The Offspring - live in New York City (Cover Artwork)

The Offspring

live in New York City (2004)

live show

3 and 1/2 years ago the Offspring sold out two nights at Roseland hear in New York (slightly smaller than Hammerstein, where the show I'm reviewing took place). Now, here on June 1, 2004, I think this show MIGHT have sold out. Not that it's not an accomplishment to sell out Hammerstein Ballroom but it gives you an idea of how the band's popularity has waned over the years.

Walking into the venue I noticed that I was in the median age range for once (20). It was nice because it gave me the feel that everyone in here was a big fan and not just because they heard the latest single on the radio (that being said, the "latest single" wasn't being played too much on the radio anyways). After The Start (kinda, sorta) revved up the crowd with their sloppy, uneven power/punk/pop, Auf Der Maur took the stage to many boos in the audience. Their loss, the record is a sonic experience and a breath of fresh air in modern rock radio without sounding like they tried to hard to sound "retro." Melissa did her best to deal with the boo's and played her heart out but the crowd was still restless.

After the usual push-and-shove match to get up front (no one had really moved much before this), the lights went down and the crowd (of course) roared. The band took the stage rather modestly to the pounding of "Neocon" (first track of Splinter). Quickly going into "The Noose" the crowd felt the action that we all were there for, fast, catchy, speedy pop-punk. Dexter didn't say much ("how you guys doin", "I'm having a great time") but perhaps that's a good thing, since it allowed them to play more songs. All the usual hits were there, plus selections from the new album, Splinter (my only dissapointment that they switched "Spare Me The Details" which I had seen them play two days earlier in Boston and did "The Worst Hangover" ever, which gives me the worst headache ever). Kids moshed, crowd-surfed, us in the front sang and jumped to every word. Offspring extra Higgins was in high spirits, jumping all around the stage and doing what he does best, those other vocal parts that Dexter doesn't do. Good show, right?

Well, yes it was good, but the problem was the extreme mediocrity of it all. At previous shows, the Offspring would go all out, taking time to make a massive stage set-up (the Conspiracy of One tour), Dexter taking a bat to the Backstreet Boys and spraying the crowd with a giant hose (Americana tour) or inviting different audience members to sing the "Keep em Seperated" part of "Come Out And Play" (Ixnay On The Hombre). In fact, I couldn't get by the fact that Dexter seemed to be faking his excitement and just looked like he wanted to get the hell out of there (this was the last night of the tour). When he said "Yeah, I'm having a great time" it sounded so sarcastic it was painful. Another problem was the fact (and maybe this isn't the Offspring's fault, but...) that the set was mainly just a greatest hits set plus new songs from the Splinter. In fact, the only non-singles played off back albums were Have You Ever, Staring At The Sun and Americana. No deep cuts off Ixnay of Smash, hell even Conspiracy, and certainly no old jewels from Ignition or the Self-Titled. But alas, the band knows what the crowd pleasers are and they stick to them. I just wish they considered their bigger fans more (Iike myself) and switched it up a bit. It was also kind of a sad moment because, with the Offspring getting older and their latest record not really selling, this might very well be the last time us New Yorkers get to see the band play live again.

The Noose
All I Want
Come Out & Play
Want You Bad
Gone Away
Long Way Home
Staring At The Sun
Hit That
Bad Habit
Have You Ever
Worst Hangover Ever
The Kids Aren't Alright
Da Hui
Why Don't You Get A Job
Gotta Get Away
(Can't Get) My Head Around You
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)