21st Century Appearances: 2011 Main Stage, 2004 Main Stage, 2002 Main Stage
The Defining Reading Moment: Asking the Reading audience if they liked popcorn, before unleashing their popcorn/confetti cannons during set closer “Self Esteem” in 2004.
The Offspring are regulars at Reading festival playing 3 times in the 21st century, their radio friendly sound with just a bit of edge makes them a very Reading band. 2002 saw them subbing to The Prodigy (while Guns n’ Roses decided in advance to headline only the Leeds show) in support of Conspiracy of One however, it doesn’t matter which album the band supported by this point, the crowd know they’re going to get all the classic singles, ‘Pretty Fly’, ‘All I Want’, ‘Self Esteem’ and ‘Come Out & Play’. The thing with The Offspring is, if it ain’t broke, they won’t fix it, and they give the crowd what they want most.
It was more of the same in 2004 as the band played prior to the release of Conspiracy’s follow up Splinter, always closing the show with jump along, chant along monster anthem ‘Self Esteem’. This time The Offspring subbed to The Darkness amid questions of who should really be playing above whom. The Darkness were flavour of the month but The Offspring had the hits and the back catalogue to back themselves up. The So Cal punks lost out on the bill but played a stronger second spot that day, never putting a foot wrong. Dumping popcorn on the crowd only sweetened the experience.
The bands most recent outing in 2011 saw the same old classics, peppered with new songs like ‘Can’t Get My Head Around You’ and ‘You’re Gonna Go Far Kid’ but the general formula remains the same. Appreciation for The Offspring might be waning as a tired crowd and a tired band showed in 2011, but they are still a draw, and can still pack a punch when they line everything up as they did at the start of the century. Adam McCartney