See Green Day’s Manic, Surprise Return to 924 Gilman

BY KORY GROW May 18, 2015

Billie Joe Armstrong

Green Day returned to Bay Area venue 924 Gilman Street for a surprise benefit. Above, the group performs in Cleveland, Ohio earlier this year. Kevin Mazur/Getty

Green Day returned to 924 Gilman Street, one of the Bay Area punk venues where they played in their salad days, for a special benefit concert on Sunday. They played the secret show to help raise money for victims of a building fire in Oakland, California that affected two local, independent publishing houses – AK Press and 1984 Printing – a recording studio (Shipwreck Studio) and dozens of residents, according to PunkNews.

The trio played a career-spanning set at the venue, focusing mainly on Dookie and American Idiot but also playing the odd cut from their pre–major label days, including 39/Smooth’s “Going to Pasalacqua,” Slappy’s “Paper Lanterns” and a handful of tunes from Kerplunk. PunkNews reports that former Dead Kennedys mouthpiece Jello Biafra introduced the group, and that Rancid’s Tim Armstrong joined the group for a cover of “Knowledge,” a track by his previous band, Operation Ivy. The show’s set list, which a fan tweeted out, included a “mic drop…” at the end.

The fiercely independent venue, which is run by a committee, banned the trio from playing there again in the early Nineties when it signed to Reprise. In 2012, a rep for the venue, Mike Avilez, told SF Weekly that he wasn’t ruling out Green Day’s return to the venue. “We’d have to have a meeting on it and vote – but I’d be for it,” he said.

Incidentally, the group played an impromptu, unsanctioned, seven-song gig in 2001 after jumping onstage without warning after a set by the Influents. The set leaned heavily on songs from 1994’s Dookie and earlier.

The publishing companies have formed a crowdfunding campaign for which proceeds will be split between the two publishers and the 30-plus residents who live in the building. Shipwreck Studio has also launched its own crowdfunding campaign.

Last month, Green Day played two gigs in Cleveland, Ohio, including their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Armstrong joined the group for “Knowledge,” as he did at Gilman, at the pre-ceremony show at the city’s House of Blues.

“I was freaking out,” Billie Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone after the induction about how he felt at the ceremony. “I was beyond nervous. I was just fuckin’…. It was kind of like being at your own wedding and your own funeral.”

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