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Green Day at Lollapalooza, 1994
Posted by Delfina

The first time I saw Green Day live was at Lollapalooza in 1994. The sound boomed over the vast, muddy field of Houston’s Raceway Park. The songs were the same ones I loved so completely, just bigger, and — oh! — straight from the boys of Green Day in their skinny and manic flesh. Every song was a gem, as translucent and mouth-popping as hard candy. Bursts of blue sapphires and red rubies and green emeralds showered the sky.

Billie Joe had a crazy, maniacal glint in his eye, but he was ferocious in the same way that a stray kitten is ferocious: it hisses menacingly if you get too close, baring its sharp little teeth, but it’s the fluffiest, cutest hissing thing in the whole world. No matter how much spit and how many fuck-yous Billie Joe lobbed into the air, you couldn’t not love him to pieces.

In the middle of “Paper Lanterns,” Billie Joe started up a sideshow of his own. He dangled a booger out of his nose until it was about two feet long, then snorted it back up. He went up to the amp and created a feedback loop, played a crazy riff for a few seconds and then said, “Sorry, I just had a testosterone attack.” He led the crowd in a rendition of “We’re not gonna take it,” then he laughed at us for buying into a sing-along of such a stupid song. He called up a guy onto the stage to play guitar, but the guy had no clue so he sent him packing. He smashed the microphone against the floor on his hands and knees, banging it over and over until it was destroyed.

I was a little confused by his antics and wondered if I was exactly getting the point (I turned to Bill and said, “Are they gonna play another song?”), but I was mesmerized by this strange little man giving every ounce of himself, down to his snot and spit. I could feel that the clowning around was done out of love. He was doing it for me, for all of us who stood in awe in that huge field, holding our breaths. He was giving us everything: his spit, snot, and stupid jokes, his skinny little body, his music, his voice, his dignity. (It’s no coincidence he wrote the line, “I’m losing what’s left of my dignity, a small price I’ll pay to see that you’re happy.”) Take it, he was saying, it’s all for you. Thank you, Billie Joe, from the pit of my little heart. You don’t know how happy it’s made me.

May 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm [ Category: Personal, Concerts ]

Comment from Annie June 7, 2011, 9:06 am

Hi Delfina,
I’m glad you’re back. I noticed a couple of months ago, and I’ve been meaning to write you. It’s great all of the old articles are still here, and you are writing new ones.

Comment from Delfina June 8, 2011, 1:17 am

Hi Annie, thanks for stopping by. I haven’t been posting much — I’ve been working on some writing projects offline. Perhaps I’ll post some of them here in the future. Nice to hear from you!

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