Homer's Travels: Music: Green Day With Franz Ferdinand At The Qwest Center

Friday, August 14, 2009

Music: Green Day With Franz Ferdinand At The Qwest Center

The original plan for Thursday was to take the GodSon and his girlfriend with us to the Green Day concert. Unfortunately his girlfriend couldn't make it so after some minor thrashing about we invited the Loon Whisper's Nephew to come with us. We met him in front of the Qwest Center and headed to the Will Call window.

Okay, this probably isn't a weird experience for many people but frankly I felt really weird (my hands were shaking) when I walked up to the window and told the lady behind the counter we were on the bands's list. After an ID check she handed over an envelope labeled "Green Day 2009 Guests" with four tickets and four aftershow passes. I'm such a schmo about these kinds of things.

After stopping by the club lounge, where the aftershow was to be held later, and getting some drinks we headed for our seats. Awesome seats I might add. Stage right, row 5.

The warm up was the Scottish band Franz Ferdinand. While I'd heard of them I really didn't know much about their music. We were all impressed. Good stuff. I haven't seen many good warm up bands lately and Franz Ferdinand was a nice change for the better.

The intermission between bands seemed exceptionally short. Maybe 30 minutes. Enough time for drinks and WC breaks before the next show started. Before Green Day came on stage someone in a pink bunny suit came on stage , danced to YMCA, and drank a couple beers. I'm guessing it was the Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong (BJA). The Wife noticed they were wearing the same shoes. I wonder if this has to do with drinking on stage. BJA, during the Foxboro Hot Tubs show was constantly drinking, spraying, and spitting beer. During the show this time there was no obvious drinking ... except by the bunny.
After the bunny, Green Day took the stage and for the next two hours and twenty minutes gave a non-stop incredible performance. There were two encores but the pauses between encores were a minute, two at most. They started with their new stuff (21st Century Breakdown) and then moved backward in time with stuff from American Idiot, Dookie,and other stuff. BJA got everyone standing on the first song and we didn't sit down till the end of the second encore.

Green Day loves audience participation and the crowd was singing along with enthusiasm. Several times BJA pulled people on stage and had them sing. Of the four the first wasn't that bad. The other three sounded like American Idol rejects but, hey, they were having their moment in the spot light and they were having fun. Everyone was having fun. One nine or ten year old boy got on stage to sing. He was a little flat but enthusiastically belted out the explicit lyrics. When BJA asked him where he was from he said "Sioux F***ing City!!" The audience roared.

By the end we were all sweating (the Qwest center needs to upgrade their cooling, it was hot in there). The show was filled with pyrotechnics, flamethrowers (We could feel the heat from our seats - the Wife thought her eyebrows would be singed), water guns, t-shirt guns (that thing was lethal shooting a t-shirt across the entire length of the auditorium), and the obligatory confetti canons. It was a near perfect, entertaining show.

Cameras were not permitted and they were pretty strict in the Qwest. Big burly men were wandering around warning people with cell phones and threatening to confiscate their phones. At one point BJA is up in the audience when some dork stuck his iPhone in his face. You could tell Billie Joe wasn't very happy. He kept blocking the shot with his guitar. The only way to fix this problem would be to either allow photography (I think all the flashes would distract from the show) or forbid cell phones completely. This would have been hard to do since, ironically, the concert was sponsored by Verizon. The GodSon did manage to get a couple of shots - Franz Ferdinand and Green Day.

After the show we went back to the lounge for the aftershow party which ... didn't happen. After getting some drinks and waiting a bit it became obvious that the band wasn't going to show. After seeing the intensity of the show (BJA has more energy than I have ever witnessed - guy's an energizer bunny) I don't blame them wanting to just go back to their hotel. BJA was also traveling with his in-laws and I can't fault him for wanting to spend time with them instead of a bunch of unknowns at the aftershow. It's probably a good thing that they didn't show up. Before the show I had been talking about Green Day with the Wife and by some slip of the brain I called BJA Billie Joe Osbourne. Not sure where that came from. That became the running joke through the evening. When they started playing the first few riffs of Ironman, we all laughed and said he sounded just like his dad (Ozzy Osbourne). I was afraid that if BJA had shown up one of us would have slipped and called him Mr. Osbourne. Well, not really but we joked about it happening.

One great thing about staying after the show was that we ran into the "J"'s brother. The Wife said hi to him and after a little disorientation on his part (Who are these strange people in Omaha and why do they know me?) we said our hellos and our thanks for getting us the tickets.

After finishing our drinks we headed home. We all had a rather restless night. You know it was good when you are exhausted the next day. The Wife was too pumped from the concert and didn't sleep until 3:00AM. I kept having weird dreams that involved either the band or their music. This morning we drug ourselves out of bed so that we could take the GodSon to Louis M's Burger Lust before he headed home. The burgers were, of course, yummy.

We all agreed that, despite the aftershow fizzle, this was one of the best large venue concerts we've ever been too. The aftershow really didn't matter. The show was so good I will remember it for a long, long time and they will be happy, satisfying memories. Thank you "J".


  1. Wait, I live in 'freakin Los Angeles. How is it that you're leading so much a hipper lifestyle than mine?!? LOL

  2. GH: Omaha is where it's at! Plus I know thew "J" who is the hippest person I know.

  3. I've never been to any concert. Too crowded and noisy for me. And in comparison to official recordings, the quality is certainly not as good. Glad you enjoyed this venue though.

  4. Godefroy: I can understand that. Concerts can be a little intimidating if you're not into crowds. They also tend to be a little too loud. But there is also something there that just isn't found in the records. More of the artist's emotions come through live.

    Smaller venues are often better than big ones. There's a more intimate feeling. Both types, large and small, have their strengths and weaknesses.