Unity Music

On Monday, I drove to Detroit. 

My mother, who has no sense of Geography – she once asked what state was above Ohio and worried about driving into the ocean when leaving the Cleveland airport – was surprised to learn that it is only 3.5 hours away. Everything is much closer here than in Texas. There’s still fuck-all between places, but driving three hours from my parents’ house just takes you to the TX-OK border. I know. I’ve driven that dozens of times. 

In any case, I drove to Detroit to see my favorite band: Green Day. 

I fell in love with Green Day with American Idiot. I fully admit I’m one of those people. I liked their greatest hits I heard on the radio, of course, but I didn’t embrace them until American Idiot. I got pulled into the Bush-hating zeitgeist. 

When I saw them in concert for the first time in 2005 in Dallas at the American Airlines Center, it was by far the best show I had ever seen in my life. Pyrotechnics, energy, and just a band that knew how to put on a legit show. I’ve seen plenty of bands and concerts, but few really perform a show. I remember leaving exhausted and elated. No picture because I guess I didn’t think to bring a camera and cell phone cameras were not that great. I’m not sure that my phone had a camera now that I think about it. 

San Antonio

The second time I saw them was in 2009. My friend Jenny accompanied me to San Antonio for the concert. Again, it was amazing. I recall dreaming that night in our shitty motel room that I met the band. Alas, that did not happen. 


My mom and I saw the musical of American Idiot on Broadway in 2010. John Gallagher Jr. was the lead. All of the cast, save him, signed my poster and took pictures with me. 

Lyrics of “When It’s Time” from American Idiot

When the musical was on tour in Dallas in 2012, we had front-row-center seats. I grabbed the prop menu that has the lyrics to “When It’s Time.” 

Dallas (Fair Park)

The third time I saw Green Day was again in Dallas, but this time it was at the outdoor amphitheater in Fair Park (named Coca Cola Starplex then Smirnoff then I don’t know what it is called today). My friend Siobhan went with me to the concert in 2010. We had seats right behind the mosh pit. They were *close*. Like see the sweat drops close. It was fantastic. I drove from Norman to Dallas then back to Norman again because I had to teach the next day. 


Detroit marked my fourth time seeing Green Day. When I bought my ticket, the closest options were Columbus and Detroit. Columbus’s show was on a Monday and Detroit’s show was on a Saturday. So I chose Detroit. I did not anticipate that Green Day would have to cancel and reschedule. When did they reschedule? A Monday. Who teaches at 9:30 am on Tuesdays? Me. 

I drove to see them at The Fillmore. It was the most intimate venue I’ve seen them at: a theater. I was seated in the last row of the lower balcony. 

I should note that I do not do general admission, standing room only for a number of reasons:

  • I am short. 
  • I do not like people body surfing on me. 
  • I like personal space. 
  • I am 30 years old and too old for that shit. 
  • I do not like getting things spilled on me. 
  • I am likely to put on my teacher voice and yell at people if they act like fools

In any case, it was a great show. They played a good mix of their newest album and their old stuff. I really like their new song “Still Breathing.” It’s one of those songs you can play when you are trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Billie Joe called the show “unity music,” encouraging the audience to be present and leave negativity behind. I needed that. Earlier in the day, I tried to go to work on campus. I had a committee meeting I was running late to. And I couldn’t find a parking space. I decided to  go home. I was just so frustrated about many things. I knew I had a short fuse and was bound to say or do something I regretted. I’m glad I did and I’m glad I got to go to the concert to exorcise my built up tension and cynicism. 

After the concert, I drove back. Got home by 3:20 am. Fell asleep by 5 am (coffee consumed on the road made me wired). And, yes, I taught my 9:30 class. I made it through the day, albeit quite fuzzy and not up to par. Thirty-year-old me cannot pull off the stuff 24 year-old me did. And it was rough at 24, too! 

I am going to see Green Day for the fifth time in Pittsburgh in March 2017. I debated getting two tickets because of the dream-like idea that I’d be in a relationship by then. I have put myself in that trap before and it never works out. 

But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t go see their special exhibit as new inductees at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. I kick myself for it now. C’est la vie. I also have not listened to Uno, Dos, or Tre in full… I’m not the best fan ever. 

I know a handful of people – Same Dude Different Day included – think I have a shitty taste in music (He hates BeyoncĂ©! How can he hate BeyoncĂ©?! We have had many arguments about music that usually end with him laughing and me being really angry. I try to avoid talking about music with him, though he does have fairly decent taste in it). These people like Green Day, sure, but they would not call them their favorite band or have seen them so many times. I wouldn’t keep going to the shows if the band members weren’t consummate performers. They really are at the top of what they do. I dig call and response at concerts. I like the unity between the performers and the audience. I appreciate that it seems like they really love what they do — and they are fucking outstanding at doing it.

I had posted on my Facebook about being at the concert and one of my friends remarked that I do a bunch of cool stuff. Yes, I do. In the past month or so, I’ve seen Amy Schumer, Hannibal Burress, Fun Home (the musical), and attended a Wonder Woman Symposium and a gala for the YWCA in Warren. I don’t know how much being single plays into these opportunities. I would like to find someone who would be as jazzed about attending these things as me (or would at least humor me by accompanying me). For example, I want to see the play Sex with Strangers in Cleveland soon. I want to see Hamilton. I want to go to UCB in NYC. I don’t have to do these things with a guy, but it would be nice to experience them with someone else.