In the country to headline the inaugural Good Things Festival on the country’s east coast, The Offspring thankfully did manage to make it to Adelaide for this sideshow at the iconic Thebarton Theatre, proving that this town is a worthy part of any major rock tour, as it sold out in record time.
The last time the band was in Adelaide was almost five years to the day when they played at the Soundwave music festival, and coincidentally tonight’s gig was the night after Bon Jovi played Adelaide, which was their first gig in the state after five years almost to the day as well. Although the two acts have very little in common, catching the two gigs one night after another did give me some perspective which I’ll get to later.
Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen personal emergencies, I missed the opening set from local band Horror My Friend and I arrived right on time to see the headliners start their set.
It was a warm night in Adelaide, it was even warmer inside the theatre, and it was easy to tell from the electric atmosphere in the room that it was going to heat up even more as The Offspring hit the stage.
Twenty-four years after the release of their breakthrough album Smash, the band kicked off the gig with the pre-recorded intro to this album and continued on until they had played the album in its entirety. Every song played from this era was received with huge amounts of enthusiasm, the majority of the crowd singing along practically the whole time. Highlights from the Smash album included Bad Habit, Come Out and Play and the huge 90s hit Self Esteem, which had the room singing along at full voice, not just to the chorus, but to the entire song. After the thirteen full-throttle songs from Smash were played, the band announced that they would take a short break and be back with a set of hits that weren’t on the Smash album.
So far the set had sounded fantastic, with Dexter Holland’s vocals sounding just as powerful just as they did on the album years earlier. Unlike at the gig I had seen the previous night, there was no evidence that the band had lost any of their passion or talent over the passing of so many years. Not only did Dexter sound just as he did in the 90s, guitarist Noodles was full of energy as co-frontman, blasting through the power chords like a young punk in his hey-day & the rest of the band ensured there were no weak links in the operation by commanding their fair share of attention from their respective areas of the stage.
At the start of the post-Smash break, a lot of sweaty punters filed out to the bar to rehydrate but it wasn’t long before everybody rushed back in as the band returned to the stage after no time at all.
The second half of the set was made up of hits from later in the band’s career including All I Want and Why Don’t You Get a Job? which went down just as well as the Smash album tracks. A cover of AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie was thrown in, as an Aussie music tribute, but this seemed to be the least popular song of the set as the crowd were lapping up the Offspring hits and wanted to hear more of those. As the set was coming to a close, the band launched into (Can’t get my) Head Around You, which had the whole room jumping. Unfortunately, mid-way through the song, there was a deafening squeal and everything suddenly went quiet. After a few minutes of silence from the stage, Dexter announced that they’d blown up the P.A. and eventually after the damage was accessed by the crew for a few minutes, Dexter threw his guitar back on and the band finished off the rest of the song with what was left of the P.A. After another break for a few minutes while work was done to access the situation, Noodles was left to say that the set was ‘pretty much over anyway’ and the band launched into their final song The Kids Aren’t Alright, (presumably without the band’s stage fold-back P.A functioning) before the house lights came on and everyone filed out of the tightly-packed venue, gasping for some fresh air outside the hot and sweaty theatre doors.
Although the gig may have been cut short by a song or two, the punters in attendance left the venue looking very satisfied and even if this wasn’t the biggest rock gig in Adelaide for the week (thanks to Bon Jovi), it would have to have been the loudest, both in terms of the sound coming from the stage and the sound coming back from the crowd in response.
Everyone at this sold-out gig made this night a special occasion which I hope will encourage The Offspring to return to Adelaide every single time they visit the country, even if they blow up the P.A every time.
Review Contributed by Kym Robey
Gallery by Peter Pap