Green Day

Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

Green Day
Starland Ballroom
Sayreville, NJ
September 28 2016

I was taken back when I heard the rumor that Green Day would be playing Starland Ballroom. How could it be that one of my all-time favorite bands -- last watched with an audience of 60,000 at Giants Stadium -- is possibly going to play at such an intimate venue.

Fast forward to rumor turned reality, I find myself beyond excited as I make my way past security into an already jam-packed venue. The crowd's age ranged from 6-60; lots of parents with kids. The mix resulted in perfect symmetry given the band's 30 year rock tenure.  After a thankfully brief opening act by Dog Party, the mounting excitement was palpable. The lights dim, the prelude begins with "Bohemian Rhapsody" into "Blitzkrieg Bop", conducted by their mascot the drunk Pink Bunny. It’s show time, out comes the band amid cheers that could be heard for miles followed by a jet black haired Billie Joe Armstrong. They launch right into a new song, "Bang Bang", which was very well received by the crowd, followed by "Revolution" -- another newbie and equally a crowd pleaser. To my surprise, many already knew the words! "Know Your Enemy" is up next with Billie Joe reminding us that Chris Christie is our mother f**king enemy; no arguments from the crowd. The hits kept on coming, with Billie Joe’s electrifying performance keeping the crowd riveted. The band was tight and spot on, with drummer extraordinaire Tre Cool maintaining the pace while sporting a kickass head of neon blue hair. Another foray into the political forum was during the hit "Holiday", when he asked the crowd what they thought about New York’s finest Donald Trump. Boos echoed throughout the venue, blaring louder than the music.

The night continued with every hit you could possibly ask for, mixed in with a cover of "Shout" and a new third song, "Still Breathing". It became my instant favorite. "Minority" was up last, as the whole crowd shouts "Down with the moral majority!”  Chants ensued for 1 more song!  In turn, they granted us with 4. "American Idiot" was followed by "Jesus of Suburbia", at which point the intensity of the crowd continued to build. The band goes off. I say to my friend "I will die if they come back with Good Riddance". Out comes Billie Joe, soloing acoustic with "Ordinary World" and….drum roll please…."Good Riddance" (Time of Your Life). I don’t die but turn to my friend instead, both of us with tears in our eyes, agreeing that he has given us that and much more. My quintessential concert moment is the realization that there is no place on earth I would rather be.  It doesn't always happen this way, but it happened that night in Sayreville, NJ.  

Author - Maryann “Chickie” Ciacciarelli
Photo - Jeff Crespi - Jeff Crespi Rocks

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