Green Day at the Independent 4/7/2009

by Gordon Elgart on April 8, 2009

Billie Joe's Setlist did not match the actual setlist.  Thanks to for allowing sharing of his photo!

Billie Joe's Setlist did not match the actual setlist. Thanks to for allowing sharing of his photo!

When the email came through announcing that Green Day was playing the Independent (a 500-or-so capacity venue in San Francisco) that same night, I bought tickets before I could consider whether I could actually go.  How did I get the email fast enough to buy tickets?  I thank Blackberry push email.  Thanks Blackberry!

When I arrived, there was still a lengthy line at will call.  There were folks walking up and down the line offering big money for tickets, but I decided $200 a ticket wasn’t worth both missing the show and the ribbing I would take from people for missing the show.  (My price was going to be $500 a ticket, but I wasn’t going to ask and no one was going to offer.)  Besides, you wouldn’t be reading this if I had taken the money, and you–the readers–are very important.

As expected the show leaned heavily on the material from the new album.  Thanks to the photo above and Wikipedia, I was able to determine the likely song titles for everything they played.  The setlists and my full review are below:

First Set

Welcome to Paradise
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
Viva La Gloria!
Before the Lobotomy
Christian’s Inferno
Last Night on Earth
East Jesus Nowhere
Last of the American Girls
Murder City
Viva La Gloria?
Restless Heart Syndrome
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
Static Age
American Eulogy
See the Light

Of the new album material, the ones that really stood out to me were 21st Century Breakdown, East Jesus Nowhere, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, and the second half of American Eulogy.  These are songs I hope become part of the standard Green Day repertoire.  The only song I put in my notes as “lame” was Last Night on Earth.  The song destined to be a pop single (if such things existed anymore) is Last of the American Girls.  I’m looking forward to the album.  I especially enjoyed the fist bumps, high fives and smiles being passed around the band as they got to the end of some of these songs.   Since this show was basically an open rehearsal, it’s nice to see them happy they nailed it.  At other times, they shrugged at each other, which I took to mean “we’ll get it next time.”  As for me, I couldn’t tell the difference.  It all sounded tight and awesome.

After playing the closing song from the new album, the band left the stage, only to be called back for an “encore.”  Since I could see the setlist from where I was standing, I knew they had a lot of material left to play.  It looked to me more like a list of songs they were working on than an actual setlist, and this turned out to be the case, as stuff was played in a scattershot order with many things skipped and some requests taken.  The second set went like this:

Second Set

American Idiot
Jesus of Suburbia
Christie Road
Impromptu Blues Jam
Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?
Going to Pasalacqua
Macy’s Day Parade
King For a Day (w/Shout & Stand By Me)

The last time I saw Green Day (at the Warfield in 2005), they did an epic 2-hour encore, so I wasn’t sure what to expect here.   This time we got a solid hour packed with big hits, rare early material, and insane renditions of King For a Day and Minority.  The show changed from being a rehearsal of their new material (which the crowd was wholly unfamiliar with) to being a non-stop barrage of perfectly played crowd favorites.  The only song that felt like there were some kinks being worked out of was Macy’s Day Parade.  If you look at the scribbled “setlist” in the photo at the top, you’ll probably get an idea of the songs you can expect to be played on Green Day’s upcoming tour.

Here’s some random show notes:

  • I saw that the writer for the Oakland newspaper said that “press was barred” from this show.  Someone’s feeling butt hurt I guess because he couldn’t buy a ticket.  The press is not barred from using Ticketweb.  Boo hoo.
  • After the first song, the band posed for cell phone photos, and then Billie Joe asked everyone to put away their phones.  This was absolutely brilliant as everyone actually listened to him.  It really did make the show more enjoyable as a spectator, too.  Can every band please do this?
  • I didn’t see anybody in line actually sell their tickets for the $100 bills being waved around in front of them.  I’m proud of my fellow showgoers, and think that the excellent energy inside was due to the fact that people didn’t have some sense of entitlement for being there.  For the most part, the crowd was energized and engaged, and that made the whole evening very enjoyable.
  • And finally, my contacts tell me that there will be another Green Day show this week at the Fox Theater in Oakland.  Join their mailing list, and don’t miss out.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Francois April 9, 2009 at 1:53 am

Who sent you “the email”? Was it from the Idiot Club, aka official Green Day fan club? I’m not in this club, so if it came from it, probably a good idea to join…

I remember in 2004, they also played a surprise show in LA, a few month before American Idiot came out. The show was announced one day earlier, by a mailing to the fan club, named All Ages fan club by then.


Gordon April 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

The email came from the venue’s email list. That’s why I’m suggesting signing up for the Fox Oakland email list in case the rumored show happens.


Ben April 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

Great review. I especially liked your take on the open rehearsal aspect of the show. Those are special and in a small way the audience gets to witness a little history.

For some reason I have always though of a GD as a pop band in punk band’s clothes. Polished songwriting, and polished production values on the albums, but performed in a punk style.


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