Friday, 18 June 2010

Green Fly to Green Day

Yesterday was fun. As part of Mrs NB's Christmas present I bought her tickets to see Green Day in an open air concert. She has only been to one outdoor gig before so we were a bit reliant on the weather and of course on Christmas Day with a blanket of crisp cold snow laying on the ground, I couldn't help but think I had made a huge mistake. Of course the last time it snowed in June was in 1986, and that was in the Cairngorms so the odds were stacked against that possibility but precipitation was a different kettle of fish.

So when we woke up yesterday and the sun was creating crevices in the paving stones we were very happy bunnies. I took the day off so I could set off to the gig at whatever time I was ready. Turned out to be not that much earlier than if I had been to work but I got to wear shorts all day and slog in the garden (I hate gardening).

Whilst in the garden we were asked if we wanted to enter a free draw to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company being in business. Yes, you're ahead of me there aren't you. Free. No such thing etc. To make matters worse he collared Mrs NB  while I was making a drink. She is very trusting and kind and a bit naive. It's one of her most enduring qualities although it does sometimes lead us down unexpected avenues. On the day we moved into our current house, she answered the door to a man telling her he could save her money by changing energy supplier. How could he prove it. We hadn't got across the threshold so had no benchmark. Hey ho. Nine years on we haven't fallen into that trap again and he is still probably raking in the commission. So the free draw we were entered into was to win a car (or £6,000) in a draw in December but more of that later.

So after all the jobs were done except the gardening (that is an ongoing project waiting on external contractors to do their bit now. OK the recycling crew coming to empty our green bin) we eventually set off on the journey down the East Lancs Road (we went down the M62 actually. it's quicker at that time of night but not quite as cliched).

I'd never been to the venue of the gig before so I didn't know exactly where it was. I had driven it a couple of times on Google Street Map but never in real life so it was difficult to judge how far from the gig the car park we used was.  To be fair it was just over 1 and a quarter miles, which, on the way there didn't feel far at all. would it feel that way on the return journey? Not blooming likely. We would only have been standing up, jumping, dancing, singing etc for 5 and a half hours by then. On route we managed to save another group of concert goers the ignominy of turning up at the wrong Old Trafford. Like I'd pay to enter THAT one.

Lancashire County Cricket Ground is actually quite impressive. Although not sharing the football grounds command of the vista, it does give that same same special feeling when walking out into the ground. The inside of a sports stadium always give me a tingle when I emerge into the combat arena for the first time. No combat this time though. the mood is purely celebratory.

After getting a sense of our surroundings we decide that a drink was in order and yes, we were charged more than a chardonnay in a North London Wine Bar for a bottle of Fanta poured into a paper cup. We wandered back and onto the pitch, resisting the temptation to mime a googlie, and looked for our spec . We took up residency to the right of the stage as we looked, just ahead of the technical tent.

As support acts go, you can't fault Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.Of course, being an outside gig, they weren't able to utilise the lighting rig to full effect but they still managed to get the crowd in the mood with rousing renditions of their big hits and some of their lesser known, but equally enjoyable, songs.

Just before 7.45 a pink bunny appeared on stage, knocked back two bottles of lager, danced along to YMCA and headed backstage. If the headline act was half as entertaining as the rabbit we were in for a good night.

I have to say, I didn't go to the gig as a rabid Green Day fan. I liked some of their songs, and I had seen them play on DVD's and TV so I expected them to be good. They do know how to work a crowd. It wasn't the simple strutting of someone who knew that the crowd knew every word to every song that they had ever recorded and was prepared to bugger all other than pose and point the microphone at the crowd (see Peter Kay's description of a Robbie Williams concert). This was the consummate performer who had the audience in the palm of his hands. I was the only person in the throng that didn't sing along to every word, yet I appreciated the song writing the performance and the sheer enthusiasm that radiated from the stage and permeated through the hordes.

Of course they did the songs that I knew. I was very impressed with their softer songs like When September Ends (or as the facebook group says, "Shit. It's October and I haven't woken Green Day yet)and Boulevard of Broken Dreams but I also enjoyed rocking to some of the heavier stuff and plenty of which I wasn't familiar with. Guess what? I could hear all the words properly.

One of the highlights for me was a medley of songs made famous by British acts, whilst the whole band lay down on the stage, flat on their backs, wearing pirate costumes. Why? Well, why not?

Thoroughly entertained we fell into the first of two exit ques. How could we have made such a big mistake in trying to get out of the same exit as everyone else when there were at least three or four easier escape routes.

Of course, once back at the car you are then subject to the decision not to phase the traffic lights in Manchester to ease the heavy traffic coming from the concert venue, but rather leave them on the setting ready for the next day's school run.

So, arriving home a mere two hours after the last song was fading out and listening to how much the mini binnies had enjoyed their night, we eventually made it to bed in the secure knowledge that if my bad back didn't keep me awake all night, there was no way that the junior NB's would allow us to sleep more than 5 hours.

It's been a tiring day in work today. The hot weather and lack of sleep did make me feel drowsy for part of the afternoon, but the excitement of winning a runners up prize in the prize draw that isn't being drawn until December kept me going. We had won the choice of having a carpet or our three piece suite cleaned. The man from Kirby (not Kirkby note) was going to deliver us our prize at 5.30 pm today. At 7.30 we apologised (for him taking up two hours of our time) and said that we had to put the children to bed. He left with our wallets in tact. we did wish that we had completed the survey that he asked us to fill in. We would have said that if we won the £6,000 we would buy one of his machines. We wouldn't but that's between you and me.


  1. Sounds like you had a fab day! I love open air concerts - have seen Robbie Williams twice and Peter Kay is right!

  2. Sounds like you had a fab day! I love open air concerts - have seen Robbie Williams twice and Peter Kay is right!