Punk for My Funk – Green Day

green dayA kick in the ass, a kick in the head and a kick in the heart. The lid is off the can I’ve stuffed my angst into. All it took was putting me in a gigantic sea of all kinds of people feeling the same way chanting…

“No racism

No sexism

No homophobia

NO FUCKING NAZIS!”

This is the music that I embraced when I was a young professional working toward the American Dream, raising my babies and forging ahead with the love of my life (who shares my values and dreams). We didn’t think it was too much to ask.

My punk heart was kindled in college and the flames were fanned in grad school when I got closer to the punk hub of Chicago. By the time my youngest was born, punk and alternative rock were feeding my soul and establishing a base line in my family. My oldest son found Green Day in his pre-teen angst years. I listened to the blasting music from his room with warmth in my heart that we shared the chords this music struck.

I’ll be honest, there is little contemporary music I have stage dived into since the likes of Green Day, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Foo Fighters. That is why you won’t find me at an Ed Sheeran concert. He is probably delightful and by all accounts sounds like a fine human being, but he can’t reach what these bands rip out of me.  I was raised on Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Steve Miller, the Who, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, and the Allman Brothers. In the past few years has led me to love live performances by Gregg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks, Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Govt Mule, and Trombone Shorty.  In between all of that is Glen Hansard, Amos Lee, Drew Holcomb and the Doobie Brothers.

The past two or so years have been painful. The tension and anxiety the world has been vomiting has been at times too much to handle and has taken a toll on me physically and emotionally. I’m a small business owner and have to walk a neutral line as far as the global world is concerned.  I’ve tried to stuff my own opinions to myself when in mixed company and keep it to the high level – Peace, Harmony and the ever popular ‘We are one and should act that way.’  I would give myself a B- on that because there were some really fucking hard days and I cracked.  The stuffing down of all of this probably contributed to two years of relentless back pain and a growing feeling of diminished hope.

When we purchased Green Day tickets last spring, I thought it would rank mid-range in the line up of all the bands we were hearing this year. The RHCPs brought unbridled joy twice; Bon Jovi was nice (and too long); Steve Miller was heaven to the ears and the heart; U2 was spectacular; Roger Waters was edge, gigantic and artistic (I got a bit scared in the tension of people attending who didn’t realize Roger was “so political.”); Guns N Roses was awesome; Tom Petty was one of the best concerts we’ve ever seen (but needed a better opening act); The Doobie Brothers were like an old friend you really love; John Mellencamp was everything I wanted it to be (a slice of life tasted again, yum); but Green Day opened up the can of punk for my funk.

After rain, lightning, and tornado delays, we rushed to the gates to get in and get on with it.  For the first time in the three years of the Cheap Seats Tour, security found my tiny Fireball bottle and I had to throw it out – my punk ass should have opened it and dumped it down my throat before they could stop me! I threw it out and scowled for about an hour.  Because they found mine, they gave Jon a very thorough pat down and took his too. I should not have diverted from my normal premise that if I stuff it in my bra no one is going to frisk a 55 year old woman. Fuck. We should have done our toast in line. Lesson learned. Fuck.  Maybe the rock gods wanted me to be pissed off to get the lid off.

Rain soaked and wary of the lightning still lighting up the sky, we opted to not sit right at the metal fence at the frontline of the lawn seats. We found a space in the second row – which wasn’t bad. The rain persisted and the lightning crashed. The opening act was there. I didn’t pay any attention to it as I was rounded forward eating a cheeseburger inside my poncho.

The roadies got the set changed and then the house music cranked – Bohemian Rhapsody (Perfect – “Thunder and lightning – very, very frightening…I don’t want to die”); Blitzkrieg Bop (Amen, thanks for the jumpstart from the Ramones); the theme from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – it’s on!

We are all in now. Wet, pissed off and ready to rock. We’re all on our feet (it was packed full – apparently no one went home – fuck yeah)

Four songs in it was Holiday.  Billie Joe is chanting “No racism, No sexism, No homophobia and NO FUCKING NAZIS” igniting the flame and taking the lid off for everyone there. From our seats we could see not only the people in the covered seats, but the fully pack lawn jumping up and down, hands to the sky (rock and roll mudra). Jon and I looked at each other and knew this is what we needed after months of repressed anger and frustration. I  think there were tears running down my face – could  have been rain – fuck it  – it felt good. And by the way, my back felt great (I had body work the day before and it let a lot of my pain go and I was experiencing a day of freedom from sciatic pain – a beautiful gift.)

“Holiday”
Say, hey!

Hear the sound of the falling rain
Coming down like an Armageddon flame (Hey!)
The shame
The ones who died without a name

Hear the dogs howling out of key
To a hymn called “Faith and Misery” (Hey!)
And bleed, the company lost the war today

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

Hear the drum pounding out of time
Another protester has crossed the line (Hey!)
To find, the money’s on the other side

Can I get another Amen? (Amen!)
There’s a flag wrapped around a score of men (Hey!)
A gag, a plastic bag on a monument

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

(Hey!)
(Say, hey!)

“The representative from California has the floor”

Zieg Heil to the president Gasman
Bombs away is your punishment
Pulverize the Eiffel towers
Who criticize your government
Bang bang goes the broken glass and
Kill all the fags that don’t agree
Trials by fire, setting fire
Is not a way that’s meant for me
Just cause (hey, hey, hey), just cause, because we’re outlaws yeah!

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives

This is our lives on holiday

Billie Joe is a terrier. He was perhaps the most engaging frontman I have ever seen with inexhaustible energy (yep, more than Mick J). He glued us together with the intention of UNITY for all of us.  With a few words introducing Boulevard of Broken dreams and dedicating it to Harvey’s victims, cell phones were lit and and swaying in the air.

boulevard of broken dreams Harvey tribute

“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk aloneI walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk aloneI walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk a…My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
Of what’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs
To know I’m still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, aaah-ah
Ah-ah, ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a…

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone…

 

On and on, song after song we danced and sang soaked in the rain. It felt so good to let it all out. We were all in. Even Jon was dancing and singing. Yep.

The rain had abated and was threatening a little at the end  – we got to what we came there to hear – American Idiot. They just turned the mics to the sea of voices.

Don’t wanna be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new mania
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

This was totally cathartic. To jump up and down and scream-sing these lyrics with thousands of others was what my punk funk needed.

“American Idiot”
Don’t wanna be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new mania
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alienation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alienation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alienation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

The encores were on and the rain was now back with hell fire and fury lightning. We grabbed our shit and headed to the exits to the words of  21 Guns.  21 Guns. Throw up your arms to the sky. Yes we did. And it was fucking awesome.

“21 Guns”

Do you know what’s worth fighting for
When it’s not worth dying for?
Does it take your breath away
And you feel yourself suffocating
Does the pain weigh out the pride?
And you look for a place to hide
Did someone break your heart inside
You’re in ruinsOne, 21 Guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 Guns
Throw up your arms into the sky
You and I…When you’re at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul
Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn’t pass
Nothing’s ever built to last
You’re in ruinsOne, 21 Guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 Guns
Throw up your arms into the sky
You and I…

Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home
Did you stand too close to the fire?
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone

When it’s time to live and let die
And you can’t get another try
Something inside this heart has died
You’re in ruins

One, 21 Guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 Guns
Throw up your arms into the sky
One, 21 Guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, 21 Guns
Throw up your arms into the sky

You and I

Rock on, my friends. We kinda had The Time Of Our Lives. (Love how Good Riddance (Time of Your Life was the last song as we drove off into the night)
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