Gilman Boots: Green Day Live At Gilman, June 27, 1992

Gilman Street bootlegs are a funny thing. Many times the sound quality is bad because they were recorded by audience members by any means necessary. For example, Lint Rides Again, which chronicled the last Operation Ivy (interestingly enough they played with an embryonic Green Day) show has fairly poor sound quality, but is listenable. Most sound better than earlier hardcore bootlegs, especially if they were taken from the soundboard. Regardless of sound quality, the energy level and enthusiasm at these shows makes them worth a listen. Songs are debuted, loose sloppy versions of early songs are auditioned for an enthusiastic audience, an errant cover song will slip out as if by chance or happenstance.

Green Day shows are no exception. The between song banter is as interesting as historical chronicle and the list of later fan favorites that the band plays is exemplary. The crowd knows many of these songs, even as Billie Joe Armstrong continually plugs Kerplunk. The album had been out around five months at this point and Green Day was making some headway with national tours and shows. Sooner or later they were destined to break out of the tiny venue onto the larger stage. During this show they still feel like what many would have thought of as a somewhat well-kept secret, even as the pop hooks and catchy guitar parts might point to their future success as song-writers and musicians. Armstrong's shout outs to crowd members and impromptu break into the lyrics to "Blue Moon of Kentucky" or Fifteen's "Resolution" are telling. The band's shows would never be as personal or interesting after Dookie. 

The set list is actually heavier on songs from 39 Smooth than one would expect. "At the Library" and "Road to Acceptance" particularly shine. The set standout though is a shambling version of "Welcome to Paradise" with great backup vocals and tight drumming. "80" and "Paper Lanterns" also blaze. During "80," Armstrong sings, as he did in many of these early shows, "If Adrienne can hear me, slap some sense in me." This shout out to his future wife is just one of the places that old school fans can feel the sense of history, while the newer set can appreciate the fun the band had back then. Long before the serious days of rock opera and trying to maintain a sense of youth as their rock peers get increasingly younger, they would stretch out with a fun set of fun, though hardly disposable, songs.  

The best moments in the set are arguably when the band is having fun with the crowd. Their intelligence and sense of humor shine through. Yes, they were sometimes juvenile, but they had some of the greatest pop hooks and song-writing chops around. 924 Gilman Street was a great place to hone these skills amongst an appreciative crowd; the band was able to become legendary even before the majors came around.

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