311 / The Offspring @ Philadelphia 7/13/2010

On a hot Tuesday evening in Center City, the Unity Tour arrived at Penn’s Landing Festival Pier. Led by 311, with support from The Offspring and Pepper, the tour’s stop in Philadelphia found the bands playing in front of an 8000-capacity general admission crowd, starkly contrasting the enormous nearly amphitheaters (such as nearby PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey) that made up much of the tour.

The Offspring

The Offspring

Performing as a five-piece, The Offspring began with “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” from the band’s latest album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. Without hesitation, though, the group kicked back into 1994 with “Bad Habit” and the crowd sang along to the song’s signature climax: “You stupid, dumb shit, god damned motherfucker!” “You Will Find a Way”, a mid-tempo, fairly bland cut from the band’s next album was uninteresting, but the crowd certainly enjoyed the one-two punch of radio hits “Come Out and Play” and “All I Want”.

The Offspring

The Offspring

Dexter Holland performed “Gone Away” alone on a piano, and, coupled with the acoustic “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?”, slowed The Offspring’s set down to a crawl. The band clearly stutters when they slow down; The Offspring excel when they are fast, witty, and overly sarcastic. A questionable cover of “The Guns of Brixton” and an absolutely unnecessary performance of “Pretty Fly” contributed to the general blandness of the middle of The Offspring’s set, but the finale of “The Kids Aren’t Alright” into “Self-Esteem” reminded the crowd that The Offspring were once a potent rock act.

The Offspring

The Offspring

Playing for just under an hour, The Offspring were somewhat disappointing — Holland seemed to be going through the motions, and even the normally exciting Noodles was barely noticeable on stage.  The band had been playing seventeen songs through most of the tour, but performed just sixteen in Philadelphia, dropping the one “rare” cut that normally fell early in the set (Ignition‘s “Kick Him When He’s Down” was on much of the tour). Still, the band shined when they tore through favorites like “Staring at the Sun” or “Gotta Get Away”, and it’s hard to dismiss a band with so many quality songs.

You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid
Bad Habit
You Will Find A Way
Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)
All I Want
Hammerhead
Gone Away
Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?
Gotta Get Away
The Guns of Brixton (The Clash cover)
Why Don’t You Get a Job?
Staring at the Sun
Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)
(Can’t Get My) Head Around You
The Kids Aren’t Alright
Self-Esteem

311

311

311 clearly drew most of the crowd, and the entire pier erupted when the band opened with their breakout single “Down”, the song that launched the band into mainstream recognition in 1996. Nick Hexum and SA Martinez traded vocals through most of the twenty-four song setlist, moving from heavy offerings like “Jackpot” or “Sick Tight” to mellow, more melodic cuts like the reggae-driven “Amber”. The band seemed to genuinely enjoy every moment of the performance; thanking the fans who have supported the band for a long time, “India Ink” was dedicated to those who saw the band perform with The Roots in Philadelphia more than five years ago.

311

311

The Nebraska-born quintet sounded great all evening, but one of the night’s highlights came in “I’ll Be Here a While”. Last performed in 2007, the song was dedicated to Pepper’s Bret Bollinger who convinced the band to perform it this evening. Older Singles “Beautiful Disaster” and “Feels So Good” wrapped up 311′s main performance with a mid-1990s vibe; “Who’s Got Herb?” brought the band back on stage for a chance to close out the evening with a giant performance of Evolver‘s “Creatures”.

Down
Offbeat Bare Ass
Jackpot
All Mixed Up
Wake Your Mind Up
Taiyed
You Wouldn’t Believe
India Ink
Eons
Applied Science
I Like the Way
Full Ride
Come Original
Beyond the Gray Sky
Sick Tight
I’ll Be Here a While
Hydroponic
Livin’ n Rockin’
Amber
Beautiful Disaster
Feels So Good
Who’s Got Herb
Creatures (For a While)

311

311

In addition to the band’s lengthy setlist that touched base on a large part of 311′s multi-decade career, the band also tossed in some surprises like P-Nut Willis’s lengthy bass solo and Chad Sexton’s massive drum solo that transformed into a multi-person percussion jam. It’s hard not to recommend 311′s live show: the band effortlessly flows through a variety of genres across the rock and reggae spectrum, shaking up their setlists on a night-by-night basis.

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