(After hearing about the publication of “Green Day Rising,” Dan Trecroci, who was in attendance at the July 5, 1994 Slim’s show graciously reached out to us and offered his recollections from the gig – which, in all candor, are a hell of a lot more detailed than ours. If you were at the Slim’s show and want to share your memories of the performance, don’t be shy – send them our way!)
As told by Dan Trecroci:
Prior to the July 5, 1994 show at Slim's, I had seen Green Day two previous times. Both times were in pre-”Dookie” 1992, and they were at Berkeley Square and Gilman Street.
I always liked Green Day because they reminded me so much of The Jam and The Mr. T Experience.
The Slim's show in July, 1994 was a benefit for a music program, I believe, and the tickets were only $15. They went on sale on a Sunday and I purchased mine a day or two later, thinking that it would be sold out because of the “Longview” acclaim on MTV. But I got tickets no problem.
The night of the show, I walked into Slim's just as the opening band was finishing its set. It was pretty obvious that many people in the crowd were Green Day newbies, having just recently discovered them on MTV. The rest of the crowd was people who had been following them for a while, and throughout the venue there was some vocal belligerence about their newfound mainstream recognition -- but nothing too severe.
The first thing I remember was that, prior to taking the stage, Tré’s drum tech was having difficulties setting up the bass drum, snare and cymbals. It was a problem that they couldn't resolve for some reason, and after a few minutes Tré came out on stage to help them fix it. The reason that stands out is because as Tré was onstage, the crowd just mingled about while Tré was casually fixing his drum set a few feet away. If he were to come out on stage now and do that, you would have 15,000 people losing their shit.
After the drum-set issues were resolved, Tré went offstage and a few minutes passed. Then, he and Mike took the stage to what can only be described as “casual” applause, as if we all were saying, “Hey Mike...hey Tré,” no screaming or anything.
Mike started bashing his forehead into the mic (which he did back in those days), and bantering with the audience. Tré was getting set up at his drum kit but Billie Joe was nowhere for the first 20 to 30 seconds. Then he came up the steps on the stage-left side of the Slim's stage and causally walked to his customary stage-right position. As he saw the crowd, he jammed a finger up his nose and, for the most part, the crowd remained casual over his taking the stage.
He then showed the crowd a ring on his finger and his first words to everyone were, “Guess what ...I'm married.” I don't think a single person took him seriously when he said that, but throughout the evening he referenced it a few times and even alluded to the Slim's gig as his “honeymoon.”
They tore into their set ... and HOLY SHIT.
I had seen them two times prior to the Slim's gig, and I have seen them around 10 times since at venues of all sizes, and that was their most amazing performance.
I suck at remembering set lists, but I do know that the show started with some “Kerplunk” and “39/Smooth” standards which confused a lot of the audience.
The middle fingers and spit from the audience started flying as soon as they started playing and there were security guys who were constantly trying to keep the crowd surfers from spilling onto the stage.
Between songs, Mike bantered almost as much as Billie Joe. While Mike was comedic relief, Billie Joe was a little more combative with the audience, but in a good-natured kind of way.
Billie Joe started doing this thing where he would spit toward the ground and then, just as the line of spit was about to hit the ground, he would suck it back up into his mouth. He did this over and over again and kept doing it throughout the night. One time, he must have done it 5 to 10 times in a row and I remember thinking it was pretty damn obnoxious. So I yelled out, “Hey, how about playing some music instead, asshole?” I was close enough to the stage where he heard me and he called back to me, “What do you wanna hear us play?” To which I shouted out, “Something from ‘Kerplunk.’” They then ended up playing “Christie Road.”
Their third or fourth song was “Chump,” which I knew transitioned into “Longview” on the “Dookie” album. At the end of “Chump,” I thought to myself that there was no way they would start playing their one and only hit at a club only 10-15 minutes into the set. But sure enough, they did.
