Reminiscence is a beautiful thing. It’s a wave that’s been ridden by artists, punters and promoters alike as nostalgia tours have proved a popular theme over the last two or so years in Australia. The Offspring is another name to be added to the list of such tours, after being announced as the headliners of the inaugural Good Things Festival. But it was the one-off sideshow at Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre that many fans old and new were excited for, with the show selling out in a matter of days.
Sam Kolesnik had a 29th birthday to remember as his band Horror My Friend opened the night for The Offspring. And with his two bandmates Josh Battersby and Tom Gordon still on a high after performing back-to-back sold out shows with their other band, West Thebarton, they were eager to please.
“We’re from Adelaide, South Australia, Australia”, announced the band, and boy did they do the home crowd proud. Besides a couple of technical glitches, it was a stand-out performance by the trio. For a band used to smaller stages, they were able to warm up the sold out crowd with their raucous punk theatrics.
When they announced it was drummer Sam’s birthday, a haphazard rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ rang out through the theatre – but the crowd finished strong. Another announcement that it was Josh’s birthday in a couple of weeks saw another version of the birthday song, but this time with much less gusto.
While playing to an audience of a different demographic than what they’re used to, Horror My Friend smashed through their set and if the amount of heads banging along to Pavement at the end was anything to go by, they had definitely won over some fans.
It was a long break between bands, and you could feel the anticipation building as the punters prepared to see iconic US rock band The Offspring. Fashionably late – if only by a couple of minutes – the five-piece launched into Nitro as cheers went up. By the end of the second song, Bad Habit, one guy had crowdsurfed at least four times.
As they went through Gotta Get Away, Genocide, and Something to Believe In, it became obvious they were playing their hit album Smash in full first. When the first notes of Come Out and Play were strummed the energy picked up a notch, with the ‘hey-ey’ echoing throughout the theatre every time it came up in the song.
The light show was a real treat – a yellow wash, combinations of blue and pink and yellow and red, and LED strips and strobes all added to the upbeat energy of the performance.
It wasn’t until about the tenth song when the band stopped playing to chat to audience, which many of the middle-agers appreciated as a chance to catch their breath. Unfortunately from where I was standing it was actually hard to understand what they were saying, but much of what was said elicited cheers and applause from fans.
While performing I caught myself multiple times transfixed on how fast the drummer’s hands were moving – Pete Parada is an absolute machine.
The set rounded out with title track Smash and crowd favourite Self Esteem, with many left wondering why Killboy Powerhead had been left out (even though it was written on the set list), but they were keen to see what greatest hits The Offspring would come back with after a short intermission.
You’re Gonna Go Far Kid was belted out as shirts and bodies were thrown in the air. There were the most crowdsurfers I’d seen all night and everyone was loving it. The moshpit came alive as they ripped through All I Want.
The band introduced something they “only started doing this summer”, announcing they would play a cover of a song by “a great band from a great part of the world”, before getting stuck into an incredible rendition of ACDC’s Whole Lotta Rosie – especially THAT guitar solo.
Why Don’t You Get a Job? absolutely went off, then the most punk thing that’s happened in Thebby Theatre in a long time happened – the band blew up the PA system halfway through (Can’t Get My) Head Around You.
There wasn’t much the band could do so they got the professionals out to sort out the issue within about ten minutes before they came back on stage.
“So apparently these guys rocked so hard they blew up the sound system,” vocalist Dexter Holland declared. “I guess that’s why they call it Rockin’ Radelaide!”
With a busted sound system, they finished up with The Kids Aren’t Alright, disappointing many by not playing Pretty Fly but it was understandable why it didn’t go ahead.
Walking out of the theatre, one random guy exclaimed to another, “Dude, you look like you’ve been through a pool!” It sure had been a hot one, both temperature-wise and performance-wise, and going by the grins on faces it seemed fans of all ages were stoked with the spectacle they had just seen.