• 09-22-2004, 06:40 PM
    MindGoneHaywire
    Green Day live, free, on the street in downtown NYC
    Anyone here see or know about this? It wasn't publicized much that I knew of, though I guess it must've been mentioned on the radio. I happened to find out about it while taking a look at some stuff at a big music/electronics/computer store here, J&R Music World (consumer electronics, but I know that there are audiophiles who are familiar with it). I tried to register for a wristband to get into the performance area, but it said they were all gone. But I decided to take a walk down there & check it out anyway.

    Usually when J&R has live music it's on a fairly small stage on the south end of the very small, but very old & very beautiful City Hall Park. I went straight there but there was no stage & no buzz anywhere. I thought maybe it'd been canceled. Went into J&R to find out & they waved me towards the back where they presented me with a wristband & said I was the last of the walk-ins who would get one. (Well, I have to give credit to my wife here, as she marched up there as I was kinda hesitant). We went where they told us to go & saw that there was this whole huge scene on Park Place & Broadway. The stage was set up on this fairly narrow street, between the ancient skyscraper, the Woolworth Building, and another building that's at least 25-30 stories (I think the Woolworth Bldg is a good 50-60 stories, maybe more). I figured the sound would be booming all around, all over the street, but it ended up not being as bad as I thought.

    Green Day was supposed to go on at 5:30, but hit the stage around 6:20-6:25. They opened with 'American Idiot,' which I'd seen them do on Letterman the other night--very, very good, by the way. They did a few other songs from the new album, most of which sounded very good, a lot better than it typically does when you go see a band that flogs their new rec at ya & you've never heard a note & you want to hear them do this song & that song & they're doing all this stuff you've never heard of. I haven't heard the album, but I'd read that it was something of a song cycle, or had these rock-opera-like suites that had song cycles. I did see somewhere where some of this was compared to 'A Quick One' (as opposed to, say, Tommy). Not sure Green Day is worthy of a comparison to Townshend in his prime, or not even yet in his prime, but although I've never heard an album of theirs I thought was great, I do think they might just be the best rock band of the past 10 years for the healthy selection of very good-to-outstanding tracks they've put together alongside the ones that aren't that great.

    After plowing through 20-25 minutes of brand new stuff that didn't make me wish I was somewhere else, they started in on the hits, beginning with 'Longview.' They also did 'She,' and then 'King For A Day,' I guess the keyboard player was doing a MIDI thing for the trumpet sound (I don't think there was a trumpet player, but then again I wasn't anywhere near the stage, either...I was about as far as I was from the stage at the Garage Fest). At the conclusion of King For A Day Billie Joe really started to get going with his crowd interaction thing. Which he works...he took the end of 'King For A Day' & worked it into a full workout on the Isley Brothers' 'Shout,' which played pretty darned well in spite of how many times Animal House has been shown on television. Then again, half the audience was probably too young to have been allowed to watch it...hell, most of 'em looked to be too young to get into a club the last time I saw Green Day, but that's okay. I'll always applaud youth that's more interested in music like Green Day rather than, say, Dave Matthews.

    After 'Shout' they threw a good couple of curves--first 'I Fought The Law,' which was good, though for me the Clash version rendered any further covers kinda unnecessary...and then, the last song of the set, the one, the only 'We Are The Champions.' And they played it straight, and they did a pretty good job. Interesting choice of cover, and not one that just any band can do. Elsewhere in the set Billie Joe held a note for at least a minute, and his pitch wavered only slightly, if at all. The guy can sing better than I realized, and I thought he was underrated to begin with. I've never found his vocal abilities to be on a par with, say, Kurt Cobain, but damn if he didn't pull something I think Cobain would've been hard-pressed to pull off. I think the extent of what he can do is masked by that nasal fake-British thing. You don't go up there & play a Queen song unless you've either got a big pair, or a big voice that you can keep in tune, or both. I vote both on this.

    The set was a little over 45 minutes, maybe closer to 50 minutes--not bad for a free record-store appearance. I heard whispers afterward that they band wanted to play more but couldn't--this was a big deal, with a large police presence, barricades, etc. etc., so there must've been a permit that was going to expire at some point. I did think they'd come back & so 'When I Come Around' & maybe even 'Basket Case,' but it didn't happen. And some people were actually complaining.

    I stopped back into J&R to pick up the CD, which was on sale for $11.99 plus you get a free T-shirt (otherwise I would've waited, and it's conceivable a copy will be coming across my desk before very long). Strolled over to the San Gennaro Feast for some Italian food on the way home. Wish I'd brought my camera, but...
  • 09-23-2004, 04:50 AM
    ForeverAutumn
    That's totally cool!

    I've been wanting to see Green Day live for years. I'm a big fan. But they sell out so quickly that I just never manage to make it. Tickets for their show here went on sale Monday morning and sold out in, I'm told, four minutes!

    I'm glad to hear that the stuff from the new CD doesn't suck. I've only heard American Idiot which I like. I'll likely pick up the disk this weekend.

    A few years ago REM did a free outdoor concert here in Toronto. The city shut down one of the major downtown intersections and surrounding streets for the day and a huge stage was set up. Tens of thousands of fans showed up for the show. It took place only minutes from my office and I was really looking forward to taking a loooong lunch and checking it out. REM is another band that I would love to see and just haven't had the chance. Well, two days before the show, my boss decided to send me out of town on concert day and I ended up missing it. But it was quite the event from what I heard and saw on the news afterwards.
  • 09-23-2004, 06:40 AM
    kexodusc
    I saw them in Canada in 1995...Billy Joe urinated on the crowd in the pit near the stage...class act all the way!
  • 09-23-2004, 08:19 AM
    Davey
    Sounds fun. Never seen them in person but have seen lots of live performances and they seem to always put on a fun show. I actually don't own any of their albums although, like just about everybody, I've heard Dookie enough in this life :)

    Have you seen that review of the new one at AMG? Holy Rave Recs! The guy is pretty much calling it a classic and record of the year. Even comparing it to my record of the year right now, The Fiery Furnaces <i>Blueberry Boat</i>. Sacrilege, I say! I really can't believe the lyrics would be anything but silly kid's stuff....hmmm, guess I might have to give it a listen sometime before passing judgement, eh? Probably won't be finding its way into our resident <a href="http://forums.audioreview.com/member.php?u=230108">Bush apologist's</a> shopping cart, though ;)