American Idiot

I’m Still Breathing: Green Day at Aragon Chicago


When I first saw Green Day in 2013 on their 99 Revolutions tour, I thought it was phenomenal. Plenty of people had their complaints, but I couldn’t be happier. There were moments during that show that are still special to me. So imagine my surprise when Green Day managed to top themselves for their stop at Aragon Ballroom. Everything about it was better than before, from the setlist to the crowd. It was an unbelievable moment I’ll never forget that I almost missed out on.

Long story short, I didn’t get tickets. I tried for two hours to no avail. I considered the VividSeats route, but something told me to wait. I turned to the Green Day Community boards hoping someone would somehow have an extra. Thanks to some communication and help from fellow GD fans, I met someone who had an extra and wanted to take me. I could hardly believe I had an in to one of the biggest shows of the year. I’m normally a very shy, private person, so it surprised even me that I agreed to go with someone I never met before. Just a year ago I probably would’ve refused and just wallow in my misery at home. But I’m glad I did it. I met some great GD fans and hopefully, made a new friend in the process.

On to the show. I didn’t check out Dog Party prior to the concert, so I didn’t know what to expect. I actually really liked them. They have that kickass, slacker punk rock sound that fits well for a Green Day show. They were much better than 2013 openers Best Coast. I especially enjoyed their slow-burning cover of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl.” But I was impatient and ready to see Billie and crew! Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for them to hop on stage. But before Green Day made an appearance, it was time for the massive “Bohemian Rhapsody” sing-along. This is still one of my favorite concert moments. It’s everyone banding together singing an epic song and enjoying themselves.


Like with every show, the drunk bunny came out while “Blitzkrieg Bop” played in the background. After properly riling up the crowd, Green Day sauntered on stage. They kicked things off to a roar with “Know Your Enemy,” which took me by surprise. I was sure one of the new songs would open the show. Still, it was a great way to rally up the crowd and just a taste of what the next 2 hours were going to be. Of course “Bang Bang” and “Revolution Radio” followed, which got the crowd fired up. If you thought those songs were amazing on record, wait till you hear them live. Somehow the band puts more fire, energy, and drive behind them once they hit the stage. From there they launched into the obligatory songs: “Holiday,” “Longview,” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Though they played these on their last tour, they’re still a blast to hear live. All the songs are so much fun and hearing thousands of people sing “When masturbation lost its fun/you’re fucking lonely” is a rare treat. Even hearing Billie say “LIGHTS OUT!” during “Holiday” was exciting. He’s done it hundreds of times, but to fans it never gets old. We devour every precious minute the band is on that stage.

Green Day reach into their past material on this tour and it wasn’t any different in Chicago. Fans in the know properly freaked out when they launched into “Private Ale” from Kerplunk. They also churned out favorites “2000 Light Years Away” and “Christie Road,” which Billie started off soft and gentle before having the rest of the band join him. I was most excited to hear tracks like “Armatage Shanks” and “Scattered,” key tracks from “Nim-rad” as Billie pronounced it. But the moment where I knew something special was happening was “Hitchin’ a Ride.” Sure, it’s not a rare song in their setlist, but they didn’t play it last time in Chicago. So I freaked out. Billie extended the song with extra hoopin’ and hollering, begging the crowd to join him as Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt kept the steady beat. Billie proved to be a tease when he decided we weren’t cheering loud enough and turned his back on the crowd as if to say “I don’t want to play with you anymore!” Yeah, maybe it’s cheesy but I loved every minute of it.


It always impresses what a great showman Billie is. Even if he was lying, he did everything to make sure Chicago was well loved, saying things like “We’ve been coming here since 1990!” and the city being the best – typical stage banter. But since it was such a huge weekend for our Cubs, he made sure to mention it and even said, “Looks like you finally killed that fucking goat.” At one point, someone threw a Cubs hat on stage. Billie knew what to do – he put it on and said, “I feel like this is pandering.” It may have been, but hey it worked.

The way Billie commands the crowd to sing “Hey-oh” or to “put those fucking hands in the air!” it’s like being in church. When you hear the sweet opening chords to “Burnout” or “Basket Case” you lose a part of yourself. Your mind, body, and spirit are taken by the music and the amazing band on stage. This was proven by countless sing-alongs, with the most emotional being “Still Breathing.” Billie introduced the song by saying “Sometimes you end up going to survival mode in hard times. But the great thing about survival mode, is you survive. This song’s for you.” From there, the entire venue sang the song back to him as he smiled and looked on.

