When September Ends

It’s Saturday morning. I’m setting up News’ interview room at the MTV Radio Forum when I hear the unmistakable buzz of electric guitars. I sneak into rehearsals and catch a snippet of Green Day.

The band is soundchecking. I wait through their monitor and mic checks. They’ve got a piano and a second guitarist. When did they become REM circa “Out Of Time?” I don’t care. They sound great. And they haven’t played a song.

I spent a few minutes Friday photographing the band’s arrival vehicle, the battered Pontiac from their “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” video. The chrome is nicked in the spots where drummer Tres Cool slammed his sticks. In contrast to Ludacris and Snoop’s hi-gloss rides, it’s the real deal: fatigued, dented… lived in.

I am alone in the dark of the arena. Billie Joe hits the opening chord of “Boulevard.” Tremelo shakes the American Airlines Arena. I have goose bumps. I smile and think, ‘I love this job.’

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s all right
Check my vital signs
And know I’m still alive

The band hits its big finale as I dial my brother and hold my cell phone aloft. When they finish, I find Jennifer on the other end of the phone. “Did you hear that!?!” I ask.

She hands the phone to Ethan. He says, “Hi Uncle Benjamin!” He has mastered the letter j. I tell him I love him. “Bu bye!” he says. I can see his face in my mind’s eye. He’s definately smiling too.

I exit the arena into the humid Miami morning. I’m pretty sure I’m the luckiest man alive.

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