During the performance of “Longview” during Mike's bass line, Billie Joe kept prancing back and forth across the stage while holding his mic stand. It was the only time during the show that I think he moved from his stage-right position while performing -- another stark contrast to the present day, where Billie Joe is all over the stage.
After “Longview,” they tore into a string of songs from “Kerplunk” and “39/Smooth,” which really placated the die-hards. Again, I suck with set lists, but I do know that “Going to Pasalacqua” and “2000 Light Years Away” were in there, and they were fantastic performances, almost as if it were cathartic for the band to be playing them to its home base.
At one point during the show, a crowd surfer landed on stage and Billie Joe gave him the mic so that he could sing along to a “Kerplunk” or “39/Smooth” song. It was pretty obvious that the guy was a newbie and probably didn't even know a song off “Dookie” other than “Longview.” Billie Joe encouraged him to sing along and the guy fucked the song up to high holy hell. The poor bastard made the most of it and self-deprecated himself a bit until Billie Joe took back the mic and told him to get the fuck off the stage. The guy stage-dived into the crowd after his epic fail of trying to sing along to obscure Green Day material and I remember Mike telling the guy, “Hey, don’t worry about it. Like your old Little League coach used to say, ‘Good hustle...good hustle.’”
Near the end of the show, Billie Joe had endured so many middle fingers and so much spit that he just shot a massive wad of spit into the audience as soon as Tré hit the snare for the first count of “Paper Lanterns.” The spit that Billie Joe shot like a cannon into the audience ended up hitting some guy standing two feet to my left. (I hope that guy wasn't you.)
It was also during the middle of “Paper Lanterns” where Billie Joe would traditionally banter. During his banter, he talked about the Bay Area and even attempted to play a little ska music at the request of an audience member. He made another mention of being married, which I think was still not taken seriously, considering was only 22 at the time. During the end of his “Paper Lanterns” banter, he invited the audience to tell him to “fuck off,” which they gladly did, and he left the stage.
Mike and Tré kept playing. Mike told the audience “Uh-oh...now you've made him mad” and as he was offstage, there was a part of me that was thinking, “Well maybe we did,” because he had never done that at Berkeley Square or Gilman during his “Paper Lanterns” banter...
About three minutes later, however, Billie Joe came back on stage holding a bottle of Budweiser, babbled some more, spit out his long line of saliva, which he sucked back in, and then tore into the ending of “Paper Lanterns.”
Tré then took center stage and played “All By Myself” and “Dominated Love Slave” with Billie Joe on drums. After that, they played “My Generation” ...and....well...I'm pretty sure that was it.
The show was probably no longer than an hour, and it was 60 minutes of fantastic theater.
That July 5, 1994 show sticks in my memory because, personally, I had graduated from college a few weeks earlier, and two days after the Slim’s gig (on July 7, 1994), I left for a two-month cross-country road trip in my car that, to this day, is still one of the best experiences of my life.
When I returned to the Bay Area from my road trip (in early September), Green Day was huge because of Lollapalooza, Woodstock and “Basket Case” on MTV ... I can remember them doing the live MTV concert later that year and then doing a show at Madison Square Garden and thinking to myself, “Holy crap, these guys were playing a show at Slim’s less than five months ago and I was at the show” -- a show, mind you, that I got tickets to more than 24 hours after they had gone on sale.
My son is 11 and he is a Green Day fanatic of monumental proportions. We are going to the show in Oakland this summer and he is counting the days. I tell him that I saw Green Day in three different venues that held a few hundred people and it blows his mind.
PS: After Billie Joe took the stage and announced that he was married, he said to the audience, “I know what all of you who only know us from the video on MTV are thinking right now ... ‘My God he's so much taller on TV.’” To which about a half dozen audible “No shits” could be heard from the crowd.
Also, it was indeed a music benefit, because when Billie called the concert out as being a benefit for a high school music program he noted that it was ironic because “I dropped out of high school so I can play music.”