The crowd exploded during cuts like “St. Jimmy,” “She,” and “When I Come Around,” where Billie handed off guitar duties to one lucky fan, who kicked major ass. They also pulled out “Youngblood” from the new album, which was an unexpected treat to hear live. Then, of course, came “King for a Day.” This is now a Green Day live staple and it’s never dull. They may pull the same silly costumes, though this time BJA sported a cute captain’s hat while Mike wore his own mask, the same sax solos, and same random song covers, but you can’t deny how much fun it is. Jason Freese killed it on the sax, while Billie joined him on kazoo, but the best was the impromptu “Carless Whisper” solo. Before launching into “Shout” Billie laid on the floor, as usual, and talked about how everyone needs a little love. The breakdown included brief covers of “Hey Jude” and “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction).” At one point Billie said “Now you’re going to adopt me. My new home is Chicago.” He probably says the same thing in every city, but it was hard not to go crazy at that moment.


Green Day kept up the non-stop energy with “Forever Now,” which saw Billie smash his guitar, “American Idiot,” and the epic “Jesus Of Suburbia.” Hearing those songs live with more vigor and venom than the recording never gets old. For the last encore, Billie slowed things down with “Ordinary World” mixed with “Good Riddance,” which pleased the hell out of me. In 2013, they passed over this song in favor of “Brutal Love,” which is great, but it’s awesome to hear such an iconic song live. Afterward, the band signed off with Tre and Mike sporting their own masks and tossing some gifts into the crowd. It was sad to see them go, but it was on to the next city for the band.

Green Day is a sheer force of energy live. They feed off the vibes of the crowd and give it back to them one thousand percent. Watching them play leaves me awestruck. When I wasn’t singing or dancing, I just looked at how hard these guys play. Billie attacks his guitar to the point where it seems like he’s losing control. Tre hits the drums with so much force it’s like he’s calling on the thunder gods. And Mike plays the bass like a beast. Plus, I enjoyed watching his faces and kicking his feet in the air while playing. And damn, can those guys get height while jumping. Seeing the pictures of them frozen in the air makes you wonder how the hell they got so high. Their shows are one big fucking party. In between songs, like “Letterbomb,” Billie stopped to say “We are all alive tonight!” and made a pact with the crowd to push out the negativity of the world. It was clear the band wanted to have a good time and made sure the crowd had fun as well. They somehow managed to top themselves to put on an unbelievable and intimate show. There was no pyro, special effects, screens, or stage stunts. Instead, it was just us, Green Day, and the music. And it made for something special.

Thank you, Green Day, for being an incredible band.


Revolution Radio – Green Day

Release Year: 2016

Rating: 8.5/10

Everyone has to grow up sometimes, even some punks from Oakland. It can’t be fuck the man and rebel, rebel, rebel all the time. Sometimes you need to stop to pay the bills. This is what Green Day explores on Revolution Radio. The band’s twelfth album finds them back on top after a trio of ill-received records. When news of this album first dropped, I was beyond ecstatic. My excitement only grew when they first single dropped. Now, RevRad is here and what’s my final verdict? Strap yourself in, this may be a long one.

When I initially listened to RevRad, I hate to say I was kind of disappointed. I wanted more raging, loud songs like “Bang Bang.” But once I got over the fact that the album isn’t just about being angry, I came to love it. Several songs took me by surprise, one of them being “Somewhere Now.” With its soft opening, quiet vocals, and reflective lyrics it gave me a Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen vibe. Not necessarily in sound, but in content. Billie Joe Armstrong croons about getting older and the painful compromises we have to make, especially if we were dead set on being rebellious at a younger age. It shows a mature Green Day, something fans got an unexpected taste of on Warning.

Bang Bang” and “Revolution Radio” are ragers for sure. They’re for those who like their Green Day loud, fast, and angry. After hearing the former song, I was so pumped for the album, something I hadn’t felt since “Know Your Enemy.” Even after hearing it so many times, the song still fills me with adrenaline and gets me jumping all over the place. “Revolution Radio” is a song meant for starting riots. With Armstrong’s cry of “Legalize the truth!” it’s easy to imagine millions of fans throwing their fists in the air. The track is inspired by recent events in Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement, so there’s the air of frustration, unrest, and a rally for change. It’s another awesome, high energy song that should get a huge response live.

