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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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A great night with Green Day at Alpharetta concert

By Bo Emerson for AJC.com

Green Day played tonight in Alpharetta to a crowd of

Green Day played tonight in Alpharetta to an almost sell-out crowd.

You realize how long Green Day has been around (and how many hits they’ve scored) when you ogle their audience Monday night at the Verizon-Wireless-Amphitheatre-at-Encore-Park in Alpharetta.and see hundreds of Moms and Dads in their 30s, 40s and 50s bringing their children — and even grandchildren — to see the venerable punk rock band.

Is Green Day punk? How can a punk band sell 15 million copies of its major label debut? What punk band writes an opera that gets produced on Broadway?

And if Green Day is punk, what were all these little kids doing out on a school night, shoving their fists in the air while Mom and Dad smiled on? Shouldn’t they be cheering Justin Bieber over in Gwinnett?

Maybe not.  It’s all rock and roll, very catchy, inflammatory rock and roll, that can seem like a Molotov cocktail one minute and a high school graduation ceremony the next.

The contrast between the wholesome audience (more Izods and haircuts than tattoos and piercings) and the heretical lyrics reached a peak moment, right after “East Jesus Nowhere,” when leader Billie Joe Armstrong staged a burlesque faith healing with a chubby cheeked pre-schooler that he brought up from the audience. The boy, named Zane, endured the event with a face as still as an Aztec frieze. “Zane,” said Armstrong. “You’re insane.”

The crowd, somewhere slightly shy of a 12,000 sellout, ate it up. They were promised the best show of their lives, and they looked like they were getting it. (Actually, Armstrong promised them the best blanking show of their lives, using a modifier that would be his favorite through the evening. He never stopped exhorting the audience — “Get those hands up in the air!” — and he eventually got them to break a sweat.

Did the F-bombs bother Dad and Mom? Not so’s you would notice.

“They’ve been to summer camp,” said Susan Polay, by way of explanation – meaning that her son Samuel, and his friend Dylan, both 12, have heard those words before.

“Eve has already passed the apple,” said father Robert Polay.

Samuel was just weeks before his bar mitzvah, but Green Day in Alpharetta was his first big rock show, and perhaps, said his mother, a rite of passage almost as significant as the upcoming religious ceremony. “Tonight he is a man.”

Despite the coarse language there was plenty of show business shtick to keep the whole family happy. After an opening set by AFI, Green Day came on shortly after 8 p.m., bringing the audience at the outdoor venue to its feet. Armstrong invited audience members onstage to sing, cooled off the first 10 rows with spray from two powerful hoses, and then entered a middle section that was sort of a rock and roll medley from hell.

After “When I Come Around,” he strung together bits of “Iron Man,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and that Rock Band video game staple, “Eye of the Tiger.”

(Green Day now has its own edition of the Rock Band game.)

After “Insomnia,” Armstrong shelled the audience with a T-shirt bazooka, sprayed them with a toilet paper gun, and then, improbably, turned a chunk of the evening over to that frat-party standard, “Shout.”

Drummer Tre’ Cool came forward, sang and did some high-kicking, the band worked its way down onto the floor, and played another medley while supine, incorporating “Stand By Me,” “Satisfaction,” “Hey Jude,” and (with side-man Jason Freese on saxophone) even a little “Yakety Sax.”)

The core Green Day – Armstrong on vocals and guitar, Cool on drums and Mike Dirnt on bass – are supplemented on this tour by Freese on keyboards, and Jason White and Jeff Matika on guitars.

But the force of nature in the band is Armstrong, who never stops and whose bullet-proof voice only begins to show wear and tear into the third hour of the show, when he took up an acoustic guitar to play the show closer, a solo version of “Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life)”

“They’re keeping punk alive,” said Nora Caudle, who came up from Scottsboro, Ala., with her daughter and her great-nephew to see the band.

“They rock.”

43 comments Add your comment

Atlbrett

August 10th, 2010
8:30 am

sell outs…..

Nacho Libre

August 10th, 2010
8:37 am

Just what I want….to pay big bucks so my kids can hear some jackazz musician spew the “F” bomb all night. Get a clue people. Now your kids will think it OK to add trash language to their daily interactions.

