The Offspring & Bad Religion – 08/01/2014
Stone Pony Summerstage – Asbury Park, New Jersey
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
If the ‘Summer Nationals’ Tour is doing anything correctly, it’s giving us to chance to catch The Offspring and Bad Religion on the same bill. Unfortunately, the only date of this tour that I can make it to is the one at the Stone Pony Summerstage in Asbury Park down the shore of the Dirty Jerz. As mentioned in the past, The small, indoor actual Stone Pony is glorious, their ‘Summerstage’ is atrocious. If it wasn’t bad enough this venue is basically a parking lot with a stage and terrible sightlines, it’s gotten worse. How you ask? Well, they’ve added bleachers that block the view of half of your standing room only crowd and you can sit there for a fee of $25. That’s 25 extra dollars on a 46 dollar ticket to endure the struggle of trying to see the band you paid to see. Sodomy is always a fun time, I’ll pass on your bleachers.
Bad Religion was on stage delving into their set at 7:55 the latest. It was pre-8 for sure. This is my 2nd time seeing Bad Religion and the 2nd time I saw them open for a band that hadn’t been around as long as they had (Rise Against headlined last time) and it was the 2nd time I found myself feeling the need for more Bad Religion when the night was over. They had a good mix of both old school and new school hits. Stranger Than Fiction, Sorrow and You Are The Government were huge crowd pleasers alongside a couple of my own personal favorites 21st Century Digital Boy and Infected, the latter of which I made attempts to get on video.
As fun as this is the picture is becoming more and more clear that we’re going to have to move up somehow. Pretend our friends are up front or something. When Bad Religion was closing up shop at what couldn’t have been too far passed 8:30( which is an insane thing to think about), a couple of folks headed out of the pit and before we knew it, Pam and I found ourselves about 5-7 rows of people away from the front. Then the memories of the view of the pit last time I was here began to flush the the front of my head. I turned and said “You know we’re going to die, right?”
A shade after 9, the intro played and the band came out to play Smash in it’s entirety, as it’s celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. Smash can be used a few different ways here. It is indeed the record they’re playing. It’s also what’s happening to us as this set begins, endlessly. Tried to be tough and stick my camera into the air and just take the blows, but before the crowd went ‘all in’ on screaming the acapella portion Bad Habit, I was being wildly flung back and forth like a rag doll in the mouth of a hungry pitbull. I stumbled back and found myself smack dab in the middle of this slam dance pit-circle thing and had to dodge some 200+ pound dude coming straight at me Lawrence Taylor style. Held my camera in both my hands for dear life and just took the hits for the most of the record, literally and musically. Got to have that “let loose and enjoy the show moment” (was forced to by savages) jumping around like a nutball, but somehow before the record was over, I had made it arms length from the stage and avoiding any more moshing. The played Smash in order with the exception of skipping Self Esteem and saving it for the album finale. They took a short break where a juggler performed. Seriously.
Now, back in wannabe journalist mode I was able to capture most of the 2nd half of the set. All I Want kicked things off followed by You’re Gonna Go Far Kid. Besides some pain, this is the most fun I’ve had at a show in some time.
Offspring really bringing the good times even if it’s to such a swampy shitty place to be. Swampy or not, Noodles is killing it just like it’s the old days, and Dex is somehow appearing to look like a ghost in every single picture I have. Some light drizzle started to fall, which didn’t bother me as much as all the beer that was dumped on us.
If I ever write a novel about going to concerts I’ll title it “A Cold Beer Drips Down My Leg”.
Staring at the Sun and Why Don’t You Get A Job, probably not in that order were thrown into our greatest hits portion of the evening. Can’t Get My Head Around You, Americana, and Pretty Fly For A White Guy preceded The Kids Aren’t Alright and before you knew it- just like that the show was over before 10:30.
The band played tons of songs, I don’t feel cheated or anything but I just wonder if they realize it’s a Friday night. It’s probably the Stone Pony’s idea, as they had a late show happening inside after we headed out.
What a great night, fun times. Feels like I got gang raped in a prison yard but it was all in the sake of punk rock and nostalgia, and who doesn’t appreciate that in their lives from time and time again. For those interested in listening to me trash this venue some more, head over to JayPorks.Com to hear my weekly podcast.. or just check it out below.. I’m far from finished venting about this venue.