My two BFF's (Mik and Chris), and I are die-hard Green Day fans. American Idiot is probably my favorite album of all time. Its a rock opera, so we knew at some point, it HAD to be made into a musical show.
Sure enough, the musical is now playing at the Berkeley Theatre, and I went to see last week. Unfortunately, Miki and Chris now live in the Midwest and East Coast, so I wrote them a detailed recap of the show. Instead of writing another recap for a blog post, I'm just posting the email I sent them...
Happy Fall! Sorry this is a few days late, but life has been busy lately...
So I went to see the American Idiot Musical in Berkeley last Friday and to put it simply, it was fantastic! I so wish you two were there to see it with me.
Unfortunately, we got there late. I took BART into the City, had dinner, then we planned to take BART directly to Berkeley. Easy, right? Wrong. Stupid BART had all these delays. It took over an hour to get to Berkeley. Luckily, the theatre was just a block away from the Berkeley station.
When we got there, the doors were locked and I had a moment of panic where I thought they wouldn't let us in at all. I almost started hyperventilating. But they did let us in but told us we couldn't sit in our seats. Instead, we had to sit on these bar stools in the back, by the sound board. We didn't care, we just wanted to get in asap! Turns out these bar stool seats were even better than our regular seats; they were facing the stage head on. It was like the Janet concert all over again. :)
By the time we got situated, we missed the first three songs:
1. American Idiot 2. Jesus of Suburbia (You know this is my favorite song off the whole album....I was in tears for missing it). 3. Holiday
We picked things up at Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but I was getting situated during the song and didn't fully appreciate the performance. I figured out the storyline by Are We The Waiting/St Jimmy (Mik, I know is your fav).
The Storyline So the story centers around not one, but three guys who start off in the same hometown and then go off in different directions. I had no idea three guys, I thought it was just about one! Did you know? Had we talked about this before?
The main guy is Johnny, the Jesus of Suburbia, and the other two guys are his friends, Tunny and Will. They all start out in the same suburban town but Johnny leaves for the city, gets hooked on drugs and St. Jimmy is created. Tunny joins the army and goes off to war, and Will, stays in suburbia, gets his girlfriend preggers and ends up hating his life. The other characters are Heather (Will's gf), Whatshername - a girl Johnny meets in the city, The Extraordinary Girl (Tunny's nurse when he gets injured at war, who he has delusional dreams about), and of course, St. Jimmy. St. Jimmy was the best cast role -- the guy was seriously creepy, exactly how you'd expect St. Jimmy to be.
The Cast I admit, I thought it was going to be a kinda amateurish production, but it really wasn't! The cast was great! They were all experienced theatre professionals and I guess the main guy was in Spring Awakening, another rock musical. The three main guys not only sang well, they also played instruments throughout the show. Oh one funny thing was, there were these three guys off to the side who just stood there playing instruments. They totally looked like Green Day. I actually thought for a minute it might have been them. (Yeah, I didn't have my glasses with me).
The Songs So after St. Jimmy, here's the rest of song order:
- Give Me Novacaine / She's a Rebel: of course, I was singing along to this one the whole time. - Last Night on Earth: this was a nice little surprise -- four songs from the newest album! It was so unexpected! - Too Much Too Soon: I hadn't heard this one before. - Before the Lobotomy: Hadn't heard of this one either...or have I, and I just forget the name of it? - Extraordinary Girl: this was probably my least favorite song on the album but now I love it. - When It's Time: This is a song that BJ wrote for his wife but never recorded. - Know Your Enemy: From the new album. - 21 Guns: I admit, I didn't love this song until I saw it performed here. Now its on my playlist :) - Letterbomb: This was performed by the ladies. I never would have thought to see it from a chic's perspective! Who would have thought!?! - Wake Me Up When Sept Ends: This was my favorite performance of the night. And not for a cheesy, slow song kind of reason, but because all three guys sang and played their guitars. They each sang different parts as it pertained to their own individual storyline at that moment in the show. It was moving, made me shed a tear. - Homecoming: they broke this up into sub-sections of Death of St Jimmy, East 12th Street, Nobody Likes You, Rock & Roll Girlfriend, We're Coming Home. This was the climax of the show where Johnny and Tunny come home and all three guys reunite. I was air-banding it again. - Whatsername: in my opinion, the most underrated song on the whole album.
My Take Bottom line -- even though we missed the beginning, I still loved, loved, loved it. Was there any doubt I would? Hahaha.
* Even though Green Day wasn't there, you could tell Billie Joe played a huge role in putting together this production * The general crowd was very un-Green Day-like -- lots of older people, probably theatre regulars. I think anyone in general will like this show, but if you are a real fan, and truly know, love and have studied the album (like how we have analyzed it over and over again), then you will be so in love with this show that after you see it, you will want to go home and listen to the music while reading the lyrics...again. Umm, yeah I did. * I found myself amazed at how one song, that was performed by three different people, applied to each character as they sang it...and you know what -- in those moments of the story, the lyrics made perfect sense. * After loving the album for the past 4-5 years, I only knew the music as BJ portrayed it. But now that I've seen it portrayed a different way,I see the songs from a whole different perspective. * And while I appreciated BJ as a performer, I now appreciate him as a songwriter and storyteller. The man is just a talented a genius.
So this is probably more like a blog post than a regular email to you girls (actually I think I'll just post this as a blog post) but this is pretty much the exact conversation we would have had, had we all seen it together, right?
I'm going back to see it again in a couple of weeks (in its entirety this time), but when this show hits Broadway, we'll have to have a Girls Weekend in New York to see it together. I mean, after seeing them in concert at PacBell together, its only fitting that we see this together, right?!? Set the expectations with your husbands and babies now! :D
PS Here's pics from the program. I figured its the pages you'd like to see most.