Say Goodbye” is another strong track from the album. The heavy, tribal-esque percussion and the unrest that permeates the air makes it the most aggressive song on the LP. Also inspired by the protests in Ferguson and all the recent riots, there’s this air of anger and frustration in every element of the song. From the music to the lyrics, you can feel the need for change and people being fed up with how they’re treated. Despite this, Armstrong manages to sound coy and playful as he sings “Say goodbye to the ones that we love/goodbye to the ones that we love.” And for reasons I can’t explain it’s so satisfying when he sings “Oh lord/have mercy on my soul.” It’s a back to basics, “we’re fucking angry and you’re gonna hear about it” song for Green Day, making one of the most satisfying.

Changing things completely is “Outlaws.” This song had to grow on me a bit. At first, I didn’t like the slow nature of the track. But now, I appreciate its dreamlike quality – it fits the nostalgic tone of the song. The only thing I still don’t like about the track is the opening. The distorted riff is jarring and doesn’t fit the flow of the rest of the song at all. Aside from that, the song is a bittersweet reflective look on the band’s youthful rebellion. Though it’s a ballad, which Green Day excels at, there’s still this fire and edge to it, especially during the bridge. This keeps the song from getting dull and boring. It’s actually pretty and kind of heartbreaking. If you’re the right age, it’ll make you think about your youth and it might form a lump in your throat.

Bouncing off the Wall” seems like a throwaway at first, but it’s just mindless fun. There’s this great upbeat energy to the track that makes you want to dance. It’s a nice break from the serious themes happening on the album. It actually sounds like a leftover from the Foxboro Hot Tubs. But this is where we start to hear the questionable lyrics on the album: “Chasing fireflies and zeroes.” This one still leaves my head scratching. These weird lyrics pop up in other songs, like the energetic and frantic “Too Dumb to Die:” “I feel like a cello/lost somewhere over the rainbow.” Sometimes the lyrics sound cool, but don’t make much sense. This album is not necessarily Armstrong’s finest when it comes to writing. But it doesn’t make me like the songs any less. I don’t always need my music to have substance, so I don’t mind the weird lyrics. Sometimes they just stick out and make you pause.

Still Breathing” is classic Green Day all the way. Great energy, hard guitars, and a hook made for sing-alongs. The way Armstrong sings out its positive message of coming out the other side of hard times is uplifting. Hearing that moment when he sings “Cause I’m still breathing” and the music falls away for a moment before the guitars explode, gives you chills. It makes you want to jump up and shout along with him. This will be a great crowd pleaser at shows. While “Youngblood” is good, it can be forgettable. It’s one I often don’t remember. It’s still really satisfying and catchy. Otherwise, it’s a pretty straightforward, standard Green Day track. The most memorable about the track is the line “Swear to god/and I’m not even superstitious.” Armstrong says so much about religion in that one lyric.

I’ve already mentioned “Too Dumb to Die,” which starts with this great lazy, sleepy groove before waking up with an explosion of guitars and drums. Personally, this song speaks to me; it’s about having a dream you don’t let go of even though others think you should, something I still relate to. Unfortunately, the weakest song on the album is “Troubled Times.” It’s not memorable, the hook is repetitive and lazy, and it’s kind of dull. The message is genuine and well meaning but executed in a bland manner. For Green Day, it’s a pretty generic song.

It’s hard to pick a favorite on this album, but currently, it’s “Forever Now.” It has that same larger than life feeling as their other lengthy songs, like “Jesus of Suburbia.” Though not as epic as that track, it’s a sheer force of driving energy and non-stop frenzy. The track is divided into three different acts that address the different themes of the album: getting older, being unhappy with the world, and acceptance. Coming back to lyrics, this song has one of the best lines of the entire album: “if this is what you call the good life/I want a better way to die.” Armstrong says how he feels about the world in this one line; it says so much in so little.

