Twenty Four Years and Still Going Strong

Thirty minutes to go, Incubus have finished and the crowd is thinning out. I’m starting to get extremely worried that the busiest band of the day may well have been Bullet for my Valentine. My fears are, thankfully, eroded as more and more people turn up to fill the stage.

At their 21:00 set time Offspring walk out on stage. Dexter has short blonde hair now and Noodles has gone for hair longer than the average Old English Sheepdog. Without further ado they launch in to “Bad Habit” followed by Dexter declaring “I Love This Place” and the opening “Ya ya ya ya ya” of “All I Want” and the declaration that Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi is apparently backstage and Noodles has just met him.

The weather is freezing cold tonight • and only those jumping around have enough blood flow to keep their limbs from simply falling off. This could explain why the crowd is smaller than either the Reading/Leeds 2002 or 2004 crowds • but it’s more than have turned up for the other bands today.

Tonight is a chance for the Offspring to try a few of their new songs on the crowd • with several new songs played throughout the night • their songs not announced. None of these receive a particularly warm response from the crowd who would rather be bouncing around to classics • but a couple of them have the potential to bring the band back to their roots if they’re produced correctly on CD.

The crowd is packed with fans towards the front. After Noodles declares “Woooooo!” loudly in to a microphone and calls the crowd punk a huge cheer roars through the site just before “Gone Away” starts. As classic material continues to play out every song is a sing-along for the crowd. The Offspring manage to pack over twenty songs in to their ninety minute set with only “Hit That” and “Can’t Get My Head Around You” from Splinter making a surface.

After twenty-four years and more albums than you can shake a really big stick at, The Offspring still manage to maintain a sense of true appreciation for the crowd. There is no sense of contempt, no sense of boredom and monotony • but rather true happiness for still being there and thanks from the band.

It’s easy to forget just how long The Offspring have been along and when “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” starts • with everyone singing along • it suddenly strikes you that this is a single released a decade ago, that somehow still feels like it came out last week. In keeping with the bands humour the song finishes with Noodles apologising for “his crappy guitar playing” during the song.

With “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, Dexter says “Thank you very much, we’ll see you in a bit” and the band return to say they feel they have a particular attractive audience tonight (Noodles adding that he has “got a huge boner”) followed by an encore consisting of “Can’t Get My Head Around You”, “What Happened To You” and the classic set-ender “Self Esteem”. The set is over and the crowd start to file back to the campsite for an hour’s walk in the cold.

A great set by The Offspring • with a mix of music from Smash to Splinter and beyond. The only bone, if any, that I’d pick with it is the amount of new songs and the length of the set compared to the other headliners. Let’s hear that new album next.