Bathroom break gives Worthington teen a chance to play with Green Day

Nicholas Ramirez, of Worthington, Minn., a high school sophomore and a fan of Green Day, experienced the kind of moment the other night that most people can only dream about.

“Green Day is among my number one inspirations in music,” Ramirez, 15, tells the Worthington Daily Globe. “They were probably the first band I listened to, so I’ve been a fan for close to 10 years.”

Ramirez is lucky in a number of ways. First, he’s got an older sister, Rebecca, who drove him to St. Paul and dropped him off at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.

Then, he had the good fortune to stand next to someone for whom he saved a spot up front on the floor.

“She was maybe in her mid-60s, and she needed to use the restroom, so I offered to hold her spot,” said Ramirez.

“She asked me if I could play guitar, and I said that I could and I’d love to get on stage and play with Green Day,” related Ramirez. “They said, ‘We can help you get on stage,’ and they started talking to other people around us.”

Nearly an hour into the concert, his new friends came through for the kid.

Billie Joe Armstrong raised up a guitar and asked, ‘Who can play the guitar?’” recounted Ramirez. “The guys around me kind of raised me up so he could see me, and they all screamed for me.”

Armstrong noticed Ramirez and walked closer.

“He looked at me, pointed at me and directly asked, ‘Can you actually play the guitar?’ I screamed, ‘Yes,’ and then two security guys came over and lifted me up to the stage,” said Ramirez.

At that point, Armstrong talked to Ramirez, strapped the guitar on him, gave him a pick and quickly showed him the three chords necessary for him to jam in on “Knowledge,” the selected piece.

“I wasn’t very familiar with it, but it was only three chords so it was easy,” shrugged Ramirez.

For a few minutes, 15,000 people watched a kid from Worthington play guitar with his favorite band.

The crowd chanted his name. Then Armstrong said, “keep the guitar.”

When he unwrapped it later, he found that everyone in Green Day had signed it.

“I’m so thankful to my mom, Gabriela Barraza, for the ticket, and to my sister for getting me there and back,” said Ramirez. “I appreciate their help so much.”

He also reflected on the value of holding someone’s place while they go to the bathroom “If you try to do nice things for someone else, something good might come out of it in the end,” he said.

  • MrE85

    I like that we live in a place where women in their mid-60s go the Green Day concerts.

    • Rock was invented by this generation, sonny boy. :*)

      • MarkUp

        Sure, but didn’t Punk come from Gen X?

        • I think one could make a claim that the Ramones had something to do with it.

          • Rob

            Don’t forget Patti Smith.

          • X.A. Smith

            Iggy & the Stooges, MC5…

          • Rob

            Richard Hell and the Voidoids

          • The Who were considered the godfathers of punk by punk artists. So, there’s that, too.

          • Rob

            If only they’d died before they got old…

        • Gary F

          Generation X, Billy Idol’s first band, was one of the punk bands of the late 70’s. Along with The Clash, The Jam, and The Sex Pistols.

        • Rob

          Not hardly. Most of the punk purveyors are in their 60s at least. Does the name Patti Smith ring a bell?

  • AmyO

    Thanks for the fun post, Bob! I was at the concert on Saturday, It was amazing! Nick’s excitement to be on stage with Green Day was palpable – it was so fun to see a young kid having an unforgettable moment like that! Also, there were LOTS of people in their mid-60s or older at the show, as well as kids who weren’t born yet when Dookie came out in 1994.

    • There’s a YouTube video of an hour or so of the concert. Was hoping it would be on there, but it wasn’t. Some guy brought on stage to sing was, though.

      • Greg W

        Two people were brought up to sing and then Nick for the guitar. Pretty impressive amount of audience participation.

  • My brother was pulled on stage to play drums to the same song during the 2002 Pop Disaster Tour. Happy to see they’re still doing this.

  • Greg W

    I was at that concert. I was so happy for that kid to get up there. His reaction and the way he really go into performing made me suspect a seed was planted for him to really get serious about his band.

  • Gary F

    Bono did this to a kid when I saw them at the Mpls Auditorium in the mid 80’s. They got the kid up on stage and played with him. Then, each band member left the stage leaving only the kid playing in front of the whole crowd.

  • Jerry

    I don’t think those high school kids who saw Green Day at the 7th St Entry back in ’94 ever thought their children would be seeing them at the Xcel 23 years later. And not just because the arena, and the word, didn’t exist yet.

    • Rob

      Yes! As old as the guys in Green Day are now, maybe they should call themselves Gray Day?

      • Jerry

        And the other unlikely band from that era to still have hits needs to change its name to Wheezer?

        • Rob

          Or Geezer

  • Dan

    “I wasn’t very familiar with it, but it was only three chords so it was easy,” shrugged Ramirez.

    Which is pretty much every Green Day song. The hard ones have four.

    Still crazy to me how big they became, but even more so, how long they’ve stayed popular. I would not have guessed it, even after the success of Dookie.

  • Bob Sinclair