Live: Green Daze Illuminate Chicago's Aragon Ballroom

17 years old in high school with options and career choices wide open; I begin to date a girl whose brother liked Green Day. I saw the "Longview" video on MTV, danced to the song when I sneaked into clubs and fell in love. I thought to myself, "You mean this rock ass band is singing about isolation, masturbation, and smoking pot?" I immediately bought Dookie, 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, and Kerplunk to retrace the steps of my new favorite band. "Coming Clean" from Dookie basically summed up my existence to that point and I thanked the band relentlessly by blasting them in my tan í87 Chevy Blazer to and from school every morning my entire senior year. I am 24 years old and I absolutely love Green Day, this is how their rock show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago went down.

A few things are certain when entering the grasp of Green Day in the arena form. The boys always take two minute explosive songs and turn them into ten minute instrumental "fun time" segments for Billie Joe to act like the charming clown he is, igniting the sold out crowd with "Ehhhh Ohhhhs" and various orchestrated Simon says bits. Tre Cool will always toss his drumsticks for a fresh pair after every song, sometimes in the middle of one if he feels punk enough. A teenage boy, his green haired friend, and a proud and slightly frightened set of parents with earplugs will always be the coolest people at the show. Since the tickets were $26.00 a pop on a school night, the kids and their parents are way cooler than you think.

Flashing red lights triggered the bandís entrance as they ripped into "Nice Guys Finish Last", the lead single from the crewís Nimrod album. Mike Durnt slapped his bass with a hairless head, as Billie Joe strummed with a red guitar, his precious BJ axe was nowhere to be found. "Castaway" came in second from the latest effort Warning, which instigated the first of many Billie Joe orchestrated crowd sing alongs. "Church on Sunday" came in next, with help from a second guitarist (later named Jason White) and a saxophone player, which is something that I have never seen before at a GD show. We all knew "Longview" from the breakthrough Dookie record was coming and as Billie came out dawning a wolf mask the East Bay idols ripped into their most famous song to date. Right before the first chorus struck, a second Green Day banner dropped from the roof covering the first, as "Bite my lip and close my eyes" was heard from every mouth in the audience.

"Welcome To Paradise", "Hitchin A Ride", then "Brain Stew" from Insomniac were launched, as Billie Joe took time to super soak the audience as he stretched his cherished 3 minute bursts into clock eating numbers. "Jaded" came in as the extension of Brain Stew, with help from the second guitarist Jason White as he hammered away leaving Billie Joe to run and sing with just a microphone.

The much anticipated request lines opened up making it that much more exciting for fans like me who have seen the trio many times to possibly fall victim to older gems. "2,000 Light Years" away from 1992ís Lookout released Kerplunk treasure brought back many joyful memories as did the obligatory Green Day cover of Operation Ivyís "Knowledge" which trickled in next. GD have played the song so much, and took it from a band that broke up to avoid fame, that Billie now claimed that the song belonged to him. Operation Ivy was Tim Armstrong from Rancidís first band, and Billie Joeís first introduction to punk rock.

The coolest part of the evening came during the everlasting bridge of "Knowledge", when Billie asked for three people to come on stage to perform a make shift song right then and there. I have seen them do this with one kid and BJís guitar, but an entire band? After finding three cats that could actually play the respected instruments, the three bright-eyed boys closed out "Knowledge" and experienced the best night of their performing lives. The drummer ruled as he held up his right arm as he banged with his left, the guitar player was all right but the bass player THREW UP immediately after the song. Billie made all of the boys stage dive to get back into the crowd, but the bass player was still on the side blowing chunks. After the brought his dinner back up, the crowd chanted the boyís name as he jumped back into the audience. The band was dubbed the "Chicago Shitheads", look for their forthcoming release soon on a very major label.

A pair of Dookie tracks brought the crowd back to life with "Basket Case" followed by "She". Sporting a kingís crown, Billie launched into "King For A Day", then into "Waiting" from the Warning album, which was getting a ton of great response from the crowd, as I thought this album slipped under the radar for some reason. Serves me right for questioning the teenage market.

"Minority" was the final song before the crew left the stage for the evening, only to return seconds later for their encore. "Time Of Your Life" left Billie on the stage plugged in and all by himself. "Warning" came next followed by the terminal paced "Platypus (I Hate You) which helped drop the bandís third banner of the evening, this time an 80ís Judas Priest style Green Day logo which looked so so cool.

"When I Come Around" looked like the closer, as the third banner dropped, the glitter and confetti dripped from the ceiling and Tre knocked his kit over and Mike assisted by javelin tossing his bass into the chaos. But alas the Green Daze kept on, this time with a lovely version of Warningís last track "Macyís Day Parade", which proved to be the final song of the evening. The fellas left the stage for a couple of seconds, before Billie Joe came back on only to knock over Treís cymbals.

Green Day have been playing gigs and making records since their early teens, dating back to almost fifteen years. I swear on the holy rock bible, that they are one of the tightest bands that I have ever seen, and I am grateful for the music that they have provided out ears. And to all of the haters, Green Day never sold out ñ they just sold records.

Aragon Ballroom June 19, 2001

Nice Guys Finish Last


Church On Sunday


Welcome To Paradise

Hitchiní A Ride

Brain Stew


2,000 Light Years Away


Basket Case


King For A Day


Time Of Your Life


Platypus (I Hate You)

When I Come Around

Macyís Day Parade

Source: Jason Anfinsen

Live: Green Daze Illuminate Chicago's Aragon Ballroom