Sunday, May 15, 2005


Recently, there's been a lot of talk about activism - namely 'activist judges.' It strikes me that when judges become activist when it comes to enforcing laws such as requiring the ten commandments be posted in judicial courthouses, or in the case of the 2000 election, judges are upholding the law. However, in other cases, such as the case in the striking down of the 416 law in Nebraska - it's almost like a declaration of war on the Christian right. Keep in mind that some of our proudest moments in our country came from judicial activism - namely, some of the key decisions on the civil rights movement (namely Brown vs. Board of Education).

Far less serious topic...
Took my nephew to see his first concert tonight - Green Day at the Qwest Center in Omaha. Hats off to Green Day for giving him a memorable first-time experience as a concert goer. My vocal cords are already beaten raw by a cold (most likely acquired from trying to find my car after seeing Bright Eyes and the Faint at the Mid America Center and walking through a torrential downpour for 30 minutes) - the smoke from the floor of the Qwest Center and my occasional lapse into teenage geekdom by jumping and screaming is going to do wonders on Monday.

Anyway - yes, for the punk pretensions crowd, the Green Day concert reeked of the very excess of rock that punk was trying to destroy in the 70s: huge pyrotechnics, dumb shout-alongs from the crowd and a ton of confetti dumped on the floor during an encore. But, I have to cry 'uncle' on this one - it was one of those great moments as a concert goer - seeing a not-bad-at-all concert through the eyes of an estatic, firsttime, 14-year-old concert goer (who, by the way, owns Radiohead's The Bends AND OK Computer).

I will rattle off some highlights, since I'm still recovering from a massive cold and needing to get to bed before going to my technical writing job tomorrow and draft up some documents that no one will read and work in a cubicle where no one will notice whether or not I'm there - Billy Joe Armstrong dragging a novice drummer, guitar player and bassist from the crowd to play a number - and then giving his guitar to the elated Iowa-raised guitarist and forcing the drummer to take a stage dive, a blistering opener of "American Idiot" in front of a Nazi-like backdrop of the Green Day American Idiot logo, and in a moment where I probably went into embarrassing uncle mode (read... jumping up and down like I was on an invisible pogo stick) with Green Day's absolutely devastating performance of "Jaded."

The concert ended around 10:30 - plenty of time to take my nephew home, talk about the concert to my sister (half-jokingly saying to her that we're even for her taking me to see The Beastie Boys and Fishbone in 1987) and have me just miss the final moments of Aqua Teen - Hunger Force on the Cartoon Network. Yes, I saw ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Shins and Bright Eyes/The Faint within two weeks, but I relent, I didn't have nearly as much fun as seeing Green Day in concert. Maybe because it's the release of hearing such an articulate response to what it's like to live in post 9/11 America, or the fact that ... face it... - they may just write really, really good songs, but I will have to put seeing Green Day during the height of their American Idiot tour in my 'top 10 concerts of all time' list while the Shins and ...Trail of Dead will most likely be forgotten in a few months. Yes, it was cliched, with their cover of "We Are The Champions" and the endless "Somebody say 'heayahhh'" crown banter, but, as journalists, we know that sometimes cliches work and are necessary. Bravo, Green Day, for making a believer out of a cynic and giving my nephew an unforgettable first-concert memory, and thanks for playing "Jaded."

Current listening selections:
The Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Green Day - American Idiot
Green Day - International Superhits
Aimee Mann - The Forgotten Arm


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