Ricardo L

August 10th, 2010
8:41 am

It’s amazing to see how much energy they have. They pull a gig regardless of the crowd size. They played ATL at the same level they did in LON. Worthed woithout any doubt. GREAT show…!

Nate

August 10th, 2010
8:43 am

Exactly. They were losing momentum in the mainstream big time right around the time “Warning” was released. Ever since that time their music has veered farther and farther away from punk. I appreciate everything they did along with The Offspring and Rancid in terms of increasing punk’s popularity. But only Rancid has remained true to its roots over the years. If you like real punk music you should’ve been at The Masquerade Sunday night to watch Guttermouth. That’s a punk rock show. And Guttermouth has been around as long or longer than Green Day…

Nightwing

August 10th, 2010
8:50 am

Agree with Ricardo, awesome show!! We have a box at the Verizon, and this was by far the best concert they have had in a loooooooong time!! And to Nacho, lighten up man! Maybe if you researched the group, you could avoid shelling out “big bucks” to hear some jackazz spew the F bomb. Instead, you could take all that money and invest in a commune somewhere away from the nastiness of the world.

Loving it

August 10th, 2010
8:53 am

What I love is when a music act hits it big time and they get the hit records and notoriety they feel like they can tell you how to feel about issues and how to vote. Awesome!

Old F

August 10th, 2010
9:14 am

I’ve been going to concerts for over 30 years and must say this was one of the best performances I have seen. Incredible energy throughout the entire show. Nothing wrong with the music of bands maturing as they do. Keeps them relevent.

oydave

August 10th, 2010
9:24 am

Their promo pix for American Idiot showed them with bombs under their coats while we were engaged in war with bomb-throwing Islamic Supremacists. Big lack of judgment. They have got the last dime from me. I hate it when a good band goes political. It’s never made a band better, and it can make a great band worthless. Dookie through Warning, though, all classics.

Stephanie

August 10th, 2010
9:40 am

OMG!!! The concert was amazing, and during a slow song I said “I love you” and Billy waited like 5 quick seconds and said “I love you too” It was the sweetest and most coolest thing ever. Ugh last night I wanted to get up on stage but I was a little far back from the stage, but I know he heard me. Billy, if you read this, I love you!!!

If you want....

August 10th, 2010
9:56 am

to see a band that knows how to play live, do yourself a favor and see 311 the next time they are in town. They come to ATL every summer, most recently selling out Lakewood (18,000) on July 17th. This is the best show you will see if you love rock music. Their drum solo is one of the highlights of the show. They love ATL so much that they are playing a special Halloween show at the Fox. Go check them out!

uhoh

August 10th, 2010
10:06 am

Was at the show, plenty of bored as hell looking parents hangin’ in the plaza. You should be ashamed of yourselves for letting your 12 year olds drag you to that show. F-bombs galore.

joey

August 10th, 2010
10:08 am

I like Green Day back in college in the 90’s with Dookie, but I still was not hooked. I went to the show last night, now I am hooked. Billy and the band have soo much energy, and give it all to their fans. Right from the fist song they rocked, and just kept it going and going and going. They played Guns and Roses, the Beatles, great songs. They got on the stage just after 8 and stayed on until 11, the crowd was just as large at 11 as they were when the band went on. Everyone was singing and rocking with the band. Green Day is one of the best live bands around, great show, great band. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug

August 10th, 2010
10:19 am

The Green Day/AFI show was spectacular! I’d have never thought Green Day to take up the mantle that U2 has carried for so long…showmanship, big songs, a deep catalog and a blistering, 30-song live set!! It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a LONG time. It was very cool seeing all of the families there…if you’re a fan, you know what you’re going to get and it’s nothing the kiddies don’t hear at school.

Orin

August 10th, 2010
10:34 am

I was at the show last night and they put on an awesome show. I loved that they played all their old stuff. I have been a fan since Dookie came out. They sounded great and Billy Joe interacted with the crowd a lot making it even more enjoyable despite the heat. What other band do you know of that repeatedly allows its fans to come on stage and sing the words to the next song? I would definitely go see them again.

