The Offspring at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA

The Offspring ignited the Honda Center with an explosive performance celebrating 30 years of Smash and the venue’s legacy, supported by local favorite Save Ferris.

The Honda Center was transformed into a haven for punk rock enthusiasts as local favorite sons The Offspring took the stage to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their seminal album Smash. The night was even more special as it coincided with the 30th anniversary of the venue itself, formerly known as the Pond of Anaheim. This dual celebration of Orange County pride brought an air of nostalgia and excitement, with both the band from next door (Garden Grove) and the audience reflecting on three decades of influential music and memories. The venue was full of anniversary-themed activations, with displays inside and out celebrating the band and the facility. Outside, there were photo opportunities with band-themed displays. Inside the venue, there were video displays playing anniversary-themed videos, photo retrospectives, and memorabilia displays of the band from their early days. Throughout the concourse, there were constant reminders celebrating the Honda Center, Anaheim Ducks, and The Offspring.

The Offspring have deep ties to the area and to the sport played in every hockey arena in the northern hemisphere. To wit, what other song gets played more often during a hockey fight than the band’s hit “Come Out and Play”? The synergy with the community, the arena, and the sport played within was evident everywhere on this evening.

The evening kicked off with a performance by Save Ferris, the Orange County-based ska band known for their infectious energy and vibrant stage presence. Led by the charismatic Monique Powell, Save Ferris had the crowd skanking and singing along to hits like “Come On Eileen” and “The World Is New.” Powell’s powerful vocals and the band’s tight musicianship entertained the anticipatory crowd. Their blend of ska and punk provided an energy appetizer to the main course, warming up the audience and reminding everyone of the vibrant local music scene.

As the lights dimmed and the stage was set for The Offspring, anticipation ran high. The Honda Center erupted in cheers as Dexter Holland, Noodles, and Todd Morse took their places. After the spoken word intro to Smash, “Time To Relax,” the band launched straight into “Nitro (Youth Energy).” The energy in the arena exploded. Two giant mosh pits stirred as if a jolt of electricity had hit them. Beer flew, bodies slammed and danced around the moving circles, remaining energized for the entire two-hour affair. It was clear from the outset that The Offspring was here to deliver a show that honored their legacy and the enduring appeal of Smash.

The setlist was a perfect mix of tracks from Smash and other fan favorites spanning their extensive career. “Come Out and Play,” “Self Esteem,” and “Gotta Get Away” were met with enthusiastic sing-alongs, transporting the audience back to the mid-’90s when these anthems first dominated the airwaves. The band’s performance was tight and energetic, with Holland’s distinctive voice sounding as powerful as ever. Noodles’ guitar work was equally impressive, delivering those iconic riffs with precision and flair.

Between songs, Holland took moments to reflect on the band’s journey and the significance of performing at The Honda Center, a venue that has hosted countless memorable concerts since its opening in 1993. The camaraderie among the band members was evident, and their interactions with the crowd felt genuine and heartfelt. There was a sense of shared history and mutual appreciation that permeated the night.

After performing all the songs from Smash,  The Offspring broke for a brief intermission. Following their return, they treated fans to other classics such as “All I Want,” “Why Don’t You Get a Job?,” and “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy).” Each song was met with raucous applause and frenetic energy from the crowd, many of whom had grown up with the band’s music. The Honda Center itself seemed to pulse with the collective energy of thousands of fans, all there to celebrate a milestone moment. In a reflective moment, Dexter appeared on stage alone with a white grand piano performing the band’s hit “Gone Away,” dedicating the song to lost friends and loved ones.

As the concert drew to a close with an explosive rendition of “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” it was clear that The Offspring had delivered a performance that was both a celebration of their past and a testament to their enduring appeal. The band’s ability to connect with their audience and deliver a high-octane show, even three decades into their career, is a testament to their status as punk rock legends.

For fans old and new, this concert at The Honda Center was more than just a trip down memory lane. The show was a non-stop reminder of the catalog of massive anthems the band has in their catalog, the power of music to unite and energize, and a fitting tribute to a band and a venue that have both left an indelible mark on the music and sports world.

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About George Ortiz 67 Articles
George is Southern California and Big Sky, Montana-based photographer. He grew up in Los Angeles and began shooting professionally in the mid 80s. His words and photos have appeared in local & national publications.