Green Day's Revolution Radio Tour: Living in the Moment

One of my first paintings of Billie Joe Armstrong

One of my first paintings of Billie Joe Armstrong

When the lights burnt out, roar of the crowd rushing the stage like a wildfire, the 60 year old man in the seat next to me jumped up on top of his chair and screamed. Pyrotechnics fired off like bombs, filling the room with light, heat, and sound. It was all over. Even from the nosebleeds, I could feel the Earth shudder. 

Back when I was still a budding guitar player with a knee-high stack of thrifted Green Day CD’s, my two girlfriends and I geared up and walked into the most massive stadium I had ever seen. I had been to concerts before that one—quite a few actually, as I was determined to become a music journalist—and I knew the whole routine pretty well. Walk in, bob your head, stand until your ankles wobble, angrily wipe up the beer that someone spilled on your shirt, and go home. But as we clamored for air at the foot of the stage, singing Bohemian Rhapsody alongside a thousand smiling faces, something shifted. I wasn’t in a strange room with strange people, listening coldly to music I barely knew—I was in a warm home with inspired friends, smacking foreheads to those tried and true notes and voices. It was revolutionary. 

Once the radio fell silent and Green Day strutted onstage, the controlled chaos began. You don’t think about place or time when that mobbing adrenaline floods your system. Your mind zeroes in on one religiously immersive moment and you don’t care where you are, what you’re doing, or who you’re with—the night becomes one big swirl of smoke, hair, spit, and sweat. At that moment, held to the Earth only by my rotting, grey shoe strings, I couldn’t get enough. 

To be fair, Billie Joe Armstrong puts on one hell of a performance. He is and always has been theatric, energetic, and iconic—spitting fire and emotion back into brilliantly sentimental songs. He knew all the right keywords to ignite a ragingly susceptible crowd. I will admit, his speeches were a tiny bit tacky, but I think that’s just an occupational hazard.

I remember nothing from that night but those few, fair words: “Live in the moment! Don’t record this, watch it now! We’re all together tonight, remember that!” As someone freshly enchanted by the concert experience, I was sold. And even now, in 2017, I still want to believe that he was speaking the truth. 

Those intense calls-to-action were a reminder to live in the moment, meditate on the present, and be cognizant of a world that’s constantly craving your attention. As a travel blogger, it can be hard to say, “Hey, let’s put away the camera and just enjoy this moment together.” It can feel wasteful. But as every great writer says, you have to read to write. You have to indulge to express. The world is diverse and magical and brilliant, from those sticky concert halls to the vast, foggy coastlines—and everything in between in nothing less than spectacular. 

When Green Day came back to town last weekend, bringing Against Me! along as an opener, I immediately bought the cheapest tickets I could find. Andrew and I were perched up in the rafters—far above the mosh pit that I first stumbled into when I was 15. Even so, when the first chords of "Holiday" rang out, I removed my jacket, stood up, and thrashed until my neck was bent and sore. I let go and enjoyed the moment, no matter how embarrassing my outdated enthusiasm was. The older man to the right of me said that he'd been going to Green Day shows since ‘92, and that that night was the first time his daughter had ever seen them in concert. They had a great time together from the looks of it, but I think his daughter was petrified by those ridiculous dance moves. Needless to say, Andrew was equally petrified by mine. The whole room was crawling—smoke shifting, hands flailing, feet stomping. To quote Against Me!'s "Black Me Out," it was truly a “full body high.”

As I sit here typing in the public library on a Thursday night, I realize that I only took one photo on our entire 6 hour expedition, and yet, I am still more than satisfied. 

In fact, I think Green Day is still around because they speak to the future. Sure, they’ve earned a bad reputation after denying punk music the dignity of remaining undiscovered and unpaid (which I understand—pop-punk certainly isn’t everyone's cup of tea), but regardless, they remain an every-day proponent of change, progress, and productive rebellion. Their music rings true with realistic depictions of hard work, disappointment, loneliness, pain, acceptance, and love. I can’t deny the effect they have had on my growth as a person, during my journey to understand myself and my place in the world, and I’m glad to say that I saw one hundred younger versions of myself shivering with anticipation at that concert last Saturday. They are still connecting, they are still relevant, and they are still trying to change the world. 

From one fellow traveler, musician, and human to the next—remember to live in the moment. It will open your eyes to new experiences, new understandings, and new ways to love. I can't help but hope to see everyone making an effort to seek truth, accept others, indulge their passions, and let go. And if music is the live wire that inspires, changes, and entwines us, so be it. 

 


Thank you so much for reading! Let me know if any of you guys saw Green Day on tour this year in the comments! I would love to chat about it.