Satchel

August 10th, 2010
10:34 am

Through sheer sweat and determination, this blue-collar rock band have become the greatest live band in America. The closest thing I can compare a Green Day concert to is Bruce Springsteen or U2. But even they don’t have the cross-generational reach. Even if you’ve never owned a Green Day CD in your life, just GO SEE THIS BAND. You can thank me later!

GreenYAY

August 10th, 2010
10:40 am

Yes, there are F-bombs, but let’s focus on what Green Day does NOT do: They don’t sing about women as sex objects. They don’t have one single song about t & a. As a female, I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. If I had a daughter, this is what I would want her to listen to, not the degrading, disrespectful crap that permeates our airwaves and makes girls think it’s ok to be a stripper. Green Day’s music is about learning how to think and make decisions on your own. I don’t know many parents who would oppose that. Don’t be an American idiot!

Scott

August 10th, 2010
10:50 am

I was there! It would be a great show without the F-bombs, so why the bombs? I just don’t get that. I was there, sober, with my family and enjoyed the show. The stage was great. The crowd interaction was great.

The kids in front were having a blast and it’s good to see the young folks have fun. It was the older folks that were in the audience smoking pot and trying to act like 16 year olds that annoyed me.

I didn’t like . . .the singing from the folks he pulled on stage. I paid big $$ to hear the band. One of my favorite songs was only partially sung with the audience singing the other parts. I didn’t come to sing for the band.

Hey . . .I was too far back to see clearly, but, the girl that played the guitar(not the girl he gave one to) . . .when she first got on stage was her breast hanging out . . .sure did look like a top malfunction to me. I figured that would make youtube today. : )

Overall it was an awesome show.

Gumby

August 10th, 2010
11:24 am

I have to admit a (very) brief sense of parental guilt listening to all the f-bombs w/my 10 year old by my side. But then I figured he’s heard as bad from me on occasion, and he’s smart enough to know that being a potty-mouth is not a virtue. He seemed much more interested in the music and the energy, which were awesome – what a show!

ps – Maybe Nacho Libre and the rest of the moral minority should do a little research before attending their next rock concert. Anyone who knows how to use the internet can figure out that Green Day is not exactly a G-rated show. Take your proselytizing elsewhere!

Nightwing

August 10th, 2010
11:32 am

My point exactly Gumby! If you’re a parent, it is YOU’RE responsibility to monitor and control what it is you do and do not want you’re offspring to be exposed to. It is NOT the responsibility of the performers to come out before the show and see if there are any impressionable young children in the audience, that might be emotionally scarred for life due to the graphic nature of the performance. If there are, then the parents are idiots for letting them attend in the 1st place.

Green Day toca em Atlanta, GA «

August 10th, 2010
11:46 am

[...] Blogs.Ajc.com [...]

Noneya

August 10th, 2010
12:07 pm

This was an absolutely incredible concert! The haters are fools.

mikeyD miserie

August 10th, 2010
1:35 pm

that was my first concert ever and i loved it i got to go to the mosh pit and i had reserved seats,but my frickin dad dragged me out i lookedback at the stage during jesus of suburbia and started to cry i was at the front and he ruined it.but i got to c tre ride a dirt bike b4 the concert i was like 10 ft away from him <3

Leanna

August 10th, 2010
3:12 pm

Green Day is a band I’ve been listening to since I was born. I’m 12 years old, and I can say Green Day is the best band on Earth. Who cares what curse words they use. I love them, and I’m smart enough to know not to use the language. And if you think that Green Day is a bad influence, don’t let the kids listen to it. But just think for a minute, that was probably you listening to earlier punk bands, think of what you did back then, and think of today. I’m pretty sure that you were just as bad, and that your kids know not to take it to over board. For Christ sakes, Billie has a kid that’s about my age, and hes fine. Seriously all you have to do is push through the eyeliner and cursing and calm down. All the songs Green Day sings are inspirational, and true, one or two are inappropriate, but your kids should know better then to repeat them anyway.

meloknee

August 10th, 2010
3:33 pm

Loved the show! Worth every penny!
Those guys did a great job. Lots of energy.

