As the years pass, summertime always seems to fly by, and, before we get a chance to appreciate the warm weather, vacations, and freedom of summer, it is back to school, falling leaves, holidays, and, for those in the New York area, those dreaded northeast winters. That in mind, New Yorkers who love summer have always found a way to make the space in between Memorial Day and Labor Day as eventful as possible. For music lovers, Long Island, New York’s Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater is an annual haven for those who wish to spend the season of sun-taking in the ocean breeze off Zach’s Bay on a warm night, whilst experiencing their favorite artists live.
With that, one week ahead of Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, August 25, 2018, fans of the Punk Rock and Alternative nation turned out in the masses to party with two of the biggest bands of the 1990’s, 311 and The Offspring. Hailed as the Never-Ending Summer Tour, the hybrid road trip includes 311 and The Offspring along with famed Alternative Hip-Hop crew, Gym Class Heroes, as the warm-up for audiences across the country since the tour kicked off on July 25th in Mountain View, California.
Amidst the twilight of a gorgeous summer evening, the festivities of the Never-Ending Summer Tour got under way as, the first of three distinct musical flavors, Gym Class Heroes – Travie McCoy (vocals), Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo (guitar), Matt McGinley (drums), and touring musicians, Tyler Pursel (keyboards/rhythm guitar), Joseph Veazie (hypeman), and Ralfy Valencia (bass) – took the stage at the Jones Beach Theater. Hitmakers, fans of Pop and Hip Hop would be familiar with Gym Class Heroes’ biggest single, “Stereo Hearts,” featuring the vocals of Adam Levine, off the group’s 2011 album, The Papercut Chronicles II. Not to be forgotten, McCoy had a solo hit of his own in 2010, as “Billionaire” featured Bruno Mars on vocals and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.
Ready for action, Gym Class Heroes wasted no time getting to the most popular material, opening with “Stereo Hearts,” before the catchy “Ass Back Home” and “Cupid’s Chokehold.” Stepping into the ring, Gym Class Heroes brought “The Fight” showing the “Best Part of Revenge” as the crew kept things going with “Clothes Off!!” A crowd-pleaser, McCoy made everyone want to be a “Billionaire” before the set closed with “Kid Nothing and the Never-Ending Naked Nightmare.” As the sun set, the night was just getting started after Gym Class Heroes did a good job loosening up the enthusiastic crowd.
Growing in numbers, lively fans began to fill the theater, dead set on going nuts for the first of two co-headliners, The Offspring. Out of sublime Garden Grove, California, The Offspring feature the unmistakable vocals of Dexter Holland (he plays guitar too!), the Punk Rock turbulence of Noodles on guitar, alongside the sizable rhythm section powered by Bassist Greg K. and Drummer Pete Parada. For over 20 years, The Offspring have been hailed as a major force in music ever since the mainstream revival of Punk Rock in the mid-90s, coming in second to Green Day. Impeccably talented, The Offspring first detonated onto Rock radio, taking over the airwaves, following the release of the band’s third LP, 1994’s Smash. Garnering three hit singles, The Offspring were an instant success, selling over 11 million copies of Smash, and scoring two more chart-topping albums, 1997’s Ixnay on the Hombre and 1998’s Americana. Unbroken, The Offspring’s hits still rule Rock radio today and sound unendingly fresh.
As good as The Offspring sound on the albums, these masters of Punk Rock are even better on stage, renowned for delivering a loud, fast, and energetic live show. Once the house lights went down at Jones Beach, The Offspring jumped on stage, and, welcomed by deafening cheers, the band stormed the gates, opening with the emotionally charged dream of “Americana.” Not wanting to miss another moment, fans rushed in as The Offspring held nothing back, rapidly getting into the tradition of short and to the point Punk Rock, on the one minute fifty-four second classic “All I Want.” Mosh pits in full form, The Offspring broke out the unmistakable hit “Come Out and Play” before gifting a new song, “It Won’t Get Better,” from the band’s yet to be named next album. Traveling deeper into Americana, The Offspring graced the beach with the reflective “Staring at the Sun” and rocked hard on an out of the blue cover of AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie.”
If there is one thing The Offspring’s live show is known for, it is the band’s ability to engage a crowd. All set long, Noodles was amping up the fans, expressing The Offspring’s love for playing to a New York crowd, and, going back and forth with Dexter, telling jokes. Pushing the excitement to a high level, The Offspring thrilled the crowd on “Bad Habit,” stopping before the bridge of the song, pushing the crowd to full throttle for the one of the best verses in any song. A high point in the set, the self-rescue of “Gotta Get Away” led into a new version of an old favorite. A true to heart performance, for “Gone Away,” Dexter sat down at a piano, surrounded by candlelight, and made a dedication to anyone who has lost a loved one, playing the entire song on the keys, as the crowd lit the theater by cell-phone flashlight. After that powerful showing, The Offspring led the crowd in a singing-along to “Why Don’t You Get A Job?”
