Green Day Fans Flock To NYC To Meet The Band

'They're the voice of our generation,' says one fan waiting to get his copy of 21st Century Breakdown signed.

They’re currently camped out on the sidewalk, lined up behind barricades, moving a few feet at a time. Some of them have been here for more than 30 hours, clutching blankets and cans of Red Bull. They’re Green Day fans, and today, all that waiting will be worth it: They’ll get to meet their heroes. Hopefully.

By now, you’re probably aware that Green Day’s ultra-anticipated 21st Century Breakdown has hit stores, and on Friday night (May 15), at a Best Buy in Midtown Manhattan, the band will be on hand to sign copies of the album for 500 lucky fans. In order to increase their odds, many of those fans got there early. Really early.

(MTV News Intern Melanie Wolfson was one of those Green Day fans who waited overnight and you can read her account over in our Newsroom Blog.)

“I’ve been waiting since 9 a.m. on the 14th … it’s totally worth it,” Rich Galgano, who was at the very front of the line, told MTV News. “I’ve been a fan since I was 5 years old. My babysitter was a big Green Day fan, and she used to sit me down and make me listen to them. … They got me into music, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have to meet Green Day. It’s been my dream.”

The first 500 fans to purchase Breakdown were also fitted with a wristband, which, at 7 p.m. Friday, will get them into an exclusive signing session with the band. Like Galgano, most fans started lining up outside Best Buy on Thursday, which meant sleeping on the sidewalk and passing the time however they could.

“I’ve been here since 11 a.m. yesterday. We slept on the pavement. But it’s gonna be worth it,” said Gabe Matarasso, who spent the night with his guitar slung over his shoulder. “We had the guitar, we were doing sing-alongs. … We did old Green Day and new Green Day. Everybody here is the biggest fan ever. This is all worth it, to get to meet them. Because they’re the voice of our generation. This is the future classic rock right here.”

Nearby, Megan Bacchus nodded in agreement. She got in line at 9 p.m. Thursday night, camped out on the sidewalk singing Green Day songs. And when she finally gets to meet the guys, she has a very special plan in mind.

“I’m gonna ask [frontman] Billie [Joe Armstrong] to sign my wrist, so I can get it tattooed on. They’re totally worth it,” she said. “This has been great. We made great friends, sang all the Green Day songs. We went down 42nd Street, and we [re-enacted] the ‘When I Come Around’ and unhooked all the phones, because we wanted to be like Billie.”

And a bit further down the line, sticking out like a sore thumb among all the ringed eyes and dyed hair, was Tim Kelly — a very respectable, gray-haired dad who decided to spend the night in line with his daughter Devon. For him, this was like reliving history.

“I’m more of an old-school child of the ’60s … but I really appreciate Green Day. I’ve become a fan by osmosis. [My daughter] begged me, I had Friday off, so I said, ‘Why not? Ask your mom.’ Mom said yes, so at 9 p.m. last night, we got here,” Kelly said. “We’ve been here all night, and we’re gonna be here all day. I think it’s safe to say I haven’t done anything this crazy in about 35 years.”

“I’m gonna get him a really good Father’s Day present too,” Devon laughed. “I’m gonna buy him a 30-pack.”