LOS ANGELES -- Offspring singer Dexter Holland is 15 years older than most
of his fans, but he knows what they like.
That became particularly clear here Friday night, midway through the Orange County rock
band's headlining set at Universal Amphitheatre. That was when the 34-year-old Holland --
dressed in a black T-shirt and dark blue jeans -- took a baseball bat to blow-up dolls
standing for members of the teen-dream pop group the Backstreet Boys, and the crowd
reacted with cheers and laughter.
Just before, the Offspring took a brief break while the dolls were being set up in a line
onstage, facing the sold-out crowd. Then came an announcement over the loudspeakers:
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Backstreet Boys."
The chorus of the Boys' song "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" blared over the speakers,
before being cut off, repeated and then cut off again. From the left side of the stage,
Holland emerged with a red plastic baseball bat in his hand.
"I f---ing hate the Backstreet Boys," he proclaimed, before proceeding to whack down each
of the dolls.
The crowd's response -- which intensified through the next Offspring song, "It's Cool to
Hate" -- was as though nothing could have been more profound. And it likely was
profound for the bulk of Offspring's fans, considering that most of them probably spend
lunch time in the cafeteria throwing Cheetos at the kids who listen to the Backstreet Boys.
The Southern California-bred Offspring may be enjoying the massive success of their latest
album, Americana, but Holland's Backstreet Boy "massacre" was a clear sign that
his punk-rock attitude is still in good form.
Like their larger-than-life sound, the Offspring's current production -- with elaborate lights
and changing backdrops -- conjures arena rock. Yet the foursome still manages to maintain
the intimacy and intensity of punk rock, even with a crowd of more than 6,000
It helps that almost all of the Offspring's songs have a rousing, anthem-like quality and an
explicit, sing-along accessibility. On Friday, that was clear -- from
Habit"(RealAudio excerpt), off 1994's Smash album, to their latest hit
single, "Why Don't You Get A
Job?" (RealAudio excerpt).
Those qualities appeared to inflame their fans. "I wanted to get into the pit and get tossed
around," 15-year-old Brandon Helland said. "But the security guard wouldn't let us
Onstage, the Offspring show every sign of a band that's been together 12 years. Never
mind that none of them knew how to play their instruments when they started.
Friday's concert was the first of two performances at the Amphitheater with opening acts D
Generation and the Living End. Throughout their headlining set, the Offspring showcased
a tight, razor-sharp sound with adrenaline-pumping rhythms and attack-dog guitar playing.
The band -- guitarist Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman, bassist Greg K. (Kriesel) and drummer
Ron Welty -- was accompanied by two touring musicians for several songs, including a
drummer wearing a black mask and a multi-instrumentalist who switched from keyboards
Though the show never hit a slump, highlights came in the obvious places: renditions of
the Offspring's megahits "Come Out and Play"
(RealAudio excerpt) and "Self Esteem" off 1994's Smash album, and
href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get- music/Offspring,_The/Pretty_Fly,_For_A_White_Guy.ram">"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
music/Offspring,_The/Pretty_Fly,_For_A_White_Guy.ram">"Pretty Fly (For a White
Guy)"(RealAudio excerpt) from Americana.
The latter tune featured an appearance by the kid who plays "the white guy" in the song's
accompanying video. Wearing his red hat and baggy pants to make him recognizable (even
to those at the back of the venue), the kid strutted about the stage in his signature bogus
Another amusing moment came during a mid-show "intermission" break -- an idea the
Offspring first debuted on their last tour, while promoting their previous album, Ixnay
on the Hombre.
During Friday's intermission, the bandmembers took their seats in chairs brought out by
stagehands. Meanwhile, bubbles blasted out of bubble-making machines and a variety of
characters -- including a fat guy wearing the bare minimum -- provided a few minutes of
"The intermission was dope," 15-year-old Nathan Rendon said after the show. "I wanna
come back tomorrow."
"I like that you get surprised," answered 9-year-old Joe Wilson, when he was asked about
the best part of seeing the Offspring play live. Apparently, he had plenty to compare it to.
"It's not your typical rock concert," said Wilson, who attended the show with his brother
For his part, Holland seemed satisfied with his band's performance. "I've got
the biggest smile on my face, and I'm not even drunk or nothin'," he said
during the set.