Review: The Offspring takes another step toward the Rock Hall of Fame

The Offspring drew a large crowd to their concert at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre on Saturday (Aug. 5).

How massive is it? That’s exactly what Noodles (aka Kevin Wasserman) wanted to know, so he inquired about the attendance figure. And he was astounded by what he, ahem, heard back.

“It’s a world record here at Shoreline — 1,019,704 people here tonight,” exclaimed the Offspring guitarist to the crowd.

Not quite 1,019,704 to be exact. It was actually closer to 18,000 people. Nonetheless, the energy and enthusiasm in the crowd as The Offspring ran through an 80-minute set of hits and fan favorites made the crowd feel even larger.

“I can’t believe this,” vocalist Dexter Holland said of the audience’s reaction. “It’s volcanic.”

The massive turnout — which dwarfed the 10,000 fans that Jonas Brothers brought into the same venue on Friday night — underscores the Garden Grove punk band’s enduring (and, in fact, reaccelerating) popularity. It also demonstrates the allure of a good package bill, as The Offspring is joined on this tour by Canadian pop-punk purveyors Sum 41 and Simple Plan.

The Offspring opened its headlining set with a memorable rendition of “Come Out and Play” from their breakout album, 1994’s six-time platinum “Smash.” It was one of four songs from that album that the band performed live, and it certainly lived up to its title on the charts, doing more to rekindle public interest in punk rock than any other album besides Green Day’s “Dookie.”

The group sounded great as it ran through its strong songbook, touching on the 1997 release “Ixnay on the Hombre” for “All I Wan”; 2000’s “Conspiracy of One” for “Want You Bad”; and 2003’s “Splinter” for “Hit That” early in the show.

The Offspring also performed “Let the Bad Times Roll,” the title track from their most recent release — and first album in nearly a decade — 2021’s “Let the Bad Times Roll.” The song was a huge success, topping the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

Holland is a rock ‘n’ roll Renaissance man, having earned a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Southern California and flying solo around the world for ten days. Of course, what truly mattered on this night was his ability to command the stage and lead the group through a commanding set of music. On Saturday, he’d win in both categories, sounding ’90s-era strong as he belted out powerful song after powerful song.

Nonetheless, he had plenty of help from his backup singers — approximately 18,000 of them, in fact — as the fans chanted along to each and every number.

“Josh Groban doesn’t hold a candle,” Noodles said of the audience’s singing. “You have the voices of angels.”

Holland and Noodles, the two remaining longtime band members, were the show’s stars, as they always are. They did all the talking from the stage, with Holland serving as a sort of straight man to Noodles’ trademark blend of hilarity and hijinks.

Noodles, on the other hand, takes his guitar work very seriously, as evidenced by an electric instrumental medley of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Maiden,” Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” and, believe it or not, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s 1875 orchestral piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” from “Peer Gynt.” That was nicely followed by a full-length cover of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

The rhythm section of bassist Todd Morse and drummer Brandon Pertzborn, along with one unannounced sideman playing a variety of instruments, did an excellent job of providing a platform for Holland and Noodles to shine as the band progressed through “Gotta Get Away,” “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You,” and the glorious shout-along “Why Don’t You Get a Job?”

Two of the night’s best moments were completely unexpected.

The first came when the band’s original drummer — James Lilja, who is now a gynecologic oncologist practicing out of Fremont and San Jose — took over on the kit and propelled the band through “Beheaded,” a punk gem with a definite Dead Kennedys vibe, which can be found on the group’s self-titled indie debut. What a treat, especially for longtime fans of the band before “Smash.”

“Great surgeon, good drummer,” Holland joked about Lila.

Another memorable moment occurred when Holland sat at the grand piano — yes, a grand piano at a punk rock show! — and performed a tender solo version of “Gone Away.” The singer began the song by describing how he lost a family member during COVID, and then poured his heart and soul into this song of grief and loss.

After finishing the main set with “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the band returned for a well-deserved encore of “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” and “Self Esteem.” And the audience was right there with The Offspring the entire time.

“The energy we feel coming off you is incredible,” Noodles exclaimed. “Thank you very much for bringing that tonight.”

The Offspring setlist:

  1. “Come Out and Play”
  2. “All I Want”
  3. “Want You Bad”
  4. “Let the Bad Times Roll”
  5. “Staring at the Sun”
  6. “Beheaded”
  7. “Hit That”
  8. “Hammerhead”
  9. “Bad Habit”
  10. “Iron Man”/”The Trooper”/”Sweet Child o’ Mine”/”In the Hall of the Mountain King”
  11. “Blitzkrieg Bop”
  12. “Gotta Get Away”
  13. “Gone Away”
  14. “Why Don’t You Get a Job?”
  15. “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You”
  16. “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)”
  17. “The Kids Aren’t Alright”


  1. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”
  2. “Self Esteem”

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