As the song continues, everything keeps building on top of each other getting more intense until we get to the “Somewhere Now” reprisal. Hearing the song again, the lyrics really hit home, especially the line “I’m heading late for somewhere now/I don’t want to be.” Armstrong laments giving up aspects of his life for something he didn’t think he’d be doing. Isn’t that something we can all relate to? It’s a thought-provoking way to end this awesome song.

The closing song “Ordinary World” is bare bones, yet beautiful. Though I don’t think it’s the proper closing song, that would be “Forever Now,” its simplicity and soothing nature makes it stand out. The light music has a lullaby quality to it, which is nice from the onslaught of anger, guitars, and fury from the other tracks. There’s also a somber tone to it; Armstrong wonders about his place in the world and similar to the other tracks, there’s a sense of reflection to it. It’s a great song, yet feels out of place on the album. It seems like it was only included due to the movie being released shortly after the LP.

Revolution Radio wasn’t what I expected, but that’s part of the reason I like it so much. It may not live up to some of the band’s other albums, but it’s more focused and has more substance than their previous efforts. Some of the songs have spotty lyrics, not showing off Billie’s writing talent, but at least it never crosses into cringe territory. The songs here seem to represent the different styles the band has done over the years. There’s the anger of American Idiot, the party vibe of the Trilogy, the political air of 21st Century Breakdown, and the maturity of Warning. They may not hit certain political themes as hard as they could, but it’s nice that the record doesn’t focus solely on these issues. Rather they spend most of it reflecting on their youth and getting older. But as the songs here show, just because their older doesn’t mean they have to behave.

Playlist: Best Grammy Award Performances

It’s almost time for the Grammys again, which means lots of snubs, disappointments, questionable moments, and Adele. That’s why everyone is going to watch, right? The award ceremony has been panned for the past couple of years for being bland and boring, but along with its low moments are tons of high moments. It’s still known for some of the most iconic and memorable performances in music. So before we start predicting when exactly Kanye is going to crash the stage, lets look back on some of the best performances from the Grammys.

“Stan” – Eminem & Elton John (2001)

Though Eminem made a joke about the Grammys in his song “The Real Slim Shady,” he’s been no stranger to them since his massive album The Marshall Mathers LP. This is the time when the rapper was most controversial garnering the anger of groups like GLAAD, who claimed he was homophobic. To shut up his critics once and for all, Eminem delivered a powerful performance of “Stan” with Elton John singing the chorus. At the song’s end, the two embraced and held hands in a victory pose. It’s not only one of the best Grammy moments of all time, but one of the best Eminem moments ever.

“American Idiot” – Green Day (2005)

Eyeliner, creepers, red ties, and lots of pyro. American Idiot era Green Day was on the rise thanks to their massive concept album. Not only was it a big winner at the 2005 Grammys, they also delivered a performance of the title track that was unforgettable. Instead of being cut and dry, the band brought their snotty attitude, slaying guitars, and their love of fire with them. As usual the band sounded great and wowed the crowd with fire shooting up at all the right moments. The band made sure to light a fire under the asses of the stiff academy. This is just one of a number of amazing performances from the year of American Idiot.

“The Way You Make Me Feel/Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson (1988)

Michael Jackson didn’t grace award show stages that much during his life, but whenever he did it brought the fucking house down. This 1988 performance starts out pretty standard: Jackson blows away the crowd with his dancing and singing. But it’s not until we get to “Man in the Mirror” where the show really starts. As he continues to sing, he gets more into the song until he’s falling on his knees, near tears, demanding everyone to “make that change.” The best part are the last five minutes where he seems to go off the record and just feels the music and gets everyone to stand up. He’s possessed by the song as he spins and collapses while a choir backs him up. It’s one of those moments that’s so stunning you remain quiet during the whole thing.  It shows why there will never be another performer with the fire, passion, and moves like Jackson.

“Where It’s At” – Beck (1997)

There’s always one year where Beck sweeps the award shows and makes some people question “Who the hell is Beck?” During the 1997 Grammys, he performed his hit single “Where It’s At” from Odeley, which was up for several awards that night. The thing that makes the performance so great is Beck’s unbridled energy. He has all the moves and swagger of a rapper and even pulls some awkward, yet entertaining dance moves at the end. His monotone vocals matched with his wild movements makes Beck hypnotizing to watch on stage. It ends on a high note, literally with Beck pulling off some scratchy falsetto. After the performance he won a Grammy for Best Rock Male Vocal. And similar to last year’s ceremony, many were left wondering who the hell this guy was.

