September 19, 2009

A Little Love for Green Day

In the past here at AWASOS I've made it clear that I'm not a big fan of Green Day. I just find their brand of pop-punk a bit generic and a little disingenuous. Now, that being said, if I'm willing to take a shot at them when they act like douchebags I should, in the interest of fair play, throw them a little praise when they deserve it.

Last weekend I was down in New York City covering the MTV Video Music Awards and the day before the event we were inside Radio City Music Hall shooting some "behind the scenes" stuff for MTV News when Green Day took the stage to soundcheck. While I'm far from being a fan of the band, I'm certainly a fan of live music, and I'll never pass on the opportunity to watch a band perform. There were maybe 100 people inside the cavernous - and beautiful - Radio City Music Hall when the guys took to the stage and we settled into our seats to watch them play.
One of the great perks of working at MTV is that we have a world class Concert Hall in the building that houses the set of MTV Live and I've been fortunate enough on many occassions to wander upstairs from my desk and watch amazing musicians soundcheck. It's always very cool, but you also realize that in most cases, the band is essentially mailing it in, simply making sure their guitar is tuned and the levels are right. On many occassions, they'll get to the third verse and then say "yeah, we're good." Green Day was not like that.
I was impressed right away by the intensity of their performance. Despite playing to a sea of empty seats, it seemed pretty clear that the band was aware that the handful of people in the building had grown quiet and were excited that Green Day was on the stage. So they played a song, then another, then another and then another. And these weren't the usual low-energy performances I have grown accustom to from watching many soundchecks. The band was clearly bringing it, and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had cranked up the charisma and pounced around the stage like it was a sold out Madison Square Garden. What was even more unusual was none of the songs they played were the song they were performing for the VMAs, instead, they put on a mini concert for the people there, after the fourth song, with louder and louder hoots and hollers from the crowd after each tune, Billie Joe leaned into the mic and said "Now this is a fucking Green Day show!" Right as they were about to tear into a fifth song, a killjoy production assistant ran out on stage and got his attention. Armstrong sheepishly walked over to the microphone and told the assembled masses that they now had to play the song for the show.

In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, this was a pretty fucking cool thing for them to do.

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