Green Day @ The Wharf Amphitheater - 9/6/2017

This year has been great to me when it comes to concerts. Sure I’ve spent too much money buying tickets and gas and parking, but we’ve seen some great artists all around the region. The Green Day show in Orange Beach is and will be the crown jewel of the entire year.  

Green Day has always been on my super short list of acts I had never seen live, but needed to see before I die. I’ve been a fan since somewhere around 1995, so that’s about 20+ years of idolizing Billie Joe, Mike and Tre. From Dookie to Revolution Radio, I’ve been completely immersed in Green Day for more than my adult life.  

The Wharf probably isn’t my preferred setting for a Green Day show, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are far past playing dimly lit clubs and intimate bar-like settings. That’s not a knock against the band, it just a stylistic preference. Acts like John Mayer or Maroon 5 make perfect sense in a sterile professional setting, but regardless of how much pyro, and fireworks Green Day has, I want to be up close and personal with my “punk” bands.  

Having “PIT” tickets was the next best thing. We were able to get about 5 feet from the rail and could see all of the action. Ultimately I was not prepared for the show Green Day was about rain down on that sweaty Alabama audience. They tore through a 25 song set that seemed never ending at the time. High energy tracks like “Bang Bang”, “Welcome to Paradise” and “American Idiot” were met with an audience ferocity like none other.

I’m a 34-year-old man, in relatively good health and I was having trouble keeping up with the energy of the band. Green Day is full of men in their mid-40′s and all three of they were spry in a way middle-aged men shouldn’t be. It was clear they wanted to rock and age wasn’t going to stop them. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a concert with a crowd that was more engaged. We were dancing, singing, screaming, and crying. The pit of that Green Day concert was a unified congregation of aggressive joy and Billie Joe was our preacher.

Every person was hanging on every word that man said. From the crowd participation, to the costume changes, to the water hose, to the confetti, the crowd was fully invested in Green Day’s hijinks. It was really a show like no other. I might have to refer to the segments of my life as BGD (Before Green Day) and AGD (After Green Day) because I don’t see any other live act topping the unbridled joy that permeated the entire experience. 

It was a career-spanning show with 2 pre-Dookie songs being featured.  The only era they did not touch was the Trilogy Era, but we all know that was perfectly fine. At three points during the show, fans got to come up and sing or play guitar with the band. Being in the pit and seeing the people standing next to me get pulled up, helped reinforce the feeling that we were all just friends hanging out, it just so happened that Billie and his buds brought instruments, lighting, and fireworks. I cannot say enough about this show. I feel like I watched my Rolling Stones or Van Halen.  

As usual, my lovely wife was able to get the setlist from the show and as we collected ourselves while walking to the car, I was reminded that Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool, are without a doubt 3 of the coolest people on earth. Not because they are attractive, not because they follow the cool trends, and not because they are famous. They are the coolest people because they clearly have a deep respect for what they do and for whom they do it.  

Their music has transcended generations because they are talented men that work hard to get it right. Seeing the three of them in action, enjoying the process of making people happy brought the Green Day experience full circle. We were watching them and having an amazing time, but I think secretly they were having an even better time providing that experience to us.