Paul Hebert

The Offspring @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre 06/05/09

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Orange County punk rock band The Offspring, on tour to support their most recent Columbia release “Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace,” returned home Friday, performing in front of a near full house at Verizon Amphitheater.

As the lights in Irvine faded to black, signaling the band’s arrival, the crowd swelled with anticipation.

The moment the lights blasted, the amps cranked to max and the opening notes to “Stuff is Messed Up” the entire venue erupted, dancing and singing along. The group was back.

The Offspring started with a bang, blasting through the first half of the show with hits “Bad Habit,” “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid,” and “Walla Wall.”

As the closing notes of “Staring at the Sun” rang through the Irvine Hills, the lights went black, only to return to full a few moments later with a piano located at center stage. Lead Vocalist Dexter Holland proceeded to perform “Gone Away” solo on the piano, informing the crowd that as a child he was teased for knowing how to play the ivory keys.

The band joined Holland on stage for a pleasing version of “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” with Holland sporting an acoustic guitar.

After the brief slowdown, the band returned to full-throttle for “Gotta Get Away,” “Half-Truism” and “Get a Job.”

No true The Offspring show would be complete without the intermission, and tonight was no exception. The band left for a few moments as the speakers blared the intermission track. Stage-hands took to entertaining the crowd by juggling, riding unicycles and engaging the crowd in a dance.

The band returned with higher levels of enthusiasm, racing through some of their more popular tracks, “Americana,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright.”

Holland kept the chitter-chatter with the crowd at a minimum, only stopping briefly to thank the locals for their support throughout the years. Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman also thanked the local fans for their continued support stating “Orange County has been the breast that has fed us. It has made us the people we are.”

As the lights dimmed signaling the end of the regular set, the crowd was not ready to end the party. Holland and crew returned to the stage and belted out “Hammerhead,” “Want You Bad” and had the crowd help with the opening verse of their closing number “Self Esteem.”

Through the years, The Offspring has continued to be a top-ranked band.

Hopefully it won’t be long before the boys return home again.

Alkaline Trio
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The Offspring
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