Everyone has that one band that has changed their life in some way and has helped mold them into who they are today. For me, that band was Simple Plan. They were the first band I ever discovered on my own, and No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls was the first album I ever bought with my own money. Needless to say, when they announced their NPNHJB 15th Anniversary Tour, I just knew I had to find my way to one of their special tour dates.
Growing up in Canada meant that every time I had the chance to see Simple Plan live prior to this tour was always in an arena or festival setting. So getting the opportunity to see them play in a much more intimate venue at the heart of Times Square in New York City was a dream come true. Doors opened up at 6pm, and on first glance it looked like there were not that many people in line – but turns out the short line in front of the venue was the VIP ticket holder line and the general admission one weaved in and around the building! Clearly, NYC was also very excited to see the band.
Kicking off the night was Toronto’s very own, Seaway, and Tampa, FL’s Set It Off . Both bands did a fantastic job at getting the crowd pumped up for Simple Plan as they sang their catchy songs and bounced across the stage in true Pop Punk form.
As 8:55 rolled around, it was finally the moment we were all waiting for. The lights dimmed and the sirens perched on top of the band’s amps went off, the exact same way they used to do in 2006, right before they appeared on stage. As soon as the intro to I’d Do Anything started to play, the crowd absolutely lost it. Crowd surfers began flying from all directions as everyone was singing along and re-living their teen years. Being an Anniversary tour for their debut album meant that every song got played in order. Songs such as I Won’t Be There and One Day finally got to see the light again, while other songs such as Meet You There finally had the chance to make it’s live debut. During Addicted, bassist David Desrosiers asked the crowd if they wanted to help him sing his part of the song. The crowd didn’t even respond, they just went straight into singing his part for him.
Between the songs, vocalist Pierre Bouvier gave us a little history about the band and their relationship with NYC. It was honestly really nice to see him reminiscing about the early days of the band and while giving us little tid bits about the songs as he introduced them. He also mentioned that one of the reasons they wanted to do this tour was because they knew a lot of their fans might have been too young to attend concerts when these songs were being played, so they wanted to give everyone a chance to see them live in celebration of it’s 15th Anniversary.
Before finishing off the set with their hit Perfect, the band threw us a little curve ball by performing Grow Up, a b-side that was only included on the Japanese release of NPNHJB. During this performance, we had a special moment with drummer Chuck Comeau, as he swapped places with Bouvier while jokingly stating he has always wanted to be a lead singer it just took him 15 years to get there. He gave us a quick little history lesson on the band’s beginnings, before guitarist Sébastien Lefebvre started egging the crowd on to get Comeau to stage dive into the crowd. Playing along, Comeau agreed to jump as he sang the rest of the song to the crowd before diving right in. Of the 12 years I’ve been attending Simple Plan shows, this is the first time I can recall seeing them do a switch up like this.
As the night came to a close, the band had one more surprise up their sleeve. Not only did the band perform their debut album front to back, but they also treated fans to a 7 song encore featuring fan favourites from the rest of their catalog. It was the perfect way to end the night as we got to sing along to songs such as Shut Up!, This Song Saved My Life, Jump!, and Welcome To My Life.
What was truly amazing about this night was seeing how much fun the band was having on stage. It’s not very often you see a band last this long with every original member in tact, still having just as much energy and fun as they did when they were starting out.
There’s no denying that even after 15 years, Simple Plans is still making our crazy little hearts go Boom!