The Offspring “smashed” expectations during their most recent show at the Pacific Amphitheatre with Adolescents on July 11th. Not only was this a hometown show, but it was the first time the band’s iconic album Smash has been played in its entirety within the United States. The Offspring treated the crowd to plenty of nostalgia and flash back stories along with several hits from their other albums to hold over their radio fans.
Adolescents kicked off the night with a very controversial and politically charged set. Their new album La Vendetta centers on the theme of police brutality, and this show continued the trend. With a piñata of Manuel Ramo’s head (the officer accused of brutally beating Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, CA in 2011) on display as well as signage about filming police, the band’s opinion on the matter was clearly portrayed. The slew of papers the band handed out throughout the crowd had the names of citizens who were victims of police brutality showed the scope of the issue, but did little more than raising an eyebrow or two. Tony Cadena’s speech and attempts to convey his message with the crowd was heartfelt, original, and well organized, but it shoved their music into the back seat. By the time the last note of “Amoeba” finished this writer was ready for the main event.
It was a little jarring to see seats filling the floor for a punk band, but with Smash’s album cover as a backdrop hosted three stories above the band, The Offspring flew through the entire tracklisting, narration, and all. Almost all of the seats were full, but the crowd seemed stagnant and stationary until “Bad Habit” hit every grandma’s worst nightmare. The crowd erupted with the ever so explicit chorus, and a barrage of middle fingers hit the sky. It was a major highpoint hearing the entire amphitheater echoing road rage inspired lyrics, but after that the crowd had some downtime before back to back radio hits “Self Esteem” and “Come Out and Play” cued up. … Once the album’s title track came to a close Dexter dropped the album cover banner so the band could encore with a few more hits free of tracklisting boundaries.
The Offspring quickly ran back out on stage and raised morale by playing Ixnay On the Hombre’s “All I want” and then transitioned to “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”. If Americana was more your style the band proceeded to play “Staring at the Sun” and “Why Don’t You Get a Job?”. They detoured to Splinter for “(Can’t Get My) Head Around you” but followed that up with “Pretty Fly For a White Guy”. The Offspring finished off their set with “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, but left fans wanting more. It seems playing all of Smash bumped acoustic track “Gone Away” and “Fix You” from the show’s set list.
Overall fans knew what they were getting when they bought a ticket to this show. If you’re a fan of Adolescents’ old school punk rock, Smash or what The Offspring used to be known for there’s plenty here to like. On the other hand, if you are a newer fan or only like radio hits they might have skiped your favorite track. The show really got this writer excited for the band’s upcoming Summer Nationals tour with Band Religion, Pennywise, The Vandals, Stiff Little Fingers, and plenty of other amazing punk idols.