MC

August 10th, 2010
3:59 pm

Oh my god, Billie used the “F” word… Give me a break. IT’S A ROCK SHOW… This shows how out of touch parents can be. Next time do your homework because Justin Bieber was in town…..
Not punk, sell outs….. Bottom line, this was a great rock show delivered with an amazing level of energy. This band keeps reinventing itself and they have always managed to connect with the younger generation.

Honest Abe

August 10th, 2010
4:03 pm

This may not make sense to everyone but here it is;

It’s all about the enjoying the music. I’m in my mid 50’s and I was at the concert last night with my wife who is almost 20 years younger. I’ve been going to concerts for over 40 years and have seen just about every big rock band, jazz musicians, classical musicians and even some pop artists. Every genre and time has it’s premier artists, and there is no doubt in my mind that Green Day is just that. We went to enjoy what promised to be a great performance and Green Day delivered.

Steve

August 10th, 2010
5:20 pm

Great performance. Not just a concert, but a show. And very few bands give fans almost 3 hours. If you did not enjoy that show you are simply too old. And whining about swearing? Yeah, you are too old. Jeez.

Cherise

August 10th, 2010
7:32 pm

It’s been a whole day and I am still thinking about their performance. Wow! It was amazing!

Adina

August 10th, 2010
7:54 pm

As always…Green Day gave as good as it gets!!! I’ve seen them many times, and promised my 13 year old that I’d take her next time they toured. Last night was her first time seeing Green Day live. She loved it. Yes, there were several curse words, but she is smart enough to deal with them. I like how people who have never seen them live can have such an opinion on them being “sell-outs” or even speak of their political agenda. If you don’t like the band, why waste your time posting?

Ally

August 10th, 2010
9:11 pm

Its a punk band…people get mad at the band for swearing at the concert. Their music swears. The parents are responsible.
Anyway, it was an amazing show. During King for a day, billie joe wore MY hat. If anyone happened to get pictures, email me at cassiflammater@gmail.com

Reid

August 10th, 2010
10:01 pm

i was there last night and it was amazing. i saw them last year and i was glad to see that they changed up the routine.

Philly

August 10th, 2010
10:47 pm

I was thrilled to finally see Green Day- they absolutely rocked. My 12 yr. old daughter and her pal were with us and I can assure all the kids have heard f bombs from friends and neighbors (I try not to swear at all).

I also love the fact this band with punk roots are also politically engaged- ‘American Idiot’ is a political album, people- thanks to their Gilman Street beginnings. Billie Joe spoke from the heart when he dissed Sarah Palin. I love this band!

GreenDayClass2013

August 11th, 2010
2:00 am

There is hardly any real fans writing these reviews. And everyone who calls Green Day sell outs are complete morons. So Green Day’s music has changed since 1994. What did you expect to happen. As a band gets older it’s music evolves the, second that happens everyone yells “sell out”. So does that make the human race a sell out because we don’t live in caves anymore? Things change, change is good. Green Day is just as punk as ever; the music has changed the attitude hasn’t. Oh and by the way IT’S BILLIE, NOT BILLY. Not that difficult people.

Jeff

August 11th, 2010
2:29 pm

Green Day rocks. They’re the best live show this side of Springsteen. Today is my son’s 13th birthday. We’re all going to see Green Day tonight outside DC. I’ll kids ranging in age from 16 to 9. They hear enough F bombs in everyday life that they won’t be shocked. Fact is, it’s part of our culture. Our basic rule is that you can listen to the music, sing along word for word, but if you use it in conversation it’s bye-bye Billie Joe and hello Wiggles!

Liz

August 11th, 2010
2:48 pm

AWESOME SHOW!! We drove up from Orlando to see them again. I’m the mother of “Insane Zayn” (the little boy that was “saved” during East Jesus Nowhere). Does anyone have any good pics/videos of when Zayn when up on stage? If so can you email them to me (LizJawad@gmail.com). Ours didn’t come out very good.

This was Zayn’s 2nd Green Day concert and he had a great time.

andy

August 11th, 2010
10:25 pm

did zayn have an accident in his pants when the explosion went off? He looked petrified but i cant blame him. Was this pre planned.The show was awesome.

