A day before Green Day’s newest album, Revolution Radio, was set to come out, I was handed the opportunity of a lifetime. An acquaintance of mine, Steve, had found out about an exclusive album release party for Green Day’s album, which was set to take place at a record store in Brooklyn, New York. Tickets were limited to the first 250 people who arrived at the venue, making for one of Green Day’s most intimate shows in history. Steve was hell bent on being one of those 250 people, but his plus-one had cancelled last minute. So, he invited my boyfriend and I.
The plan was to leave that night, drive to the venue, and stay there all night long. With absolutely no hesitation, I said yes.
Green Day tickets are hard enough to come by for a broke college student as it is, and the band has been completely off the map for several years now. In the weeks prior, they had released, out of the blue, several fiery singles that set alight the anticipation for more. I’d do anything to see that live.
Before I even knew what was going on, we were on our way to New York City. We arrived at the venue around 1am to discover a small line of fans already lining up. We jumped in line and were given the numbers 43, 44, and 45. We were in – now all we had to do was make it to morning. Ten hours of sitting on the sidewalk had seemed like no problem until we got there. It was dark and cold, but we were surrounded by other people who loved Green Day just as much as we did; the 11 hours we spent together were far from dull.
By the time 11am rolled around, we were all past the point of exhaustion and on to the point of being much too awake. It was at this time that the record store opened and the first 30 people in line were allowed inside to get their tickets. It was the moment of truth – we had waited all night for this. Several crew members arrived to live stream the moment to Green Day’s Twitter account as we all chattered excitedly.
Finally, it was time to go in, and I handed the cashier all the money I had to my name in exchange for the brand new album, Revolution Radio, and, more importantly, the wristband that would serve as my ticket. My friends and I were ecstatic – we had done it. We were seeing Green Day. Fast-forward through a few hours of killing time in the city, and we were inside one of the smallest venues I have ever been in. The stage was close enough to touch. I couldn’t believe that Green Day was going to play here until they came onstage. For the entire set, I was within feet of the biggest rock band in the world. It was incredible.
The set was fantastic. It started, understandably, with several songs from the new album, including an exciting performance of the new single “Bang Bang.” After this, the band jumped back about 20 years for much of the remainder of the set, to everyone’s delight. That night, we heard songs that haven’t been played live in decades, if ever. The tracklist consisted almost entirely of material from 39/Smooth, Dookie, and Insomniac, with only two songs from American Idiot and none newer than that. It was a gloriously refreshing taste of Green Day’s roots. Each song was performed with the same youthful energy that it had back in the day, and the crowd surged with excitement. We were so lucky, and we all knew it. Green Day was there that day to remind us just how here they still were, still kickin’ and unfiltered after 30 years. They had remembered where they came from and rediscovered some of the inspirations that had driven them in the past. This show was meant to show us that Green Day, as we knew it, is back. And we got the message loud and clear.
A mere hour into the set, Green Day thanked us and walked offstage. No one could believe it was over and we chanted again and again for an encore – but the band never came back. We looked on in disbelief as techies started breaking down equipment. We had camped out all night for a one-hour show? Why hadn’t they said goodbye before they left? We were 250 of Green Day’s biggest, most dedicated fans – surely they wouldn’t rip us off like that? We couldn’t figure it out, but none of us wanted to believe that our heroes had abandoned us like that.
We waited around the side door of the venue, hoping to catch the band members as they left for the night and ask them ourselves. Venue security repeatedly tried to thwart us, but eventually they arrived and we got their attention. Unfortunately, my attempt at questioning Billie Joe Armstrong himself was drowned out by fangirls screeching for autographs, but I was still able to shake his hand which dispelled some of my distress.
After all that, there was nothing left to do except drive home and try to make sense of what had just happened to us. It was simultaneously the best experience of our lives and a short-lived, bittersweet moment. It was over so quickly, but while it had lasted it was incredible. The abrupt ending to the show left a bitter taste in our mouths afterwards, but this could be shaken. We later found out through unofficial record store employee statements that the venue had cut power for the show after too many people in the audience sustained injuries, meaning that it was not Green Day’s decision to leave. We had all hoped and expected as much, but still felt that the band should have told us themselves.
Despite that minor hangup, this weekend was the best weekend of my life. I was able to gain access to Green Day’s most intimate show in decades. I was able to jump on a once in a lifetime opportunity to see my favorite band, my idols up close, to experience their success and the excitement for their latest release right alongside them. This weekend, I was able to experience something that only 250 of my new friends will ever understand. This weekend, the power of music was reiterated to me more strongly than ever, my teenage dreams came true, and I learned that miracles are real.