On a beautiful April evening at the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater in San Diego, The Offspring kicked off the next leg of their Let the Bad Times Roll US tour and delivered an energetic, crowd-pleasing set full of hits, leaving fans completely satisfied. The alt/punk rockers from Orange County might be a little older since their breakout days in the 1990s, but their live show is still a full-blast frenzied rockin’ sing-along event that’s as entertaining as ever.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Brian “Dexter” Holland was all smiles as the band opened up with “Staring at the Sun,” with an impressive light show adding visuals to match the band’s loud musical energy. As the second song started with the familiar clickity drum beat intro of “Come Out and Play,” the amphitheater crowd roared in delight. The other long-time band member, lead guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman, was in fine form, jumping all over the place, cranking out the riffs and looking at the crowd and bandmates with non-stop grins and laughter. With such a fun-loving demeanor, it was clear the band that had helped revive pop punk during the ‘90s was excited to be out playing live again. Long-time touring players, bassist Todd Morse and Jonah Nimoy (guitar, backing vocals, percussion) along with accomplished veteran drummer Josh Freese, were all fantastic performers. There’s no room for mistakes on crazy fast tunes like “All I Want,” and these guys were firing on all cylinders on night one of the tour.
The Offspring performed two tunes off their 2021 album “Let the Bad Times Roll” – the title track and “Behind Your Walls,” which was played live for the first time according to Noodles. Midway through the set came another fan favorite, “Bad Habit” off the 1994 mega hit album “Smash.” Then came a fun live concert moment; the band stopped right before the popular sing-along acapella part, acting like they were cutting the song short. Noodles threw picks to the audience, Dexter clapped as if to say, “Thanks, goodnight.” But the band was just taking a playful momentary pause to soak up the love and screams from their loyal fans. Noodles then took the mic and complemented the audience on their impassioned singing skills and finally asked, “Do you want to do some singing and cussing with us right now?” As the crowd cheered wildly, Dexter and fans both shouted in unison:
Drivers are rude
But when I show my piece
I feel like I’m God
You stupid dumbshit goddamn motherfucker!
Another concert highlight was when Dexter, playing a piano alone onstage, sang a re-imagined and emotional “Gone Away” as a ballad. As the venue lights dimmed and the audience activated their phone flashlights, the amphitheater morphed into a beautiful star-filled night sky. After the nice slow down moment, the band ripped back into high gear through a flurry of upbeat hits including “Why Don’t You Get a Job,” “Original Prankster,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),”“The Kids Aren’t Alright,” and of course the epic “Self Esteem” to close it out.
The Offspring live show is a amazing experience that captures all the energy, wit, and fun the band has conveyed in their music since the early ‘90s.Be sure to check the fantastic band live if you can; it’s a guaranteed great time!