Sunday, January 23, 2011


So, the fates bestowed me with 2 front row seats to Green Day's American Idiot play, which seemed like a solid enough mind-less night out. But when Billy Joe Armstrong, who is currently performing in the "musical" ( more on the quotation marks later ), spotted bandmate Mike Dirnt in the crowd several rows behind us and called him onstage… i thought maybe i should bust out my eyeFone and roll off some megapixels for the kids who missed it.

So here it is…
Billy Joe, Mike, and the unfree cast of glee, performing GOOD RIDDANCE/ Time of Your Life

I am not a reviewer, and perhaps I should leave that to the professionals, but since everyone is going to be asking me what i thought, i figure i should work it out on the idiot-net before i actually condemn or praise it to people who actually exist.

On the whole, I'd say that everything, from the cast, to the lights, to songs, to the costumes, to the set, made me sad. It relaxed me and tantalized my senses enough to give the feeling i am floating in the womb, not a care in the world, enjoying the stobe'ing tv sets, handfuls of glitter tossed by Billy Joe from his pockets (when he finally did appear), and feeling like everything is alright in the world, but then i realize I am not in this world, everything is colorful, characatured, and enunciated, except me. Which is basically how i felt in high school, and the reason i never joined the Glee club, or young Republicans, or any of the other clubs which i suspect were all held in the same room at the same time anyway. So, to be fair, i am not sure I could ever really truly enjoy a mindless punk rock musical spectacle, or a mindless spectacle of any sort, whether it be Nascar or Fireworks, I'd have to be pretty high on something to enjoy the moments between people catching on fire. So, just as I could probably not get too psyched up for a job putting together Nikes or stock portfolios, even though I'd like to think I could try, the reality is that if i ever went back in time to do High School 'right' this time, I'd still mess it up and have to face the reality that, as the prophet Dee Snider said, "I am, I'm me."

And that "me" finds himself sitting front row in a "play," that doesn't seem to have a lick of dialogue, posing as a musical that doesn't have a single sing-songy narrative, and in truth is probably more accurately described as a musical revue, sung by random interchangeable glee club members posing as 2-dimensional characters, occasionally joined by the guy they are all barely imitating. That in itself is so surreal, that I almost have to give it 11 stars. Perhaps your life will NOT BE COMPLETE unless you experience it. It will break you down to your core essence, like the bastard child of Freud and a Drill Sergeant, make you face the sad pathetic loser mess faggot conservative dreg that you are, and rebuild you into the perfect man or woman that Dee Snider's great great great grandfather Jesus wanted YOU to be. And it only co$ts 60-127 bucks.

You'll see characters appear for one song, and disappear never to be seen again ( except outside after the show looking to give out autographs ), you'll see characters who are set up to be main characters whom can easily have both their personality, and entire life experiences replaced by two or three cardboard cutouts. Example, cardboard cut out 1. Punk kid with sharpie drawn Black Flag tattoo, 2. the same kid in desert camo uniform, 3. same kid with a prosthetic leg, THE END. And that's 1/3 of the entire cast / "plot" / and show. Feel like more? Well i should charge you ( $127 divided by 3… ) oh what the heck, i'm feeling generous, picture three more cardboard cut outs: Not so punk kid on a couch, same not so punk kid with a pregnant girlfriend, same kid there without pregnant girlfriend, THE END, oh shit, did i just give away 2 thirds of the play? Do i have any more cardboard cut outs left? hmmmmm, Boba Fett, no, Princess Leia, no, oh wait here's three more: Least punk rock kid of all laying in bed, Least punk rock kid of all shooting dope with a girl in bed, Least punk rock kid of all working a suit and tie job… oh shoot, he may actually need four cardboard cut outs, no wait, we can just use the first one again, stand it next to the other 2 guys' third card board cutouts for the big reunion, and… THE END

Thats it. No lines, no growth, no insight, no character, no wit, no chemistry, no mustard, no mayo, no horsey sauce, a plain Lenders bagel, barely defrosted. Surfing upon some randomly strung together mix tape of Green Day songs desperately pretending to represent the characters'… i don't know what, essence? Even the songs, the true heroes upon this battlefield pitting fake plastic brother against fake plastic brother, sisters old enough to be their mothers, and inexplicably large choral groups ( guess that ticket price has too appear to pay for something ), these seemingly indestructible super soldiers of pop infiltration, domination and decimation, limp back missing limbs, sexual organs, and in the case of one song, which shall remain unnamed until his album can be notified, has been reduced to a blind mute quadrapalegic who can only communicate in morse code, incessantly nodding out the message "kill them, kill them, kill them." A selfless act that will be remembered long after we have all died, natural causes or not, by those who remember the few this nation can truly refer to as heroes.

As a kid, I remember hearing the critics of the first Star Wars movie say that you could fit the entire story line on the head of a pin. Well, in this case you could fit the entire plot of american idiot on the three periods after "in a galaxy far far away…" right on that same old pin. And there's no Wookies. Not one. Punk kid on a couch looks like a young Brandon Frasier, but that is no fucking substitute for a Wookie. And unless Han Solo's witty lines happen to have already appeared as lyrics in some early George Lucas pop single, they aint in this version of the pin head. In fact, if you just laid a bunch of space ship explosions and shots of Luke and Leia kissing over the disco version of the Star Wars theme song for 1.5 hours with no intermission, you'd basically have American Idiot. But you'd NEVER know they were actually brother and sister, and yes that might help you might grow up to be somewhat normal, but you'd be living a lie.

On a positive note, Billy Joe Armstrong is still a strong strong vocalist with a time honed, distinct and original signature style, and can pretty much do no wrong in this setting. He walks through the entire debacle like a god walking on the earth he created and appears to be having the time of his life, not to mention making a mint in the process. Who can fault him for letting this wild hog run loose, everyone in the audience seemed to feel they got more then their bottom dollar's worth and lined up to spend additional duckettes on keychains and posters on the way out. In a perfect world live drums and Marshall half stacks would be the centerpieces of every play I ever end up attending, but for now, i guess it's just this one. And theres no denying this is a real crowd pleaser, i'm just still not comfortable in the real crowd.

Guess I'd better write or direct my own musical. Till then, enjoy this one if you can.

PS. BJ, if you are reading this, I am available to rework this entire shindig if you get tired of unbridled success, OR, better yet, lets start from scratch and do a new one… If it's true that ya gotta get in to get out, your are now so in, we could surely rub one out.
see ya.
( chickenman has my # )


Post a Comment

<< Home