I wish I would have made it to a show earlier in the tour, so that I could recommend that all you ladies go out and see The Offspring, but I’m hoping that just like me, many of you bought your tickets and headed out on your own. I had the pleasure of seeing the band, with Sum 41 as the opening act, at the Pompano Beach Amphiteatre, a small venue that holds perhaps 2000 spectators. And, since I braved the <miserable> thunderstorm, donned a poncho, and headed in early, I got 5th row seats in the center section. WHAT. A. VIEW!
By the time Sum 41 took the stage, the torrential downpour had stopped completely. The band thoroughly engaged the crowd of excited fans – bringing 4 of them onstage to watch the full show, tossing out shirts, picks, hats and other merchandise, and inviting vocalists and musicians to come up and play with them. By the time the band got into “In Too Deep” – fans were completely warmed up and ready for the main act, despite the blasts of lightning from behind the stage, that almost seemed more like planned pyrotechnics than severe weather.
As The Offspring took the stage, the rain started again, if only lightly. By this point, I was out from under my sweaty poncho and honestly barely noticed the rain. I should take a step back and offer some context. I’m 28. When I was 12/13, bands like Nirvana were just starting to explode on our scene in the Pennsylvania town where I grew up. By the time I was 14, I was rockin’ to The Offspring, NIN, Weezer – the best of the grunge era. I begged my parents to let me wear Jnko jeans and baggy shirts (absolutely not) and my father ended up taking away The Downward Spiral when he saw the parental advisory sticker and looked at the lyrics (oops). However, he never confescated Smash, and to date, I think it’s one of the few albums I can stick in the CD player and listen to, from start to finish, without ever skipping a track (not including, of course, greatest hits albums or compilations). Back then, I begged my parents to let me go see Green Day and Offspring (I never even bothered to ask about NIN) and again, a resounding “NO.”
So this summer, I’ve had the chance to recapture a bit of that rebellious youth. NIN came to West Palm Beach on their fnal tour, ever, and performed with Jane’s Addiction – a fantastic show. But I knew I was going to love this one even more – and I was right. From the second Dexter stepped out on stage with “Come Out And Play,” through the final encore – “Self Esteem” – and every song in between, the crowd was dancing, jumping, crowd surfing, and – most importantly – singing along. I liken it to the Weezer show I was sent to cover when I worked for Trib Media, the amazing experience of watching parents and kids, teenagers and 40 year olds, all crammed in together, singing the same songs and loving every moment of it. So few bands have the legs to carry them through multigenerational fame, and these guys found the secret.
I also – for the first time – realized just how many hits these guys had. From “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” and “Get A Job” to “Kristy Are You Doing Okay? ” – these guys have talent – and the ability to create a broad spread of music that doesn’t sound like the same song remixed over and over. While their greatest tunes (IMO) came off the Smash album, I really do enjoy their entire collection – and it was a thrill to see them performing live. They were true to their songs, the energy from both the band and the fans was intense, and it was a great flashback to my teenage years. While this tour is, sadly, over, I highly recommend checking out their next tour. Or, for a more immediate fix, check out some of the songs/videos here, and take your own trip down memory lane!
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