“Runaway” – Bruno Mars (2012)

I wouldn’t call myself a huge Bruno Mars fan, but his performance from the 2012 Grammys blew me away. Is it his upbeat energy? Yes. Is it his style? Yes. Is it him commanding people to get off their “rich asses?” Yes. He sounds great and pulls off some awesome dance moves, but what makes this performance so memorable is the set up. It looks like an old school soul performance complete with matching gold suits, Temptation style dance moves, and Bruno’s pompadour with some added James Brown for flavor. He’s such a charismatic performer that he makes any award shows, or Super Bowl, exciting.

“I Put a Spell on You” – Annie Lennox & Hozier (2015)

What started out as a performance from Hozier featuring Annie Lennox turned into the Eurythmics singer taking over the stage. She came out to join Hozier on “Take Me to Church,” but as soon as she started “I Put A Spell on You” everyone forgot he was on stage. Her soulful delivery is powerful and she commands the stage while singing and swinging her hips. All Hozier could do and stand back and nervously smile. The way she belted out those notes gave you chills. It was so amazing it’s all people could talk about the next day. Sorry, Hozier. Good try, though.

“I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (1994)

At the 36th Grammys Whitney Houston blew everyone away this performance of her hit single “I Will Always Love You.” She starts out by performing the first verse acapella, which is enough to stir you. She really gets in her element when the music starts up and she continues singing in her elegant white gown. The best is when the drum pounds and she holds the note while she sings the chorus one more time. Watching it again over 20 years later, it still gives you goosebumps when she hits that note. It’s a reminder of what a wonderful performer Houston was and a sad reminder of what we’ve lost.

“One” – Metallica (1989)

Everyone knows the story of Metallica losing the Best Heavy Metal album to Jethro Tull in 1989. Though they didn’t win, and yeah they should’ve of, they delivered a blazing performance of “One” from their …And Justice for All album. Things start out kind of shaky with the vocals, once the band gets in the groove of things, they take over the stage and set fire to the Grammys. The performance is intense, brutal, and heavy as if reminding the committee why they should’ve won in the first place. Luckily, the academy realized they were wrong and gave the band best Metal Performance for the same song the following year. The band revisited the song at the 2014 ceremony with pianist Land Lang accompanying them.

“Feel Good Inc/Hung Up” – Madonna & Gorillaz (2006)

Madonna and Gorillaz seems like a collaboration that would never happen, but oddly enough it works. This performance features the animated band as 3D holograms singing, gyrating, and looking bored in general. When De La Soul comes out 2-D checks his phone while leaning on the mic. Then Madonna pops up on screen, also a hologram, and teases the band. After that she appears on stage in the purple leotard first seen in the “Hung Up” video. The entire performance is fun, innovative, creative, and unforgettable. Though Madonna’s rendition of “Living for Love” was also good, this one is more memorable and creative.

“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele (2012)

You knew she was going to pop up here sooner or later. The performance is simple; no fancy effects, tricks, or collaborations. Just Adele, her singers, and her band. Her voice is so powerful and beautiful, you can close your eyes and let it wash over you. Even if you don’t play her heartbreaking songs on repeat after seeing this performance you had to acknowledge that she’s one of the best modern singers. There are plenty of people who can’t wait to see what the singer will do at this year’s ceremony. Actually, it’s probably the only reason anyone will tune in.

“Glitter in the Air” – Pink (2010)

When Pink came out on stage to perform “Glitter in the Air” no one at home or in the crowd expected to see her twirling through the air. She comes out in a hooded shroud, looking beautiful and elegant. Just when you think she’s going to stand there and sing, she reveals a nude leotard and joins a group of aerial acrobats that lift her in the air. She strikes various poses and even pulls off an impressive spin and she’s still singing. She never misses a beat. By the end everyone was stunned and in awe. It’s a trick she’s pulled off a few more times for later Grammy performances, but no one will ever forget the first time she did it here.

