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.