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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Highlands Middle School Student Gets Pulled Up To Play Live With Green Day

Surprise Occurs Thanks to Random Act of Kindness

Sadie Aseere comes face to face with her idol, Billy Jo Armstrong.   
By Colin Moore

When you’re eleven, getting to see your favorite band play live is a pretty huge deal. Having great tickets and being right in front of the stage would be even bigger. But getting to meet them on stage and play with them live? That’s bigger than a solar eclipse; it's a one in a million event.

Sadie Aseere from Fort Thomas, a sixth grader at Highlands Middle School, had just that once in a lifetime experience this past weekend when she played guitar live on stage with her idols, rock megastars Green Day, in front of around 20,000 music fans at Riverbend Music Center.

Sadie with her new, most prized possession. 

Sadie and Jenni, her Mom, are both big Green Day fans. “I grew up listening to them, Sadie surprised me two or three years ago by saying 'There’s this band that I like,' and I already knew all the songs and most of the words.” Jenni and her husband Dan had bought Sadie tickets to see Green Day at Riverbend as a reward for getting straight As last year at Woodfill Elementary.

The fact that Sadie was in a position to be asked up on stage was the culmination of a series of random acts of kindness. The Aseeres had tickets further back in the arena. Then Carley and Rick Jamie and their daughter Kate, also a sixth grader at HMS, stepped in, “They had Lawn Lounge tickets and said to us, 'Get rid of your tickets and come with us. There are free drinks and food and the girls will be somewhat out of the way.' So we were really there as their guests.”

Once they got to Riverbend they got even luckier, thanks to a random act of kindness from another concert-goer. “A random gentleman came up to Sadie and Kate Jamie and said 'I’ve got two tickets right at the front that you can have if you want.' They turned to their Dad’s and said, 'Can we go?' We said yes and they made their way right up to the front of the stage, which was why Billy Joe was able to catch a glimpse of her later on.”

Sadie’s performance has been uploaded to youtube by another concert-goer and you can watch the whole thing on

To begin with Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong asks if anyone in the crowd knows how to play guitar. The crowd gets pretty rowdy and he eventually he narrows in on Sadie. “How old are you? You’re eleven?” Jenni and Dan were back in the Lawn Lounge, unable to see whom he was talking to, at this point Jenni turned and looked at Dan but he said, “It’s probably not her.” When Billy Joe continued, “How long have you been playing for? Two years?” Jenni turned back to Dan and said, “You better get your phone out!”

A security guard picked Sadie up and put her on the stage. Jenni and Dan ran down towards the front of stage area. Two security guards stopped them but when they explained that Sadie was their daughter they parted the sea of bodies in front of them and let them through.

Sadie was confident that she could play what she was being asked to. She’s been taking guitar lessons from Highlands High School student Nolan Valz, a talented musician who offers guitar lessons as well as playing gigs locally, for the last two years. Even though she knew she was capable, she was still nervous. “It was really nerve wracking but after a while I got a little more comfortable up there.”

 Once they finished the song Billy Joe asked her name which led to what Sadie calls “My favorite part!” The whole of Riverbend joined in chanting her name, “SADIE! SADIE! SADIE!” It was clearly a surreal experience for Sadie, “There were 20,000 people shouting my name!” Performing with her idol in front of so many people would obviously have been special by itself but Green Day had another surprise: she could keep the guitar she played.

“I was crying, I kept hugging Billy Joe, I was stunned and super excited!” Jenni remembers, “She must have gone in to give him about five hugs!”

Jenni says that Sadie’s brush with celebrity didn’t end there, she obviously couldn’t leave the stage with the guitar, so they asked her to wait until after the concert. “They brought out the guitar and then drove us to our car in a golf cart so we didn’t have to walk through the fans. The fans were all waiting outside and when they saw Sadie they started coming up and giving her high fives and chanting her name again. They did it pretty much the whole way to the car.”

Due to the power of social media, Sadie’s story spread quickly. “When I got to school the next day there was a huge crowd around me asking questions. On Instagram a bunch of random people followed me, I had 120 extra followers overnight.” Her Green Day experience may have also pushed Sadie to take her guitar lessons further, “I always wanted to join a band but this probably pushed me more to do it. It was really exciting and fun, a really neat experience.”

The Aseere family are beyond thankful for Sadie’s once in a lifetime experience and realize that it wouldn’t have happened without those important acts of kindness; the Jamie family sharing their tickets, the man who gave the girls his front of stage tickets, even the random concert-goer who filmed Sadie’s experience and put on on YouTube so they could enjoy watching it again. “Paying it forward” is very much a part of their family philosophy, in fact they have a marker board in their kitchen, with the headline “Practice Three Random Acts of Kindness” Jenni explains:

“We live by the philosophy of paying it forward, we have a goal that everyone has to help three people through the week, in fact we’d just discussed it a couple of days before the concert. One of Sadie’s was that she’d seen a boy rummaging for a pencil in his bag at school and she’d given him one of hers. Just small acts like that. We really believe that what goes around, comes back around. Good things happen to good people.”

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