A letter to Billie Joe:
Maybe it was the sight of a drunken, dirty Easter bunny throwing candy to the capacity crowd at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Easter Sunday night. Maybe it was the super soaker hoses, and the toilet paper rollers, and the t-shirt launchers. Or maybe it was the jaded cynical critic within me that had seen it all too many times. Don’t get me wrong, I like Green Day. I like you Billie Joe and am very sorry that you have gone through the trials and tribulations you have. But the dichotomy and downright hypocrisy of a “drunken” Easter bunny with empty bottles in an Easter basket is not the message that a guy straight from rehab needs to promote. I could care less about most bands and what they comment upon, be it sex, drugs, politics, whatever. What I’m saying is, “Armstrong we’ve got a problem”. It’s a mixed message. You’ve become a damn cliché. And I freakin’ hate that for you.
Your band and yourself were tight. I enjoyed some great songs like, “Oh Love”, “Holiday”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (all in a row by the way- nice work!), “Christie Road”…well you know what you played. The “Disappearing Boy” with the quick flashes of covers from The Beatles, Ozzy, and Skynrd that bled into the sing-a-long of Guns n’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” into AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” that turned into your old hit “Brain Stew” was brilliance. But you’ve been at this for a long time and I expect nothing less. It’s not my first time at The Green Day Rodeo. Something is missing Billie Joe and I hope that it is not something within yourself.
I really liked when you brought up your fan for the second song, “Know Your Enemy” after your opener “99 Revolutions”. He was awesome and the on the lips kiss and how you rolled with it was great. I loved when you did the same thing here in Pittsburgh during the American Idiot tour with a guitar player and gave him the guitar afterward. It’s part of why I can’t help but like you. I, like many in the audience, hitting the middle age skids, discovered you guys sometime around ‘Dookie’ or just before. We’ve been with you ever since. Even when you were thinking that you were going to be destined to doing greatest hits tours to the summer sheds. That is until ‘American Idiot’. The game changer. You have been on a roller coaster ride ever since. I am happy for you and sad for you all at once. For as you know there is a price to that success that you have achieved and as the leader of the pack, you pay the dearest. Your battles with the bottle are quite understandable.
So, that’s why I have to ask you to go back to taking a break. Yes, there were moments of the old Green Day last night. And there were glimpses of you having fun. But, there was a lot more “phoning it in” moments witnessed, rock god clichés, gimmicks, worn out tricks, and the lack of the old punk ethics. You’re not a hypocrite bro. I know you’re not; or maybe I just hope you are not. Let Green Day get off this media rocket ship ride and quit listening to the managers and record company execs who will bleed you until you are dust. Play some clubs. Do some festivals. Do less. Less can be more (hard to tell someone who just put out three records, huh?). No offense, but I hope I don’t see you for some time. And when and if I do, I hope that you have dropped the act and gone back to what Green Day did best at one time. That was to be true to themselves.
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