Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena, September 29th, 2005

The last day of September and you knew what was coming... A kick ass show. Now, I was a fan of Green Day when they where still unknowns from Oakland and they had this great album called Kerplunk. Dookie came out and it was good, but a tad bit overplayed on the radio. And by a tad bit, I mean I felt like I want to be institutionalized everytime I heard "Basket Case." Other bands made their way to the top of my list of favorites and I sort of forgot about them for a while (and I sure wasn't the only one). "Good Riddance" reminded people that Green Day was still making music, and they even gained some new fans because of the ballad. (Case in point, my mom really liked the song when she heard it during the final "Seinfeld" episode so I played some of their other stuff for her. She still isn't convinced that it is the same band.) But it wasn't until American Idiot came out that I decided break the bank and go see them live.

What the hell took me so long? It was the most interactive and fun concert I have ever been to. It all started with a dancing bunny leading the crowd in a rendition of "YMCA" and ended with Billy Joe performing "Good Riddance" in the dark, with only the glow from thousands of cell phones lighting up the arena. (Don't people bring lighters to concerts anymore???)

The highlight was the band pulling three kids from the audience to play their cover of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge." The band enjoyed taking a break and watching them perform while thousands of envious onlookers doned a Napoleon Dynomite face and cried out, "lucky". The guitarist even got to keep Billy Joe's guitar. What Mike Dirnt couldn't part with his bass?

I was under the impression (thanks to an airhead DJ on a Sacramento radio station) that Green Day was going to perform American Idiot from front to back. Although, I was disapointed that the entire second half of the album (aside from "When September Ends" OF COURSE) was left out, I developed a whole new appreciation for songs like "Longview," "Jaded" and, yes even "Basket Case."

The band did one thing that a lot of bands fail to do when they are performing... they had FUN and made sure the audience did as well. From the dancing bunny to a clown shooting confetti out into the crowd during "King for a Day" to Billy Joe stories of a local club the band used to play during their pre-fame Oakland days.

The band gets a lot of flack for being too mainstream and have been labelled "sellouts" by both critics and fans (yours truely included), but with "American Idiot" they have become more punk than ever. Yes, their songs get too much play on the radio and I could do without seeing Billy Joe and his eyeliner every day on VH1, but the band's music has gotten better since Kerplunk. And as long as their shows continue to be entertaining, they'll continue being "sellouts" and having fun along the way.

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