Have You Ever…

The Offspring are a band that’s 25 years old now.  Most bands that have been around that long are just coasting on their past success, but the Offspring’s latest album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace is as good as anything they’ve done before.

Maybe that’s part of the reason why last Thursday’s Offspring concert at Orlando’s Hard Rock was so good.  They were able to promote the new album without dragging the show down.  The setlist was perfect. There wasn’t a single song I wanted to hear that wasn’t played, and there wasn’t a single song they played that didn’t fit right in with the show.

I’m beginning to recognize a few things that I’m drawn to musically, regardless of who’s playing.  One of the things that really catches my interest is a strong driving rhythm like The Offspring uses in most of their songs. Any time an Offspring song comes on the radio I feel a smile come over my face and my foot gets a little heavier on the gas pedal.  Crazy to think that I’d never seen them in concert until last week.

It was worth the week-night drive to Orlando and back. Watching them on stage, I was reminded of two other concerts that are tops in my list: The Ramones, and Dream Theater’s Scenes From a Memory tour.

Sum 41 opened for The Offspring, and while the music was ok, they had a habit of breaking the momentum to yammer on about trivial self-congratulatory crap.  I kept thinking to myself, “just STFU and play the music!”

The Offspring has much more reason to pat themselves on the back, but they didn’t fall into that trap.  They took the stage and didn’t let up until the lights went on.  They even kept the breaks interesting by playing “Intermission” and tossing beach balls out into the crowd. They almost approached the level of the Ramones in their ability to keep the show going.  That’s a huge compliment because *nobody* could keep things going like the Ramones.  One song just flowed into another and they never took their foot off the gas.

The other show I mentioned was Dream Theater’s Scenes From a Memory concert.  That’s my all-time favorite concert, where DT played the entire album (which is one continuous story) from beginning to end.  One of the things that made it so special was that everybody at the show knew the album intimately, and practically everyone in the crowd was singing along to every song.

This Offspring show was like that; Every person in the crowd was singing along, joining in with every “whoooaaooooo” and the audience participation and enthusiasm made it much more than just a typical concert.

If you like them at all, be sure to catch them on tour some day.

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