Dan Christianson was excited he would finally get to see one of his favorite bands live in concert, just like a lot of other teenagers at the Green Day concert Friday night at the Fargodome.
The recent Grand Forks Red River High School graduate had unsuccessfully tried to catch up with the band earlier in the day at a CD signing, and had barely missed the cutoff to get backstage passes for after the show. He was disappointed by the near-misses, but had no idea he’d be playing guitar onstage with Green Day by the end of the night in front of nearly 8,000 screaming fans.
Christianson said he went to Fargo on Friday with the two other members of the Neckties, his band based out of Grand Forks. It was an exciting weekend event and something they all were anxiously waiting for.
“We kind of wanted to go down as a band and see these guys just because they’ve been such a big influence on us,” he said.
They tried to meet up with Green Day during a Hot Topic CD signing, but missed the band and then were a little too far back in a line to get backstage passes. Christianson said they did get great seats and the show was “incredible.”
“Green Day rocked the house – they were so good,” he said. “They were just amazing to see.”
As the show was coming to a finale, the band asked for a volunteer to come onstage and play the guitar part for “Jesus of Suburbia” during the encore. Christianson’s friends pointed to him and yelled for lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s attention.
Before he knew what was happening, Armstrong had pointed to him and another guy in the crowd, but only one could come onstage and play the song. Armstrong asked what key the song was in ” Christianson said C sharp, the correct answer, “so he told me to get my ass up there,” he said.
He admitted he got a lump in his throat when Armstrong looked right at him and pointed him out, “but once he pulled me up, I wasn’t really that nervous anymore,” Christianson said. “It’s one of the songs that I actually learned to play guitar to.”
He was handed Armstrong’s own guitar and got to play most of the song onstage, and also joined in on vocals for a bit. He said the experience was “really surreal” but didn’t totally sink in until he had climbed back off the stage and rejoined his friends.
Christianson said it was all business on stage, and his friends have told him he did a great job with the spontaneous gig. But his chance to spend a few minutes onstage with musicians he has idolized for years will be a memorable event, he said.
“It was definitely the best concert I’ve ever been to,” he said. “It’s one thing that you hope for, but I never would have expected it would happen.”