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The Green Day riot at the Hatch Shell: 25 years ago today

Full GREEN DAY segment from WE WANT THE AIRWAVES(The Riot Gig)

WFNX got Snapple to sponsor the concert - and they gave out thousands of bottles of juice. Glass bottles. As one reporter concluded: "Small mobs of punk rock fans roaming Boston's Back Bay looking for action."

H/t Chris Devers.



now i feel super old. regret not going to this.


it was the shortest show I ever attended !

Not sure if you remember as well, but I remember the ending a bit differently than the segment. I was standing in the back on the periphery, since it was a really big, tightly-packed crowd, and I didn't get there until the opening band had already started. This segment portrays the end of the show as more abrupt, but I remember that the band had stopped several times over ~15 minutes, with Billie Joe warning that the crowd was crushing people in the front, and they would have to stop the show for safety reasons if they didn't move back. After about a half-dozen warnings/stoppages, they finally had to end the show. People up-front may have been too caught-up with things to hear the warnings, so I can understand if it seemed more abrupt, though.

The whole "riot" thing seemed a bit of an exaggeration by the news. I'd been unwittingly caught-up in two riots before in Montreal (fires, cars flipped, windows smashed, etc), where I'd moved from the previous year. This was a bit crazy, but I wouldn't have called it a "riot" at the show or in Kenmore, which I had walked through afterwards.

For awhile after this, they unfortunately stopped doing free rock-related concerts at the Hatch Shell, and even when they did start again, it's been more rare. Before this, there were quite a lot of free shows there (I think all sponsored by FNX), but they were all smaller indie and local bands, so it wasn't a big deal. It seemed like there was a free show there every other weekend.


This is one those shows that every claimed to have been at. I sadly was not but half my high school was there. And yes, i feel super old.

we were somewhere else that night, coming back toward campus in the fenway when there were suddenly swarms of people all around us. we had no idea what was happening till we found out later there'd been a "green day riot."

You could just tell that it was going to end bad. I regret nothing.

A month or so later I saw them (with Bad Religion) in Berlin. The crowd was more subdued, but we made a German Chick laugh when we mentioned they played before a huge crowd in the recent past.

to see news reporters talk about some "pop culture" topic that they know absolutely nothing about.
Those crazy "grunge rockers" are just outta control.


Was the single best experience of my high school years. I remember people passing out acid on the red line on the way home. Everyone soaked and covered in mud.
Fun times indeed.

"I remember people passing out acid on the red line on the way home."

You shoulda been on Charles Street in 1968. The acid was better then, too.

As I recall, it was a good show- it was pretty muddy, the Esplanade was all messed up. When people began to tear up the lawn and fling it around, and the cops began to swarm in, our crew up and left. Good times.

we met up near the pit and then some more of us joined up at central sqare

as we got closer we saw a few others we knew from shows.

we stuck together among the sea of jocks, preps, and everyone else who had just discovered punk when Dookie came out

we pushed toward stage right as a pack and waited

first song started and we were off

arms wide, pushing back into the crowd to make some room and we started beating each other up like idiots

this was before Hot Topic so most of the audience in our area didnt know this was the norm and thought we were fighting, jocks pushed back, some prep grabbed a punk girls ass, fists flew, then it was off to the races

it was a total blur

we drank bagged beers back to central when another fight erupted on brookline st, next to Hi-Fi. a kid we knew grabbed a side mirror of a car going the wrong way down green st and they dragged him in reverse for at least 100 feet out of fear for THEIR lives.

And in the end, I somehow i ended up at ManRay...


Showcase Showdown the next day at Mid East?

I thought I had read five or so years ago that the guy who owned ManRay was talking about starting it up again, but I guess that didn't materialize.

not sure if he sold the license before the city made them lose value (like TT's owner did) but I believe that shipped has (thankfully) sailed.

It was losing it's edge at the time it closed anyway, the crowd shifted to a more "Suburban Godsmack" and became noticeably less "Art School Bauhaus".

Just my opinion, of course, but I'm glad it didn't reopen somewhere else.

I remember that episode mostly because of my response to it, which was, more or less, "punk rock? It's 20 years too late for that." Real punk rock was what we used to hear at the Rat. Which just goes to show that any revolution that succeeds eventually becomes another institution in need of overthrow. You just have to wait.

Death or Glory, it's just another story.


