Live 105 is one of the most popular radio stations in the Bay Area. Two greatly anticipated shows are put on by the station every year. When December rolls around fans know that Not So Silent Night is coming. Sure enough, a huge line up was announced and tickets began to sell immediately. This year’s installment featured Mumford and Sons, Bush, Florence and the Machine and a surprise performance by Green Day after the original head liner, Jane’s Addiction, had to cancel.
Billy Joe Armstrong may not look like Santa Clause but for thousands of Bay Area rock fans the legendary Green Day front man was close enough. When an emergency call came in from Live 105 to the Bay Area residents they didn’t hesitate. Need a head liner? Green Day was on the way. Once they arrived a hit parade ensued and the audience ate it up.
Before the hometown boys saved the day with their surprise performance a few talented bands made the show worth the price of admission. With or without a head liner. Mumford and Sons, a group that has sold out recent shows in the Bay Area, got the largest response. Whether it’s the hipster set or fans of folk music this extremely likable group appeals to everyone. They’re set turned into a dance party on the general admission floor of the Oakland Arena. They’re infectious music and unstoppable energy overtook the venue. This band is one to watch.
Florence and the Machine has gotten a fair amount of attention this past year. Of course, Florence Welsh was front and center when they emerged on stage. The band, which would be considered the machine, consist of a group of very talented musicians. But Welsh had the spotlight, literally, and took advantage of it. With dramatic hair flips and what looked like drills at an NFL combine, Welsh sprinted around the stage. She did sing too. “Dog Days Are Over,” was saved for the conclusion.
The theatrical Welsh took a bow and wound up in the center of the arena. She was hard to miss in her bright red dress and she caused quite a ruckus as fans clamored to the floor. She signed autographs and posed for pictures while the stage hands went to work switching out the gear for the next band. Welsh may be a talented singer but she also cares about her fans. Even when the spot light was off she made sure they were taken care of and thoroughly entertained.
Not only did Green Day show up last minute. They showed up on drummer Tre Cool’s birthday. As the audience sung a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday,” Cool along with Armstrong and Dirnt wandered onto the arena stage. Without a word they launched into a real good rock show. These three are used to arena stages. They have sold them out for the past two years. This year was supposed to be a break for the rock legends. The vacation was put on hold for their hometown fans and a radio station that has been with them since the beginning.
Donning a black Oakland t-shirt, Armstrong screamed, joked and laughed his way through the 60 minutes they spent on stage. He also lended his voice to dozens of the most heard songs in the history of recorded music. Among them was “Longview,” and “American Idiot.” Really, they could have played an hour’s worth of cover songs. Just the fact that Green Day showed up with barely any notice to play an arena show was good enough for the fans in attendance. The large signs posted outside warning incoming patrons of the line up change deterred no one. Green Day gave 15,000 fans an early Christmas gift.