Living in Norway and watching the political unrest at home in America gets disheartening.
The 24 million or so people who could soon lose their health care, the horrible environmental ramifications to come under the defunding of the EPA, the assault on The Fourth Estate, the strengthening of hate groups, the list goes on and on.
A lot of us have had to take a timeout from these conflicts. This allows us to take a moment to recharge and then plug back in to keep up the good fight. In the middle of this unplug-recharge-plug-back-in cycle, I found the perfect way to get rejuvenated: Green Day.
The pop-punk trio was recently in Oslo on their Revolution Radio tour. Though I have long been a fan, I’ve never seen them live. (The closest I came was the American Idiot musical.) So when word came that they were coming to town, I had to get tickets.
The night was nothing short of magical. Shortly after the trio took the stage frontman Billie Joe Armstrong announced: “Tonight is about freedom!”
He encouraged people to put their phones down and live in the moment, saying he didn’t want to see their phones, but would rather see their faces and hear their voices.
Green Day has always been a politically aware band, with lyrics that go well beyond some trite, anti-establishment styled lines:
Zieg Heil to the president Gasman
Bombs away is your punishment
Pulverize the Eiffel towers
Who criticize your government
Bang bang goes the broken glass and
Kill all the f*gs that don’t agree
Trials by fire, setting fire Is not a way that’s meant for me
That’s from the anti-war song “Holiday” that came out in 2005. It was aimed at President
George W. Bush and to those apathetic about the Iraq War. Yet today the lyrics take on an even sharper criticism.
Green Day was performing “Holiday” at Oslo Spektrum, when Armstrong yelled: “Trump is not my president!” Later there were chants of “No Trump!” and “No fascism!” that resounded throughout the crowd of about 8,500.
I gotta say, it really is quite inspiring to be in a near-full arena in a country that is not my own, but seeing the thousands who are passionately behind what I believe in.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to push for equal rights for everyone and you’re met with closed ears and even more closed minds. But hearing those voices, all in unison, it was electrifying.
I spent most of the concert on my feet, belting out along with the band, but then, on the second encore they played “Good Riddance, Time of your Life.” And I couldn’t sing. The lump in my throat wouldn’t let me. I simply stood there, tears welling in my eyes:
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
Thank you Billie, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool.