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Green Day Rocks the Fox

posted by Robert Sweibel on Wed, Apr 15, 2009
in Our shows

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I’m a lucky guy. You probably know that Berkeley Rep is producing the the stage version of Green Day's platinum-selling American Idiot. Previews begin September 4. The Theatre is working closely with the band, its record companies (Warner Brothers Music and Reprise Records -- I’m still not sure how that works) to promote the show. The record hits stores on Friday, May 15; a world tour follows sometime after that. And before the band plays the big arenas, they play smaller gigs around the Bay Area to refine their show with the support of hometown crowds. So tonight Berkeley Rep’s PR director, Terence Keane, and I -- he with one of his friends, and me with my son Oliver -- went down to the Fox Theatre in Oakland to catch the show.

A few observations:

  • I love Oakland. So much of the city is beautiful, and filled with beautiful buildings like the Fox Theatre. Check it out.
  • The Fox is an awesome venue to catch a rock show if you don’t mind standing. The main floor looked like one big mosh pit (and, in fact, that’s where Terence was and what he was doing).
  • The concert was scheduled for 8pm. The band, accompanied by three additional musicians on guitars, piano, saxophone, and back-up vocals, took the stage at 9:15. Take note, theatergoers: rock concerts as a matter of course start more than an hour after the published curtain time. Berkeley Rep only holds curtain 5 to 10 minutes in cases of parking gridlock!
  • My 17-year-old son wasn’t nearly the youngest person rocking out, and I wasn’t nearly the oldest. Green Day rocks for everyone and, unless you don’t like rock and roll, they’ll rock for you.
  • Cell phone cameras and iphones abound. You can check out all the amateur recordings of last night's festivities on YouTube.
  • They played their new album from start to end, and obviously they’d already been practicing, because the guys looked loose and the music sounded tight. The new record, like American Idiot, is a concept album, a series of songs linked to one another thematically.
  • Though I do like my rock and roll loud, fast, and hard, I wasn’t sold for the first 15 minutes. I’d already worked a ten-hour day. And I’ll tell you what: sometime around the fourth or fifth song, it just clicked for me. The band just took off. Memorable riffs. Heartfelt lyrics. Big stage presence. So what can I say but that the band hit a groove and the house rocked. What a kick-ass show!

Two hours later, audiences were pouring onto Telegraph Avenue. All the buzz I heard was uniformly positive… except for the buzzing in my left ear.

Having listened to the band’s career-launching Dookie, and of course American Idiot, and now 21st Century Breakdown, I definitely understand why director Michael Mayer wants to transform Green Day’s album into a kick-ass stage show.

All of us at Berkeley Rep are tremendously excited to be working on their project, and we hope our enthusiasm catches fire with you, our audiences. You can reserve your seats for American Idiot now as part of any ticket package of three or more plays. If you really don’t want to commit to any show but American Idiot, you should sign up for email. You’ll be among the first to know when tickets go on sale this August.


Well, as far as video recordings concern, I'm satisfied with my iPhone. I just don't know but it does gave me satisfaction that none other than my other available phone is producing.

iphone tools | Thu, Aug 19, 2010

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