“Seven Nation Army/Death Letter” – The White Stripes (2004)

The White Stripes managed to make a lot of noise at the 2004 ceremony. The performance starts out with the popular “Seven Nation Army,” but ends with a chaotic seizure educing rendition of “Death Letter.” It’s here where Jack White lets loose and plays with fire and fury. He stumbles around the stage, motion towards Meg White, and ends the song with a unchained solo. The performance is also great due to the weird introduction by Beck who references “Children of God” before introducing the duo. Well, it is Beck after all.

“La Copa de la Vida (Cup of Life)” – Ricky Martin (1999)

This performance will forever be burned in my memory. Why? Because my mom and I were glued to the screen, wondering who this hot new guy was and how fast could we get his album. Ricky Martin was at the forefront of the Latin explosion of the late 90s. He cemented his popularity at the time with this performance at the 41st Grammy Awards. After this performance aired, Martin was a household name and everyone wanted to live “la vida loca.” Sorry, I had to.

“Lady Marmalade” – Pink, Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil’ Kim ft. Missy Elliot & Patti LaBelle (2002)

It was hard to escape this song in the early 2000s and though the group of ladies performed the song at various award shows throughout the year, this one is the best. All of the singers sound on point and Aguilera finally shed the gigantic poodle wig she was obsessed with. What made this performance so memorable from the others, is the original Lady Marmalade, Patti LaBelle, joined the group on stage. While she didn’t get to sing much she did enough to show she still had the chops and even though this cover was pretty good, nothing could outshine the original.

Which Grammy performance is your favorite? Is there one that I missed? Let me know in the comments.


Heart Like a Hand Grenade (2015)

Rating: 8.5/10

7 PM. No one is in the mall except for disgruntled employees wondering why their boutiques are still open. But on the fourth floor, people are filing into the theater wearing shirts proclaiming “Green Day” loud and proud. We all came there for one reason: to see the elusive documentary Heart Like a Hand Grenade, a film that took eleven years to be officially released. The crowd cheered as the lights went down and sat in silence to take in every second. As the title splashed across the screen a huge smile broke out on my face. It was finally happening.

I never got the chance to see the film aside from some cobbled together clips as part of a Fuse special, so I was pumped to see this in a theater with other fans. As soon as Billie’s voice poured out of the speakers I was hooked. I wanted to absorb everything about the movie and make sure I didn’t miss a thing. It opens with Billie counting down the minutes to his birthday and a fire breaking out the first day of recording. This is followed by a cute re-enactment of the accident with Tre and Billie represented by little dolls. This is just going to get better.

John Roecker wanted to make sure the film looked stylish and eye popping. He did a great job with the opening sequence, but when it came to the “Jesus of Suburbia” footage it fell apart. Instead of focusing entirely on the band performing, this is mixed with a bizarre scene of dancers pulling off spastic choreography trying to recreate a 60s film. I laughed for the first few minutes and wanted for the song to be cut off and move on to more footage. The entire song played. Nine minutes of bug eyes dancers that have nothing to do with the band or the song. Who knows what Roecker was thinking when he put this together. We missed out on nine minutes of recording footage for some weird ass dance number nobody asked for. Luckily, these low points weren’t a frequent occurrence.

Anyone hoping to learn something new about the album may be disappointed. While there’s great footage of the band bouncing ideas around, recording, re-doing takes, and being silly, nothing we didn’t already know was revealed. I didn’t come away with a better understanding of the songs or the LP itself. It’s been eleven years since it was released; there’s a good chance we know all we can about it. Instead, a lot of the film is the band performing through the album tracks, sometimes live, sometimes in the studio. Not to say this footage isn’t interesting or fun to watch, it’s just not what I thought of. I hoped it would focus on the making of the album instead of listening to almost the entirety of American Idiot. But hungry fans will clamor for footage of an isolated Billie Joe doing naked vocals for tracks like “JOS” and “Homecoming.”

Of course, the film is funny. There are so many moments where they guys are being silly and making jokes. Whether it’s Tre dressing as a sheikh, Billie mocking weird negative comments from the message board, or Mike and Tre swimming naked in a pool, there were plenty of moments that got the whole theater laughing. Not only is it funny, but it shows what a good time they had while making the album. And this is something they touch on in the voice overs. They mention how they had such a good time they weren’t ready for it to end. We can see this in one scene where Billie wipes away tears when “Whatsername” is recorded. The fun and passion they had for making the record clearly came across in the finished product.

