, but it felt like no time had passed. Just like at their epic show at The Warfield in 2005, Billie Joe took requests from the audience.. 'F.O.D.' was my fave request.. but 'J.A.R.' was a good one too. They also threw in other oldies like 'Christie Road' and, of course, 'Longview'. After almost 2 1/2 hours, Skychick and I stumbled out onto Divisidero... where we immediately ran into The Sheriff and Mrs. Sheriff.. and The Sheriff was then interviewed by some guy who claimed to be from Spin magazine. Weird.

Green Day are one of those great live bands who don't develop that often... They may have started as Punks, but Green Day here in the 21st Century are a Frankenstein-like hybrid of Punk > Classic Rock > Power Pop all driven by an incredible chemistry between the band members. People who are stuck in 1994 and think Green Day are merely a "Punk" band are completely missing out on one of the greatest ROCK bands ever. Oh well..

According to the Umlaut Archives this was my 11th time seeing Green Day dating back to 1991... and The Independent was the smallest stage I'd seen them on since back at Brave New World (R.I.P.) and that art warehouse space in The Mission; what was the name of that place? Me love Green Day long time.

Thanks to TMD for sorting out my +1. For the newbies: Legend says that Umlaut and Tour Manager Doug met at a Krokus show in 1982... which may or may not be true, but our Inner Metalheads definitely had many playdates together.

If you bought one of every Green Day merch item you would have paid NOTHING because there was none for sale. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. The Rock Godz have blessed Umlaut this month already, first with Cleveland and now Green Day. Ironically, TMD sent me a text afterwards that The Drummer was visiting his band's dressing room. HAHA!! Man, with all due respect, The Dane should retire and give Tré Cool his rotating drum riser. All the young dudes, carry the news..

If only I could relive this night again...