As the set came to a head, The Offspring amused the crowd via “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy),” inspiring the show’s biggest “WHOA OH!” chants with “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” and closed by chronicling the woe of having no “Self Esteem.” As The Offspring thanked the fans for coming out, the Long Island crowd showered the legendary band with a rush of cheers and applause following a fun set. Needless to say, The Offspring still got it and can rock the house like no other.
Awaiting the arrival of the headliner, a feverish crowd, chock-full of energy, now packed the Jones Beach Theater near capacity. A talented entity, 311 are built upon two fantastic front-men, the vocals and guitar of Nick Hexum, alongside the rhymes of DJ Doug “SA” Martinez. Rounding out the band, Tim Mahoney leads the groove-crushed riffs on guitar, as Aaron “P-Nut” Wills pulsates on bass, and Chad Sexton captures the flow on drums.
Skilled in creating great tunes, 311 magically blend a chill concoction of Rap Rock/Reggae Rock with Alternative Rock, writing music anyone can love. At first, 311’s first two albums, 1993’s Music and 1994’s Grassroots, went unappreciated by mainstream radio. With time, the hard work paid off, and, in 1995, 311 released the self-titled album, 311, exploding onto Rock radio, going triple platinum, and have been a joy to fans all over the world, selling out shows and captivating audiences with a barrage of hits. Still going strong, 311 released the album Mosaic in 2017; another collection of great 311 tunes.
As the clock struck 9:30 PM, on the moonlit waterfront, 311 stepped on stage like a ball of fire, adorned by the ecstatic crowd, opening the set with the groovy stylings of “Come Original.” Diving right in, 311 enraptured the crowd in zen-like fashion, first taking Jones Beach back in time with their second hit single, “All Mixed Up,” and exulted in old school 311 fashion with “Do You Right” and “Lucky.” Really bringing the show to life, 311 kept pouring on the free feeling, saying “Don’t Stay Home” before spreading Reggae pleasure like a “Wildfire.” Giving some 311 couples their wedding song, the band soothed on “Lovesong.” Next, “Beautiful Disaster” inspired a familiar scent emanating from the crowd as did the trippy “Beyond the Gray Sky.”
Using “Applied Science,” 311 seemed to gain more momentum as the show went on, as “Flowing” and “Extension” hit the spot. Breathing air into the lungs, “You Wouldn’t Believe” felt just right and then 311 showed their headbanging side, crushing it on “Too Late” off Mosaic. Next, sweet and mellow, the crowd adored 311’s rendition of “Amber.” Thereafter, 311 proved a force to be reckoned with, returning to Music, performing the heavy “Feels So Good,” as “P-Nut” slayed on bass. Encouraging a new electricity, Hexum asked the crowd to join in and just be “Creatures (For A While).
Before saying good night, Hexum thanked the amazing crowd and dedicated the last song to 311’s old school fans. As Hexum strummed the classic opening to 311’s biggest hit, “Down,” the rabid fan base went wild, singing along with Martinez on every syllable, soaking up every last moment of an incredible show. Feeling utterly satisfied, the crowd doused 311 with boat loads of devoted cheers after spending a Saturday night witnessing a highly impressive performance by 311; one of the best live bands on Earth.
In conclusion, the Never-Ending Summer Tour 2018 forked over a night of great music by a powerful co-headlining duo in 311 and The Offspring. Leaving Jones Beach, the air of positivity, zest for life, and good times could not have been more infectious amongst the fans. Do you want to go home from a show feeling the same? Well, 311 and The Offspring, along with Gym Class Heroes, will be on the road until September 9, 2018, wrapping up in Wichita, Kansas, and this show is well worth the price of admission.
Photo credit: Andrew Fiero Photography
Tuesday, August 28 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage
Wednesday, August 29 Allentown, PA The Great Allentown Fair
Friday, August 31 St. Paul, MN Minnesota State Fair
Saturday, September 1 Sioux City, IA Battery Park at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City
Monday, September 3 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino, Amphitheatre
Tuesday, September 4 Huber Heights, OH Rose Music Center at The Heights
Thursday, September 6 Chicago, IL Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Saturday, September 8 Thackerville, OK Winstar Casino
Sunday, September 9 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
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