Last week Mac and I made an impromptu trip up to the Windy City of Chicago to see Green Day in concert, and it was astounding!
We almost didn't make it, though. As you know I was given free tickets but Fed Ex didn't come through. We waited and finally the company sent the tickets via e-ticket so we still made the show. Let me tell you, it was touch and go for awhile there- I went from greatest mom ever for scoring free tickets to the worst mom on Earth when there were no tickets to the Greatest Mom on Earth when we were back on again. Talk about roller coaster! Only in the life of being a mom to a teenager, I say!
The drive was good- Mac and I jammed to several Green Day CD's all the way up, getting ourselves psyched for the upcoming show. I had great directions to the United Center (thank you Mapquest!) and other than a freaking horrible traffic jam at the Damen Ave exit, all went well and smooth. I didn't even get in a wrong lane and blow through a toll on the EZ Pass by accident. And I didn't close my eyes and hyperventilate myself into oblivion when I crossed on a huge bridge into Chicago on the tollway- but that was close.
Farrago, my Chicago guru, had told me the United Center wasn't in the greatest part of the city and we should've plan on hanging around there. Well, the original plan was to park at the United Center and then head to the East side of the city so Mac could see Navy Pier and eat at the Hard Rock Cafe but we didn't have enough time after our late start. So Farrago, being the super hero gentleman he is, met us at the "House that Jordan Built". But he needed not to fear for our safety. The entire block of Madison Ave, running in front of the United Center, was lined with concert goers. People had been camped out all day long to get the best floor spot or in hopes to catch a glimpse of the band. There were "punk" rocker kids all over the place. And lots of teenagers with their parents. And while this sounds hilarious, Green Day had their first hits in the late 1980s, and I happened to be a teen then, and then their reclaimed their popularity and soared to Super stardom in 2005 when they released American Idiot. And then with this album 21st Century Breakdown- well you can see the cross generations here so it made since for there to be people Mac's age and mine all together. And it did make for an unusual blending of people to see a pop punk group.
Anyway, Farrago met us and we headed to the infamous Billy Goat for supper. This is the same Billy Goat that was featured on Saturday Night Live skit starring Dan Akroyd and Bill Murry. The Billy Goat was a popular place for the Second City actors to hang, as well as most newspaper men in the entire city, most notably the departed columnist Mike Royko- who was an institution in and of himself.
The Billy Goat is known for "no fries- cheeps, no Pepsi- Coke" and "Cheezeborgor, Cheezeborgor, Cheezeborgor". The original owner, a Greek Immigrant, named the place after a goat allegedly fell off the back of a truck and stumbled into his diner. Customers belly up to the counter and order food quickly or the short order cook will order for them. It's fun and a bit quirky. The food is hot, served quickly and is basic but good. Mac liked the buns on his burger... go figure.
After dinner it was back to the United Center to stand in line to enter at Gate three. And special thanks again to Farrago for hanging out with us. We appreciate it!
Once Mac and I got in the Center, scored a freaking cool $40 t-shirt and found our seats, we soaked up the ambiance. There were 2 college students sitting in front of us who were finishing college as summer interns at a radio station in Chicago who had worked the Center all day long, doing give aways. We chatted with them and they told Mac it was cool that his sister would bring him to the concert- go me! He didn't even roll his eyes and just grinned. They were also super impressed with Mac's music knowledge. My child is the next Cameron Crowe, thank you very much!
Verizon Wireless Blackberry (I won't say one bad word considering my past relationship this is particular phone :ahem:...) was a corporate sponsor of the concert so there was a running marquee allowing folks to text message VZW and the messages would post on the marque inside the arena for everyone to read until the concert started. This was fun because there were the obvious "Scream if you love Green Day" which caused the entire crowd to ... well, scream. There were "I love you, moms" and "Will you marry me?"s and greetings among friends. I sent one that said "Event Chaser rocks" and we took a picture which was just a ginormous blur. I also sent one that said "Have fun Mac- you rock! Love mom" and he thought that was hilarious. The ones that made me laugh were the various forms of fans proclaiming their love to Green Day's lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. "I love you Billie", "Shelly is Billie's biggest fan" , "Jane wants to Marry Billie Joe", "Alice Loves Billie Joe" and the like . There were tons and tons of these, which made me smile and chuckle to myself. This guy is MY age (seriously, Billie Joe Armstrong is 37 years old, as am I) and married (as I am NOT) but these teeny-bopper girls were proclaiming their love publicly to their rocker idol. How cute and sweet, I thought.
Mac and I suffered through the opening act- they sucked so much I don't even want to give them print space here- and then Green Day took the stage. They rocked the United Center for 3+ hours with a show that blew me away. (Go read my review here at EventChaser for the details!)
This was one of the greatest concerts I've ever been to in my life (They were even better than they were when I saw them with their American Idiot tour 3 years ago). I stood the entire time and rocked with the rest of the crowd. Mac didn't even care that I didn't act my age since he didn't know another soul in the place- and that all the other parents acted like the kids. I had my "rock arm" pounding the air and sang with every song. Come'on, it was a total concert experience!
Billie Joe had that audience eating out of the palm of his hand. We sang when he told us to do so. We were quiet when he told us to be. We screamed and cheered and jumped up and down like he did. We chanted his name and swooned when he crooned a ballad. When the screen behind the band had a close up of his face, the girls in the audience went insane. He was audacious, profane, profound at times, but mostly just pure entertainment. Diminutive in stature, he still stood as a giant before the audience of 23,000 and partied like a teenager, rocked us out- wearing his typical all black, signature tie, black eye liner coating his lovely lashes, arms crawling with tats, black Chuck Ts adorned his feet, and his wild unkempt heavily dyed black hair in all directions, with a voice that spilled over the crowd, pulling us all in, weaving around us into a cocoon with him and... well, all I could think was "Maggie LOVES Billie Joe. MARRY ME!"
Still rockin' out,