If anything the film is like a flashback. While I was watching it I went back to 2004 when I first got the album and how I fell in love with it. It was hard to stay in my seat when songs like “St. Jimmy” and “Are We the Waiting?” played. I was ready to dance and sing as they came on, but figured it would get me kicked out of the theater. But it also brought back the excitement of that whole era. Seeing them all over TV, cheering for them when they won a Grammy, and for me, hoping to see them live one day. So maybe the film isn’t what I expected, but I still loved it. It made me fall in love with the album all over again. Plus, I’m always a sucker for good behind the scenes footage. Also, it was so cool sitting with other Green Day fans who were proud to support the band. With all the hate they get it’s sometimes easy to forget how well loved they actually are. It just felt like a bonding moment between everyone in the theater. Whether it’s because of the music, the era, or the footage, this film stuck with more than their last documentary, ¡Cuatro! It just seemed to be a magical time for both the band and fans alike. It was wonderful to revisit that time. And I wasn’t ready to leave.

10 Years of Being an American Idiot


September 20, 2004 will forever be an important day for Green Day fans everywhere. It’s when the band’s landmark album American Idiot came out and believe it or not, it’s 10 years old. This is the record responsible for the band’s massive music take over. This is the one that brought more fans into the Green Day fold. This is the album that has stood the test of time. It also proved Green Day had a fire in them that hadn’t died out just yet.

I still remember going to Circuit City to pick up the album like it was only a few years ago. No one could predict the major success that would come with, especially since the band were close to calling quits a few years earlier. It made them the biggest act on the planet and showed they were meant to have a long, lucrative career. This was the record that made me a longtime Green Day fan. It’s still one of my favorites and sounds as amazing as it did when I first heard it. It’s still hard to believe I first heard the powerful lyrics and blazing guitars 10 years ago.

There was nothing about the LP I disliked. I instantly fell in love with the title track and all the subsequent singles, but the way the other songs were catchy and notable left me in awe. How was it possible for one album to be so damn good? The great hooks and intense music are what initially attracted me, but the more I heard it the more I began to understand what made the record so special. After listening to it a few times I started to realize all the songs were connected. It wasn’t until I dived into the lyrics I uncovered the story of Jesus of Suburbia and St. Jimmy. The tracks weren’t just notable because of a hook or a distinct guitar riff. So many other factors were in play, mainly passion and hard work.

Green Day didn’t invent the concept album, but they did show me how records have the ability to tell intricate stories complete with interesting characters and situations you can relate to. I remember just how amazed I was when I heard “Jesus of Suburbia.” It was nine minutes of chaos, aggression, anger, and kick ass music. As the song kept transitioning between the different acts, I was left speechless. What was going on? It was like five mini songs wrapped up in one large, epic track. They did it again with “Homecoming” to wrap up the tale of St. Jimmy. It was unlike anything I had heard before. I had no idea artists could just take the song format and completely flip it on its head.

The band has had successful albums before, but on this one they showed they could do more than make snotty punk rock songs. To be fair, they already veered away from their winning formula on albums like Nimrod and Warning, but here they were so hungry and full of passion it made the world pay attention. They even took the songwriting to a new level. It’s more personal than before, full of clever, witty lyrics that managed to comment on teen angst, going against the norm, and American politics. I admired the way they addressed the political issues of the time. They weren’t shoving it down my throat. Rather, they made me aware of what was going on and why it wasn’t right.

Lines like “I’m the son of rage and love” are still being scribbled across notebooks all over the world. Everything about the songs managed to reach people on such an emotional level. Whether it was something relatable, like the death of a loved one, or a song that just made you feel good, it’s special. When I listen to it now feelings of awe, pride, and excitement come flooding back to me. The album is full of great memories and still has a special place in my heart. It’s something I still love listening to and one I’ll sing along without hesitation. I’ll always remember it as a wonderful times for both fan and the band alike.

It’s a timeless album that showed the world just how amazing Green Day is. It’s one of those records everyone should hear at least once, sort like Nevermind. It’s an essential record that re-invented the band and the way we think about music. It’s something people are still debating, reviewing, and listening to 10 years later on. Now, if you excuse me, I’ve got an album to listen to.