Green Day Gives Fans the Time of Their Lives

Green Day
United Center – Chicago, IL
July 13, 2009

Green Day United CenterBillie Joe Armstrong (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to explaining how much I love Green Day, the band’s music, and their live performance. Prior to last Monday, I had only seen Green Day live in concert once before, and that was on May 10th, 2005 in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Van Andel Arena. My Chemical Romance was the opening act. My seat was in the nose bleed section, and I could barely see anything on stage. I did not own any Green Day albums, but was familiar with the trio’s singles thanks to my younger cousin John and the radio. The next day I went straight to Best Buy before heading to work and bought every single piece of Green Day music that the store had in stock. Never in my life had I been so completely and utterly blown away by an artist’s energy and passion for what they do than at that Green Day concert over four years ago. Trust me, I have attended more concerts that I can count and Billie Joe Armstrong and Co. still hold the record in my book for incorporating the most audience interaction into their live show.

Green Day United CenterMike Dirnt (bass, backing vocals)

Crowd participation is by far the way to go to lock in fan loyalty if you ask me. Green Day held tight to their tradition and brought up four fans on stage during last Monday’s sold out show at the United Center. A ten year old boy named Jack from Evanston was chosen to join the band on stage during “East Jesus Nowhere” to be “saved” by the band’s frontman and songwriting mastermind Billie Joe. Next, a man whose name escapes me was allowed to take the mic and lead the crowd of more than 15,000 through the band’s early hit “Longview.” After that dude had his turn singing a verse and chorus, a girl from Palos Heights got her turn and sang through the next verse and chorus before being told by Armstrong that the only way to leave the stage was to dive off of it and back into the pit where she came from. Upon seeing this chick barely make it back over the barricade into her friend’s arms, Armstrong proclaimed that “That was the worst stage dive I have ever seen in my life.” Agreed.

Green Day United CenterTre Cool (drums)

The fourth, final, and luckiest fan chosen to join Armstrong, Dirnt, and Cool onstage was a boy who appeared to be no more than 12 years old. The kid only made it up there after answering Armstrong’s question of “What key is it in?” while referring to the epic single “Jesus Of Suburbia” off of Green Day’s 2004 disc American Idiot . The goal was to find a fan who knew not only how to play the guitar, but how to play the entire song on the guitar while simultaneously singing every word to it. Billie Joe even made sure fans knew that “This isn’t just a three chord thing; it’s more like a six chord thing.” Well, this little dude did not disappoint. He was AWESOME! I can’t imagine what was going through this boy’s head as Armstrong placed his very own guitar over the kid’s shoulder and let him sit down on one of the many monitors lining the edge of the stage. Sure enough, the kid held his own and easily strummed all six chords included in the song’s many catchy progressions while Billie Joe took over vocal duties leading the crowd through all of “Suburbia.” However, the track is over nine minutes long. Therefore, Armstrong ended up sending the kid back into the crowd about halfway through and finished up plowing through “Suburbia” along with bassist Mike Dirnt, drummer Tre Cool, and the rest of the guys who play with Green Day every night as part of their augmented touring band.

You can find the set list from Green Day’s Chicago show below. As much as I love all of Green Day’s catalog, I wish the guys would have played more than just seven songs off of their latest record, 21st Century Breakdown. I know for a fact that the band did not have a curfew that night. Therefore, if Green Day wanted to play every song they’ve ever written, they damn well could have done so! At least they played “Before The Lobotomy,” which is my second favorite track off of Breakdown . However, I wish the guys would have played “Murder City,” my absolute favorite track on the new record.  And one of these days, I hope to see Green Day perform “When I Come Around,” my favorite song off of Dookie.

Set List / Chicago

21st Century Breakdown

Know Your Enemy

East Jesus Nowhere


The Static Age

Before The Lobotomy

Are We The Waiting

St. Jimmy

Geek Stink Breath

Hitchin’ A Ride

Brain Stew



Basket Case


Take Me Out To The Ball Game (7th Inning Stretch)

King For A Day

Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)

Chicago (Frank Sinatra cover)

I’ll Be There (Jackson 5 cover)

Stand By Me (Ben E. King cover)

21 Guns

American Eulogy: Mass Hysteria / Modern World


American Idiot

Jesus Of Suburbia

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams


Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)

More photos of Green Day members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool after the jump!

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

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  1. Sarah says:

    Amazing photo’s my dear! As always you do not disappoint!
    I love Green Day too, sounds like they put on an amazing show! I saw them a few years back and they were soooo good! You had to have been stoked to be that close up!


  2. Stephanie says:

    I LOVE GREEN DAY. They’re so adorable, and I love the old them and the new them. I’ve seen them once before when they came to Peoria. It was amazing because they did interact with the crowd. Like you said earlier, they brought people on stage to play songs for them, pyro, confetti, mooned us, the whole works when i saw them. I’ve been listening to them and had their albums since i was a kid. I like their song 21 guns that was in the new Transformers movie. No matter what, I’ll always love Green Day.

  3. Kaytee says:

    It was so cool to experience that with you. Your article was EPIC just like you said it would be. Awesome pictures, I especially love the ones where Joel is so close up that you can see his stubble and sweat. Sick, I know?
    Well, again, great article & I hope that you kept all those photos.
    -Kaytee D.

  4. Sara says:

    I wanted to go to this show so badly! I love the pictures. It seems like they played a solid set.

  5. Andy Keil says:

    You got some really great shots, congrats.

  6. TaraJenkins says:

    Oh, Jen, you must have been BESIDE yourself at this concert, eh? Awesome pics, as usual, but perhaps even MORE awesome because of your love for this band. I’ve always been a Green Day fan myself, but have never been to a concert. You make it sound so awesome, i”m now determined to go!!!

  7. alli says:

    great pics. still think billie joe is a major cutie boy. but WHY WHY WHY THE EYELINER. ugh.

  8. Vilmarie R says:

    Awesome effing pics! How is it Billie Joe still looks like he’s 27 or something? Great genes. Thanks for the set list! Great review as well :O)

  9. Jamie says:

    Those pictures are all so great! I’m such a slacker, I didn’t even know they were in town, looked like a great show!

  10. AP says:

    Hey! I was also at this show and it was amazing!

    I was just wondering those pictures are yours? If so, how were able to take them? Are you a photographer for a paper or magazine? I’m curious because I’m really interested in photography, and it is my dream to take photos at concerts! Especially Green Day.

  11. taylor jernigan says:

    i went to this concert and it was the experiance of a lifetime.
    yes. i was only 13 at the time. but i look back on it and im almost in tears because of the fact i saw them.

    i did nothing at the concert but sit there in awe. no joke.

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