The Offspring kicked off their tour in San Diego at Cal Coast Amphitheatre on the SDSU campus. I love seeing the opening night of a tour, especially after a pandemic; everyone is just stoked to be back onstage doing their thing again. That said, The Offspring did play Blue Ridge Rock Festival in 2021, but this is their first ‘real’ tour back.
There was just one opening band on that night — Radkey.
Noodles, guitarist for The Offspring, said he heard of them about six or seven years ago and, when they were an option to open for them, he was all over it. Radkey is a trio of brothers from Missouri: Dee Radke (lead vocals, guitars), Isaiah Radke (bass, backing vocals) and Solomon Radke (drums). I had never heard of them before this night, but I now love them. They have amazing chemistry, energy, charisma and humor. Although I’m not sure of the setlist, because they are new to me (yes, I tried looking it up on Setlist FM), I do remember the song “Rock and Roll Homeschool”. Isaiah introduced the song and said that they were all homeschooled; as a parent that homeschooled, I appreciate the bond and time they had together to create their band.
I have seen The Offspring many, many times — I absolutely love them and their shows are always fun. They have so many hit singles that fans of all ages know the words to. And, San Diego was loud! The band opened up with “Staring at the Sun”, “Want You Bad” and “…Come Out and Play”. In between songs, you got a Noodles dad joke… “What do you call a waffle that’s been thrown on the beach? Sandy Eggo!”
The Offspring released a new album recently in April 2021 entitled, Let the Bad Times Roll — the is first studio album in nine years! We were the first audience to hear “Behind Your Walls” live! What is everyone’s favorite Offspring song to hear live? I believe it is “Bad Habit”. When they stopped the song right at our favorite part, I thought the guys next to me were going to lose their minds. Clearly, Offspring concert virgins… I had to tell them, “It’s okay guys, we’re all going to sing it together and LOUD!” Noodles said we “had voices of angels and mouths of sailors”! The song kicked back — “Drivers are rude…” It was so loud and so amazing! The singing and screaming of cuss words loudly about something that pisses us all off is such a high.
About midway through the set, the band rolled out a piano for a ballad version of “Gone Away”.
The flashlights came out and illuminated the entire amphitheater. Dexter sat down at the piano and said (I’m paraphrasing here): “This is a special night; this song is about life. All the lights are constellations and constellations are hope.” Hearing the entire crowd sing “Gone Away” after what we’ve been through the last two years was absolutely beautiful and a moment I will never forget. Then, The Offspring went straight into “Why Don’t You Get a Job?”.
I love the conversations between Dexter and Noodles in between songs, like when Noodles introduces him as Dr. Dexter Holland. Dexter replies, “You don’t need to call me doctor.” Fun fact: Dexter Holland has a PhD in molecular biology. The Offspring had a 16-song set and an encore with “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” and, of course, “Self Esteem” as the closer. Their tour is just beginning, so be sure to catch The Offspring this summer if they’re coming to a town near you!
Photography by Heather Vandemark