Pepper assured fans of the southland that the OC is their home away from home at Saturday evening’s event in Costa Mesa. Hosting over 8,000 people, the Pacific Amphitheater “Ohana” came out roaring at the sight of the Pepper road crew during line check, and their intensity multiplied magnitudes until Pepper played the last note in “Ashes.” From the energy and positivity amongst the audience members and bands, you could see that people have longed for a chance to return to a sense of normalcy.
Common Sense, known for being one of the first influencers of the California surf reggae genre and Pacific Dub, breakthrough artist emerging stronger in the reggae, both local OC groups, opened the event in front of a theater full of families and friends at the OC Fairgrounds.
Rounding out the evening, Pepper relentlessly pressed down full-throttle on their white-knuckle ride of a set as the concert went well over the expected run time and included a drum breakdown by Yesod Williams of “Gin & Juice” with an encore set by the full band.
Following the intro skit, Pepper cranked the dial straight to 10 with the lead song, “Give It Up.” During “B.O.O.T.,” the audience engaged in full participation creating a chorus that further enhanced the performance.
The majority in attendance remained on their feet for the entirety of the band’s set, and even the children partied as if they were middle-aged music junkies!
This being Pepper’s first show in the OC in over 18 months, the Hawaii-native band delivered a set that included songs from their earlier collection including the albums: “Kona Town,” “In With the Old,” “No Shame,” and “Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations.”
On top of giving the fans a best of setlist, their performance also included smoke machine stacks that rivaled the smoke stacks created by the fans during “Stormtroopers” and “Stoned Loved.”
Kaleo Wassman made it clear that they are excited to be back on stage with their ohana and how important it is to take care of one another. The outpouring of love and admiration from the bands to the audience and vice-versa demonstrates the importance that live music and concerts play in the lives of everyone.
It was an astonishingly, overwhelming sight to see a packed house since dealing with social distancing restrictions, but it fills my body with only positive spirits for the future of live music.
Don’t forget to visit the OC Fair and catch one of the many upcoming events during their Summer Concert Series.