After a career spanning the last 20 years, Canadian Rockers Simple Plan played an energetic 90 minute set to a relatively small crowd at The Southport CBD live. This intimate setting only added to the atmosphere that was the equivalent to many gigs I have attended with 10 times the attendees. The evening kick-started with the song ‘I’ll Do Anything’ off their debut 2002 album ‘No Pads, No Helmets…. Just Balls’.
It was clear from the outset the crowd was ready to sing, mosh and let their hair down. Simple Plan still has a loyal and dedicated fan base and their next song ‘Jump’ showed, regardless of the age of the audience members, this was precisely what they were there to do. I saw middle-age women with their kids jumping around and settling in for the night ahead of them alongside a family that had driven three hours to attend this show.
The frontman Pierre Bouvier acknowledged his love of Australia but admitted both he and his bandmates were struggling with the heat Australia has; “Us Canadians aren’t used to this heat but we absolutely LOVE Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast”. Midway through the set it was mentioned their hit song ‘Addicted’ was vital in the band establishing their fan base as ‘We were the only ones who would mention the D-word in public or on Radio at the time’. This was the first of many songs on the night the entire crowd would sing word for word. During ‘Summer Paradise’ the crowd energy peaked with beach balls being thrown throughout the crowd, with a lucky few catching the Simple Plan branded inflated balls and taken home as a souvenir.
The band dynamics were typical of a tight unit that has been performing for some time. Each member of the band worked every millimetre of that small stage and engaged with audience members constantly throughout the night. While the drummer may typically sit in the background Chuck Comuea was having none of this. Just before the band was to exit the stage lead singer Pierre swapped positions and moved to the drum kit. It was Chuck’s time to take centre stage now and you could tell he enjoyed every single second of it.
“If I come out there and jump into the crowd you will catch me won’t you?” The crowd then proceeds to hold up their hands up high and Chuck gets a run-up and lunges himself into the sea of open arms. Over the next few minutes, he works his way around the room on top of the pumped-up crowd. The rest of the band takes a back seat to Chucks prepared a few minutes of being the frontman and he worked the crowd like the seasoned performer he is.
Following this display the band exits side of stage to deafening chants seconds later “one more song…. One more song….one more song”. Pierre returns to stage solo with a guitar where he performs the Oasis song ‘Wonderwall’ and responds, “I wish I had written that one but I didn’t so here is one I did”. He then breaks out into one of Simple Plans greatest hits ‘Untitled’ which the crowd sang loud, drowning out his voice for a majority of the song. Not content with just one more song the night was completed with ‘Perfect’, with the rest of band joining him for this encore.
This may have been my first time experiencing Simple Plan live and it allowed me to relive my youth and teenage years. Rarely does one go to a gig and know every song word for word but tonight was that kind of night. I attribute this to Simple Plan being my girlfriends’ and my cd of choice throughout high school with it constantly played on repeat. The final song ‘Perfect’ summed up how many fans and myself would have left feeling. It describes the Tuesday night we had experienced, listening to these seasoned performers in an intimate setting, perfectly.
Images (C) Liam Budd