On his 20th birthday, three days before Green Day performed at Wrigley Field, Richard Colman blew out the candles on the cake his girlfriend baked him and made a wish.
Colman, a Green Day super fan, said his wish was simple: to perform on stage with the band.
“It actually happened, which has never happened to me in my life before,” he said. It was a night the Glenview resident said he’d never forget.
Colman said he and his girlfriend bought floor tickets, which allows fans to stand near the stage on a first-come, first-served basis, for the Aug. 24 performance. The couple arrived at Wrigley Field at 8:30 p.m. the night before the show to camp out and ensure they found a space closest to the stage, he said, adding they were 10th in line.
Colman said that as a fan, he knew Green Day has a tendency to bring people up on stage to play with the band. So he brought a sign with him that said “I can play the guitar.”
At the concert, the band started playing “Knowledge,” by Operation Ivy, when the lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, asked the audience if anyone could play the guitar.
Colman said that, after walking around the stage for a few minutes looking into the audience, Armstrong stopped in front of him. He asked whether he knew how to play the guitar, and Colman said he nodded his head enthusiastically.
“You swear to God?” Colman remembered Armstrong asking, and he yelled back that it was true. Then, his dream came true.
“Okay, get your (butt) up here,” he said Armstrong said.
From there, Colman said, he just soaked the experience in.
“I didn’t think of the people in the crowd,” Colman said. “I went up there, and I just freaked out because Billie Joe Armstrong has been my idol since second or third grade.”
Colman, who learned to play guitar about six years ago, said he played with the band until the end of the song, and Armstrong let him keep his guitar.
Once he finished playing, Colman said, he was escorted off the stage by security. Instead of making his way back to the front row, Colman said he walked around the stadium, where people noticed him as the fan who played on stage and gave him high-fives. It was the experience of a lifetime, he said.
Melissa Pratt, Colman’s girlfriend, said the couple had a feeling Colman might be brought on stage, so they planned to meet after the concert if they got separated.
“It was my dream for him to go on stage because it’s been his dream to perform on stage with Green Day since I’ve known him,” Pratt said.
Colman, who has been to five Green Day concerts, said he also enjoyed the moment when the band ended the concert with its song “Time of Your Life.” He enjoyed seeing the fireworks show as they played that song, he said.
So what’s up for his next birthday wish?
Colman said he doesn’t think anything could top playing on stage with Green Day and getting Armstrong’s guitar, which he framed.
“I’m pretty set,” he said.