7:20 PM EST
As the mostly teenage crowd patiently waits to be frisked before entering the arena, a group of 14-year-old girls discuss security measures: "They won't let us have chains?" one says. "That's very, very bad."
7:21 PM EST
Inside the men's room, clandestine teens reattach chains to wallets and belt loops. "They're not gonna look for us in here," reasons one.
7:22 PM EST
From the plush skybox press seats, courtesy of Reprise Records, one could hardly help noticing the sea of mint-colored heads that swirled below. Home dye jobs, courtesy of mom (how punk!), were _de rigueur_ that night. Hmmm, Black Flag fans were never this devoted; they just got tattoos.
7:40 PM EST
Opening act the Riverdales take the stage and suddenly I'm at a Ramones show. Not only does the band's breakneck delivery, non-stop guitars and Ramones-sounding vocals inspire this feeling, but the guitarist's uncanny resemblance to Johnny Ramone further enforces it.
7:45 PM EST
In true Ramones fashion, the Riverdales kick off their second number with the infamous "1-2-3-4" chant.
7:50 PM EST
Between songs, the Riverdales' guitarist takes time out to heckle an audience member about securing his own place in the general-admission floor. "How'd you get that space all to yourself?" he asks. "By pushing 13-year-old girls out of the way? That's totally ballsy."
7:55 PM EST
After seeing an audience member climb upon another's belly for a feeble faux stage-dive, I ponder this move's origin. Perhaps after seeing too many Pearl Jam videos, young pit pups -- wanting to idolize their hero, Eddie Vedder -- realized they needed to jump off of something to be "cool" at one of today's concerts. And, not being guileful enough to scramble their way onstage, they made do with the next best (i.e., closest) thing. A real Vanilla Ice move.
8:00 PM EST
A sudden breach in security opens a window of opportunity for several hundred Green Day fans, allowing them to spill out of their pricier reserved seats and slip among the masses swarming on the floor below. An unlucky handful are corralled by security and returned to their seats.
8:12 PM EST
Just a thought: Some of the kids here are as rebellious as the Gap's fall colors.
8:30 PM EST
A nearby conversation between two local rock scribes draws my attention:
S1: "How'd you hurt your wrist?"
S2: "I was masturbating."
S1: "I thought you were writing."
8:35 PM EST
Green Day kick off their show with "Armatage Shanks." Instrumentally, it sounds great, but lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong's vocals sound awful, when you can hear them. Judging by the frenzied Muppet-like moshing going on below, no one seems to notice or care.
8:37 PM EST
Great, people are already throwing stuff at the band. That's how last year's nightmare started.
8:38 PM EST
Bassist Mike Dirnt comments on action in the pit. "We got the tough guy circle over here," he says, pointing. "C'mon, I'll take you all on," he taunts, knowing he's safe atop a six foot stage surrounded by security gorillas. Armstrong announces he has diarrhea, then launches into "Welcome to Paradise."
8:40 PM EST
The damn gates burst and a human deluge spills to the floor. Everyone (except security) is happy.
8:47 PM EST
Even a row of cynical, hardened rock journalists bob their heads in unison to the commanding, rubbery bass line Dirnt lays down at the beginning of "Geek Stink Breath." The kid's in Fleas' league.
8:50 PM EST
Armstrong scolds the crowd for not helping out those experiencing pit
peril, then launches into the
choppy, blistering "Chump." There's more headbanging going on here than
at a Metallica concert.
Just a thought: although punk may be about alienation and/or
individuality, it certainly unified last
night's crowd. OK, at least for an hour.
JAT2: The shower of flying objects never stops.
8:52 PM EST
Armstrong comes out in a gorilla mask to lead the crowd in a chant of "Sa-tan!" No one's impressed, and the audience only makes a halfhearted effort to appease punk's court jester.
9:00 PM EST
First mohawk sighting! Neon pink, about one foot tall, straight up and out.
9:05 PM EST
In the "tough guy" part of the pit, I spot a varsity jacket. Punk jock? I guess now that it's the 90's everything's cool.
9:10 PM EST
Armstrong pulls a nine-year-old out of the crowd to have him yell: "Fuck you!" at the masses. "I think your dad wants you back now," the singer teases after the task is completed.
9:11 PM EST
During "No Pride," it registers: Armstrong's vocals are coming through clearly.
9:15 PM EST
Armstrong pours water on the near-expired crowd in much the same way a priest blesses his followers. Has Green Day's power pop with attitude replaced religion as the opiate of the masses? It seems to have done so here.
9:25 PM EST
The band winds down the first part of the show with a stereotypical arena rock instrumental crescendo. Are they spoofing themselves or is this as awful as it seems?
9:26 PM EST
Holy Bon Jovi, Batman! People are hoisting lighters at a GD gig. . . !
9:30 PM EST
During the encore, Armstrong takes the stage to play "When I Come Around" wearing only his guitar and socks. Was the pun intentional? While playing, he turns around and offers the crowd a butt-cheek rumba, then spins back, lifts his tactfully-placed instrument and gives thousands a peek at his privates. The band closes the show with "Bab's Uvula Who?" And the last people see of the band is a roadie wrapping Armstrong in a towel. Ah, the life of a rock star, being swaddled like a babe...
Epilogue: Even though the members of Green Day couldn't restrain themselves (and who wouldn't have felt gypped if they had?), thankfully, the crowd was able to. And at the end of the night, everyone returned to their suburban castles for a good night's sleep, instead of being carted off to a jail cell. And they all lived happily ever after. . . . The end?