Monday, January 21, 2019

Green Day @ the United Center (Chicago, IL) 6/13/09

Posted by shore On July - 14 - 2009

greendayuc @AndyShore One of my first experiences seeing live music, albeit on television, was during a sleep-over birthday party when I was in elementary school. It was late at night, and a couple of punks with green hair were running around the stage. It was equally parts exciting and terrifying. I have often discussed that Green Day’s Dookie was the first CD that I ever purchased. It’s less often talked about that I also bought Boyz II Men’s II that day (I’m not ashamed of either). “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” was the song for my 8th grade graduation. Needless to say, Green Day was a big part of my early music education.


Green Day opened the show with “21st Century Breakdown” with the Chicago skyline lighting up the back drop. When they brought the song down a notch, Billie Joe Armstrong informed the fans he wanted “every mother f*cker in [the United Center] jumping up and down.” He leapt into the air as the band dropped back into the song and the first set of pyrotechnics erupted on the stage. That segued into “Know Your Enemy” as Armstrong wowed the crowd with a behind the back guitar solo.


Early on, it was easy to see that Armstrong deserves to be in the upper echelon of front men. He ran from side to side on the stage, jumping in the air and encouraging fans. He had the entire stadium chanting with him with the raise of his arms. As the crowd was counting 1-2-1-2-3-4 for “Hitchin’ A Ride,” Armstrong grabbed a cell phone from a fan to see what it said. “Great job on the 7th inning stretch” to which he added “not if you’re a White Sox fan.” Later, Armstrong had another demand for the crowd. “Here’s what we’re gonna do. Everybody’s gonna make f*cking noises.”


At one point Armstrong ran onto the stage with a water gun, and began shooting the crowd. He later passed that duty onto a fan. He also came onto the stage with an NBA style t-shirt gun. During “Longview” the band welcomed two fans onstage to sing. One, a fat balding man who ran across the stage emulating Armstrong. The second a short shorts, high socks wearing female who Armstrong told had to stage dive to leave. She took a running start down the runway, only to fall short. That prompted Armstrong to call it the worst stage dive he’d ever seen.


Green Day continued with another song of Dookie, with “Basket Case.” After that “King For a Day” segued into a medley of brief covers. Armstrong conducted the medley lying flat on the stage and included “Shout,” “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is),” “Just Call My Name (I’ll Be There),” “Stand By Me” and back into “Shout.” During “21 Guns” the lights simulated light coming through bullet holes, much like the music video.


Green Day kicked off their encore with “American Idiot” as the LED lights onstage flashed red, white and blue. Armstrong invited a 10-year-old kid onstage to play guitar for “Jesus Loves Suburbia.” The kid surprisingly kept up with the band for the entire song, even adding in some lyrical assistance for Armstrong. After the band left the stage, Armstrong walked back out and did “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” solo, acoustic. A nice and touching way to send us off into the night.

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