by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
Like everyone who snagged tickets to the Hella Mega Tour — a stadium concert starring post-grunge legacy bands including Green Day and Weezer, joined by Fall Out Boy and my current favorite, The Interrupters — I was stoked and charged up. I couldn’t wait for the punk rock/alt rock event of the summer of 2020.
Fast forward to August 2021, after a year and a half of live-music abstinence, when we finally parked at Citi Field. To say I had developed a renewed appreciation for live music would have been a huge understatement. I felt an excitement not unlike that of my earliest teen years, when going to a large stadium rock show felt decadent and thrilling — and rebellious.
To some extent it was “rebellious,” although I’m an adult mom who can go where she pleases. I was rebelling against recommendations to stay home, given the delta variant.
Nevertheless, savoring the show was so right for so many reasons. Here are 5 ways it charged my depleted spirit in the uncertain summer of 2021, when the U.S. got a “breather” of normalcy before the big Covid whiplash.
1. It took me back to my roots. I grew up listening to rock n’ roll, and was turned onto punk and ska in the late 90s. Unlike other rock genres, there’s an urgency in the pacing — barre chords in quick succession — that I’m drawn to. I’ve loved other artists from other genres, but I’m always 16 when I hear bands like Green Day and The Interrupters.
2. I saw Weezer for the first time. Somehow I missed seeing Weezer in my youth. It’s not like I didn’t hear “Buddy Holly” on the 99.1 WHFS — the FM radio alt-rock station in Washington, D.C. I did. But I’d never seen Weezer, or Rivers Cuomo, live. He was so badass, strapping on his V-shaped guitar and singing — and he sounded exactly like he always had, age be damned. I sung along to at least half the set — most notably, the cover of Toto’s “Africa.”
3. I realized Green Day only gets better with age. I actually wasn’t a huge Green Day fan in high school. Of all the alternative music I was exposed to, Green Day felt so mainstream compared with, say, The Lunachicks or Murphy’s Law. In my 20s, I would cringe as my ex-boyfriend would play the first three chords for ‘When I Come Around.’ That changed when I saw the band perform live, bringing an unstoppable energy to the stage. Billy Joe Armstrong is a force of nature.
4. I got to sing along to The Interrupters. Doug, the bass player for my band Trashing Violet, who is now a good friend, introduced me to The Interrupters in mid-2019, when were debating cover songs to play. Aimee Interrupter sounded so much like Brody Dalle, but with a touch less angst. I was hooked when I heard “Take Back the Power,” and within months “Kerosene” became my personal theme song. I can’t believe I’d missed the band’s earlier albums, pre-Fight the Good Fight, but to be fair, I was preoccupied with raising toddlers between 2013 and 2018.
5. the show helped me forget about Covid, even if for a night. This stupid virus isn’t even worthy of capitalization. I hate it so, so much. I hate the fact that we cancelled a show with my friends Shame Penguin because of the delta variant, and I hate that my kids have to wear masks to school to stay safe. So it was nothing short of ecstatic bliss when my vaccinated husband and I wove through the T-shirted, tattooed masses in Citi Field to find our seats. To live again, and relish the pure joy of live rock and roll, felt so good and indulgent. I have never appreciated music more — and I cannot wait to see another summer stadium show soon.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.