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Concert Reviews:
- May 22, 1999
- December 2, 1998

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The Offspring
A Concert Review

May 13, 1997

The Aragon Ballroom

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Left
When the Dude on the Right and I showed up for the show, the first thing I thought was "Man, am I getting too old for this?" The only people older than us seemed to be there with their kids. The second thing I noticed was "Boy are they dressed stupid." A 70's theme pervaded, but they were wearing stuff that wasn't even cool in the 70's. As the night went on the older and scarier crowd arrived. I think the Dude on the Right summed it up best "I'll bet their parents are proud." Lots of weird haircuts and piercings - I just don't get it. Maybe I am getting to old for this.

Enough soul searching and on to the reason we were here in the first place - Offspring. The show started with a modified version of the "time to relax" intro from "Smash." This version encouraged the crowd to "fuck shit up," get trashed, and puke. By the response this got I think the crowd was ready to live up to the challenge. They opened with "Bad Habit," a snappy little ditty about a pyromaniac. Dexter was sporting a bright green sport coat (a tribute to Tiger Woods maybe?), and Noodles was wearing a very stylish blue floppy hat and sun glasses. They proceeded to crank through a mix of songs from "Smash" and "Ixnay on the Hombre," with all the songs sounding great, and the band had the crowd pumped up from the get go. The show continuing, Dexter introduced "Cool to Hate" and he said they really hated the Spice Girls. Alright, fine enough, but he kept mentioning this several times later in the show. I'm not sure if they got turned down for dates or what, but I think there's a story there somewhere.

An "intermission" came about halfway through the set, and as the intermission song from "Ixnay" played the band sat on stage and had a drink while a bubble machine blew tiny bubbles over the mosh pit. The second half of the show proceeded with six more songs including "Smash," "All I Want," and ended with "Self Esteem." They even teased the crowd with a little bit of "Iron Man," bashed Guns n' Roses while playing the intro to "Sweat Child O' Mine," and Dexter took a dive into the pit late in the show.

Coming back to the stage after a lame cheer from the crowd (maybe they were tired from moshing, or past their bedtime - I'm not sure which), Offspring ended with an encore of "Gone Away," the power ballad from "Ixnay," followed by the ska "Don't Pick it Up," and ended with "Session" from "Ignition."

Sure, Offspring sold out their punk roots. From the over-dramatic intro, the big light show complete with smoke machine, to the cheesy intermission, Offspring are more of a stadium rock wannabe band than a punk band. You can't really blame them though, the money is a lot better, and real punk will never get radio exposure. For me, they are to punk what Bon Jovi is to heavy metal; a PG-13, overexposed, shadow of the real thing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, hell I still think Jovi's pretty cool. In a nutshell, Offspring rock and I give them TWO BIG THUMBS UP. If you like their music you'll love the show. I guess maybe I'm not so old after all.

AFI, the first opening act, was a more traditional four man California punk band. These guys came out with a lot of energy and really tried to get the crowd pumped up. They cranked through a half-hour set of loud, fast music to a small and not too receptive crowd. One guy was trying to crowd-surf, but I think he got lost. One second he was getting passed around, and the next all I saw was his shirt is getting thrown around - I hope he made it out OK.

L7 was next up. I was kinka looking forward to seeing them, as I am a big fan of chick bands, especially chick metal bands. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The only one who seemed to have any interest in being there was the bass player who was really playing to the crowd. They started with "Andre" and worked in a mix of old stuff and songs from their new album "Beauty Process." Don't get me wrong, they sounded good, the vocals were clear, and they ripped out some great guitar, but they just seemed bored.

'Till Next Time!
Hang Loose


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