Bad Religion made a two-night stop at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, part of their 30th Anniversary Tour. This short tour is exclusive to the House of Blues in San Diego, Hollywood, Anaheim, and Las Vegas, back-to-back every night between March 17th and April 17th. These punk rock veterans have 14 albums under their belt and are using this tour to record a live CD, expected to drop later this summer. Needless to say, it was a privilege to be able to see both Friday and Saturday nights shows.
Friday night’s opening acts were Off with Their Heads and The Adolescents. Shortly after 6:30, Off with Their Heads came onstage in a rush, noted their bus broke down on the way from L.A. and they had just arrived. He also gave thanks to The Adolescents, who were generous enough to let them play their instruments. Off with Their Heads played a full set, relaxed and got into it about halfway through. They were a classic punk band, similar to Social Distortion.
The Adolescents put on a great show, filled with pure punk energy. Their young guitarist was jumping all over the stage and was such an amazingly clean guitar master, he was impressive to watch. Half through the set, The Adolescents went off into a punk jam session, which finally got the audience to ease up and let loose. The Adolescents were one of the first punk bands I was introduced to, and it was great to finally see them live.
Saturday’s show was opened by Save the Hero and T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty). Mandalay Bay also had John Mayor in the Events Center at the same time, so the whole place was slammed. I managed to get into the House of Blues just after T.S.O.L. took the stage. I was really excited to see T.S.O.L., I remember listening to them in my teenage years and just loving the dirty filthy punk rock they are known for. Their live show was awesome; fast, clean, and angry, speckled with vulgar comments from Jack Grisham (frontman). T.S.O.L. stayed true, kept the pit spinning at all times, and closed with everyone’s favorite, Code Blue.
On Bad Religion’s 30 day House of Blues Tour, The Adolescents, Guttermouth, T.S.O.L., The Vandals , Youth Brigade, and many more, opened at least one show for Bad Religion. Any long time punk fan understands I would give my left arm to see all these bands together in one show. I thought it was quite admirable for Bad Religion to share their stage night after night, with so many of the west-coast punk bands that have also been around for 30 years. While waiting for Bad Religion to take the stage, they displayed a slideshow of all their album covers, getting the crowd revved up. Bad Religion took the stage, kept great energy throughout and sounded amazing. Every song they played was clean and solid. The crowd was having a great time, we recognized, shouted, and fist-pumped to nearly every song.
Lead singer Greg Graffin announced there are two different setlist for each show, but “Friday’s setlist is much better, although I’m sure Saturday’s crowd might say otherwise.” True to his word, the setlist for either night was no disappointment; they played the best of their collection. Songs included Gems of Perfection, Them and Us, Flat Earth Society, Social Suicide, Punk Rock Song, Suffer, Before You Die, No Control, Dearly Beloved, Atheist Peace, We’re Only Gonna Die, Best For You, Fuck Armageddon, Generator, I Want to Conquer the World, and their new song The Resist Stance. They saved their radio classics, 21st Century Digital Boy, Infected, Los Angeles is Burning, and Sorrow, to close the set and for the encore each evening.
I thought Saturday night’s sold out show was better than Friday’s; there was more energy, less technical problems, a better audience and a better pit. Bad Religion really came through for their fans. Greg Graffin had joked about playing 30 songs for 30 years, but after the show was over, I was left wondering if that was really a joke, they played at least 20 tracks. Both were great shows, and many fans left the venue covered in sweat, buzzing about how epic the show was. Good news for anyone that missed the 30th Anniversary Tour, Bad Religion announced they will go on another tour later this year.
My only criticism goes to the bar, for inconsistent drinks; I received both 12oz and 8oz cups, for the same $9.00 price. I’m sorry, but when you are already gouging alcohol prices because it’s a venue, then I buy my second drink and it’s smaller than the first… wtf!