Friday, 18 December 2009

678 GREEN DAY, JIMMY EAT WORLD, Flogging Molly, Los Angeles Home Depot Center, CA USA, Sunday 9 October 2005

We'd also sorted tix for this gig before we hit the US West Coast on our honeymoon, a home-state gig for the triumphant Green Day, climaxing their world tour which we'd seen twice already this year. But hey, we're in LA, so are they, so why not?

So Rachel and I took a drive from our downtown hotel to the Home Depot Center, a smart purpose-built stadium forming the home of LA's footy team (real footy, not this gridiron nonsense!) the LA Galaxy. Parked up, got our will-call tix and found our way to our allocated spot, which was a grassy knoll behind the far goal facing the stage. A bit far away, but hey, we're guaranteed a good view!

Took in first support Flogging Molly, a punkish thrash through a fiddly-diddly Irish sound, like the Pogues on fast forward. Fun but I couldn't manage a whole pint of it! Took a wander around and bought quite the smallest "big dog" for tea - more of a poodle than a leonburger - then back on the bank as Jimmy Eat World came on at 6.45. Opening with the "Futures" refrain, they then romped through strident, powerful versions of recent singe "Pain" and a tough "Bleed American". Clearly in a hurry, an early and excellent "A Praise Chorus" got us going, although it took the popular "The Middle" to really spark the still-sparse crowd into life.

(Here's a thing - the gig purported to be sold-out, and whilst the seats got full for Green Day, the floor was barely 2/3 full even for the headliners! Fire regulations must be really strict in the US!)

Anyway, back to JEW - their set seemed totally short, over in about half an hour, with "Sweetness" the climax of a short but sweet sampling.

Took another walk, blagging a free t-shirt from the KROQ sponsor stand, which hosted an impromptu appearance from the drummer of Slayer, there with his wife and son! Also got pretzels and chatted with a couple of Green Day first-timers, warning them what to expect.

We knew of course - the drunken pink bunny tottered out as the PA played "YMCA" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" before Green Day took the stage at 7.45, bursting into "American Idiot", complete with the sing-along chants and fireworks climax. This is the third time we've been party to this extraordinary show this year but it doesn't get tired. Yet again punk rock went stadium with style and substance, yet again the theatrics were justified and complemented rather than overshadowed the rock, yet again Green Day themselves seethed with venom and righteous vitriol, yet again Billie Joe Armstrong held the audience totally in the palm of his hand!

However, this one seemed to matter more to the band - back in their home state and determined to end their world tour on a high, Green Day were on it from the get-go and their power and musicianship overpowered the theatrics and pyrotechnics. A haunting "Wake Me Up When September Ends", dedicated to the heroes of Hurricane Katrina, was a standout moment in the set, and the final encore "Time Of Your Life" ended a brilliant night fittingly - just as the same song had ended our wedding reception!

No "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" tonight, oddly, and a slightly reshuffled set, but once again a supreme 2 hours entertainment from a punk rock band at the height of their powers and becoming increasingly comfortable at stadium level. We sprinted out at the end of "Time Of Your Life" and beat the traffic away - good thing to as the drive from South to Central LA was 45 minutes! That's how big and sprawling this place is!

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