"Real punk rock was what we used to hear at the Rat"

the rat was still going strong when this show happened.

believe or not, punk did not die in 1977.


that's kind of what I was getting at. It became an institution, and was overthrown by its own children, who took its place. It's like the young gods overthrowing the old ones. Young punks do the same thing.

it really wasn't all that deep, man

we were all just dumb kids getting drunk, in fights, and trying to get laid

this "overthrowing gods" thing is a bit odd, dont you think?

The Rat was on it's last legs in 1994. Anybody who thinks the 1994 Rat was anything like the authentic 1976-1979 Rat scene clearly wasn't there the first time around.

The Rat was on it's last legs in 1994. Anybody who thinks the 1994 Rat was anything like the authentic 1976-1979 Rat scene clearly wasn't there the first time around.

...says every generation about every subsequent generation. is it lonely atop that ivory tower of yours?


Ok, Steven Blush.

... the exact same thing, haha.

they had just played a night or two before on the mtv music awards and they were blowing up. im not a big fan but at that very moment they were the biggest band on the planet. when wfnx booked them a few moths earlier they were not such a big deal. it was a warm, muggy, rainy night and all the kids were back and it was that time of the year where everyone got along! anyway,the band started playing, kids started moshing, and the cops started freaking out. someone had a huge blanket and a small young lady laid in the middle and the crowd holding the blanket were flipping her up in the air like she was on a trampoline. the cops looked confused and mad. a handful of MSP waded into the pit and started smashing kids in the head with clubs/flashlights and dragging them away in cuffs. they didn't know who to grab so they were just grabbing the nearest kid they could and smashing him over the head. i was near the front and saw all of this happening, i did my very best not to make eye contact with any of the troopers because they were scaring me a little bit. some cops went onstage and i think one of them pulled the plug and the music stopped. the band seemed upset and confused. i think they tried to restart and the cops were having none of that. that's when the bottles started flying. i think it was a snapple promotion so they (brilliantly) had given everyone glass bottles of snapple. bad idea. the kids in the back were trying to throw bottles at the cops who were gathered around the front of the stage. the bottles weren't making it that far and kids near the front were getting pelted by bottles from behind. the cops were picking random kids, dragging them up over the guardrails, clubbing them over their heads, cuffing them, and throwing them in the wagon. it was way over the top. eventually kids started moving away from the front to get away from the police and the flying bottles. the cops waited a bit then formed a line of mounted police. all the other cops locked arms and got behind the horses. then they moved toward the crowd. if you didnt get out of the way you were either going to get trampled by horses and cracked by a statie. it was time to go home. my first riot.


I was there and it was a mess. A few bad apples but the cops overreacted. Part of the issue, like others mentioned, was timing. FNX put on a few free concerts there that summer which attracted a much smaller crowd with no issues. With Green Day blowing up coming off Woodstock, coupled with all of the students back, it was the perfect storm for a shit show. I also feel this show was started later then some of their other summer free shows.

Green Day , they suck..
Trying to reintroduce punk rock
at the time.

Anyone who likes Green Day should hear Boston's own Outlets. They did it first and they did it much, much better. And they looked a thousand times better with their shirts off onstage.

I convinced my wife, who was not a fan, to go to the show. We planned to walk over the Arthur Fiedler footbridge and arrived as the show had already begun. It was so crowded on the Esplanade side of the bridge that people got to the bottom and had no where to go. Meanwhile, the crowds on the bridge heard the music and just wanted to get across. There was a LOT of serious pushing. I locked my arms straight in front of me to protect my wife, thus pissing off the guy in front of me who was giving me shit for shoving him in the back.

From the bridge we could see people being flung into the air and crowd surfing like I have never seen before or since. We made it off the bridge just as they finished.

OMG! I just heard about this on a podcast! http://www.hubhistory.com/.

I remember trying to get to it and hearing on the radio it was chaos. I'm kind of glad I didn't make it and I kind wish I were there.

Not super punk rock...

My mother saw Scott Joplin play at the Rat

Emerson used to have dorms at 100 Beacon. The sound check woke me up that morning. First, we went up to the "Grad student lounge" on the 10th floor, but we later went down to our floor for a closer view.

I wouldn't call it a riot, either. But, there was an intimidating wall of police in a tight line pushing the crowd away and over the footbridge / across Storrow... I believe it started over trampling flowers in front of the stage? I know there were some warnings..

I'm more a fan of 70's and some 80's punk, but wasn't going to turn down the opportunity for a free show that I didn't even have to go anywhere for!

should realize within the last 25 years, if not at the time, that the people who were violent (including the police and security) were assholes.