The 2010 Unity Tour (a.k.a. The Red, White and Blow it Out Your Ass Concert, if you listen to 96.5 The Buzz) did a pretty good job of bringing together different kinds of people, as its name implies. Despite a slightly less-than-expected crowd, Pepper, The Offspring, and 311 delivered a show full of fan favorites for the die-hards that didn’t listen to the predictions of rain and severe weather. In fact, the night was cool, there was a slight breeze for all the sweet smells associated with a 311 show to waft on, and it turned out to be almost perfect for an outdoor concert. At this point in the summer, we all know that an outdoor concert could always be brutal, but Saturday night’s weather helped keep the crowd mellow and allowed the bands to put on a great show.
For those who don’t know, Pepper is a band originally from Hawaii, which has a pretty profound influence on their music. They opened with their trademark reggae-rock sound and though, at that time, only about half of the people who would eventually show up were there, they played hard, and did an amazing job of getting the people that were there pumped for the rest of the night.
By the time The Offspring took the stage, the amphitheater had filled up – more or less… Maybe it was just for this show – I don’t know – but apparently, Sandstone, or Capital Federal Park, or whatever they’re calling it now, wasn’t (or isn’t) opening the lawn. So, when I say ‘filled up,’ its just referring to the very front sections where seats have been removed for standing room and most of the seats behind that area. The Offspring’s lead singer, Dexter Holland, seemed a little uncertain as he took the stage and saw the relatively small turn out, but when he saw how excited the fans were, the uncertainty disappeared and the band settled in to play a set-list full of radio-hit singles and crowd-pleasers. The Offspring played songs from almost their entire discography, but focused mainly on classics, like, “Bad Habit,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Come Out and Play,” and “Get a Job.”
At one point, they even wheeled out a piano, so Holland could play a slowed-down, passionate, version of, “Gone Away,” in the middle of the set. It was my first time seeing The Offspring (which I find odd, considering the fact that Smash was the first CD I ever purchased and they’ve been around for so long), and I thoroughly enjoyed the show they put on, though in no way did it resemble the kind of Punk show I was expecting. I guess they’ve enjoyed mainstream popularity for too long to be supported by that scene.
It had been over ten years since I last saw 311 at this very same venue and back then I was very disappointed with the performance. I remember liking the band less after seeing them play live that night. Saturday’s performance was nothing like that; I had a great time and the band sounded fantastic. Maybe it was the fact that the crowd was so much smaller than the last time I saw them. Ten years ago, the entire amphitheater, including the lawn, was full to capacity and I wanted to leave halfway through their set. However, this time, as far as I was concerned, 311 could’ve played for another hour or two. Their set included almost every song a fan could’ve asked for, from “Down,” to ”Feels So Good,” to “Transistor,” as well as two P-Nut bass solos and a five or six minute rhythm session that involved all five members of the band. Then, as 311 came back on stage for their encore, fireworks began to burst in the air directly above the right corner of the stage, and thought the band did have to compete somewhat with the sky-display, I think it made for a special end to a really fun night.
In all, I give the show 4 “sick-ass P-nut Bass Solos” out of 5