Liz

August 12th, 2010
10:15 am

@ Andy…LOL, no he didn’t. But, I thought he was going to freak out since neither myself or his dad was with him. His shy side definetly came out :-) . He kept saying he wanted to sing with Green Day. So when Billie Joe asked for a little kid, my husband threw him up and everyone around us was pointing and screaming so he got picked. When he was walking back with his dad, he was so excited cause he got guitar pick and everyone was giving him hi-fives. I can’t wait to show him pics & videos 10-15yrs from now.

Linda

August 12th, 2010
6:51 pm

My husband and I took my 13, almost 14 yr old and she had a GREAT time!!! Her first punk,rock,political at times concert, What ever you wanna call Green Day, we don’t regret any of it! My husband and I have been fans since we meet in middle school,1994 was our 1st yr of high school, and we have been loyal fans ever since(it’s nice to see bands these days give sooo much thanks to there never ending, always by their side fans) . To see our daughter having the time of her life was almost nastalgic at times, for them to still be able to entertain us AND her, even with our age difference was exactly what legendary bands do! They keep there roots in and keep up with the rising of generations as well.F-in AWESOME! She knows cursing at a concerts and in every day life is totally not the same! If your child does not get it, than either explain entertainment and daily conversations, or DON’T GO! Hey Liz, your lil’ man was GREAT! I’ll ask my man when he gets home if any of our pic.’s of Zayn came out good.All the haters, why waste yours and our time!Don’t write in, just go back to under your rock that ya came. GREEN DAY ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

andy

August 12th, 2010
9:09 pm

liz.
we were sitting in section 102 center . i could see zayn on the big tv and on stage. awesome for zayn what a great memory he will have and i am sure you will share with him over and over. My wife and i took are 15yr old daughter is a avid greenday fan. We purchased the tix from a most honest lady on craigs list and drove from Wilmington NC about 6hrs. What a great show and a beautiful little town. i forget the stadium was awesome. Good luck and stay in touch.

Robbie

August 13th, 2010
9:33 am

I went to this. It was my first concert ever. It was so epic that I collapsed on the floor from using all my energy screaming the lyrics and fist pumping till my arm fell off…

Linda

August 13th, 2010
9:58 am

Andy,
We had lawn seats and Billie was even able to keep us and all the other lawnies engaged the WHOLE concert! We could see every thing from behind the stadium!(from the stage to both of the drop downs)But you are right! the stadium, even the way the entire venue is set-up IS awesome! I hope it was just as great and comfortable for the band as it was for all of us!!!!!!!!!!!Zayn’s answer’s to Billie’s ?’s were witty and right on,& right on time! He’s gonna be in the biz some how, he seemed to have a stage presence where a lot of people wouldnt…especially @ his age ! Wow ! Do you have your hands full with him @ home, LIZ? We came over from the other side of Baltimore(off 695 beltway-near the key bridge), about 2hrs usual drive but that night it took us upwards to 3 and 1/2 hrs to get to the parking! Did anyone else have this traffic problem so early on in the drive? Also on the way home we were in some series of Stopped traffic on 66, again so early on in the drive?!! OHH than we got a blow out tire when we did first start getting somewhere!(still kinda near the Stadium!) Got that fixed and the Battery die’s!!!! My daughter and I held up a HELP sign for quite a while(tell me people comin from the concert didnt see us ??), does any one want to admit to seeing us and not stopping or not having the time to stop by the time you saw what the sign said(It was bright orange and reflective, it Said HELP)

Bee g

August 16th, 2010
7:15 pm

Sorry I missed this show… 5 minutes from my house, but alas my family was on vacation (13 yr old son included). To the stuffy ass parents out there… If the f-bombs coming from these “rock stars” are too much for your children, how do you expect them be able to enjoy art?? Or anything else that challenges YOUR values? Should they be ashamed, or uncomfortable with language that should be reserved for your prescious bulldogs football game??

Pussies!!

Stuffy Ass Parent

August 16th, 2010
7:21 pm

Screw you bee g… I want my son to play football and date rape cheerleaders , just like I did back in the day.

Church on Sunday, and vote Christian on election day, that’s our family motto . We don’t like fat artists cramming politics down our kids throats.