This was a time when pop punk was exploding and invading MTV and the music charts. Green Day, The Offspring, and a shit load of others were enjoying mass amounts of success. I had a good friend who cooked with me at TGIFridays and he was from the California area and knew of all of these bands before their rise to stardom. He introduced me to The Offspring before the hit it big.
Their 2nd album was titled Session and was phenomenal. It’s still great. It’s a shame folks will write this band off without exploring their back catalog. But I digress.
The show was coming to an odd ‘venue’. It was held in a building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. It was shaped like an egg and had an all-dirt flooring. I believe this is where the held horse shows during the state fair. Very strange indeed.
The stage was quite large and there was some cork flooring placed in the pit. The rest was dirt. When you combine punk rock with dirt, you can imaging what the air turned into.
The Vandals were up first. I was vaguely familiar with the band from my close friend who introduced me to The Offspring. I was the type of guy that if I trusted someones musical taste, I would just buy it. Keep in mind, I had Internet or free streaming. I had to take a chance. Sometimes I was burnt, other times it was quite rewarding. The only album I could find was Fear of a Punk Planet and it still holds up in 2012. Songs like “Pizza Tran”, “Join Us for Pong”, and their rendition of the Grease classic “Summer Lovin’” are fantastic.
Their live show did not disappoint. These guys were all over the place and didn’t let up for a second. Once their show was over, they jumped into the crowd and start fraternizing with the fans before The Offspring took the stage.
The Offspring also put in a high-energy set. They played some old stuff, but most of the songs were off the album Smash. “Bad Habit”, “Gotta Get Away”, “Self Esteem”, and of course “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘em Separated)” were all played. “Come out and Play (Keep ‘em Separated)” started it all for this band and I would guess they’re sick and tired of playing it (yes, they’re still around putting out music).
I know folks poo poo this type of music and I can see why. But at the time, it was exciting and fresh and opened a lot of doors for myself and many other fans. Unfortunately, it also influenced bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and Fall Out Boy to take pop punk and put more emphasis on the ‘pop’ than the ‘punk’. More power to ‘em I suppose. I just hope the kids who love these bands do their homework like I did and go back to the roots and discover Sex Pistols, The Misfits, and Black Flag.