Did I feel old last night? Yes. Did I maybe shed a tear or two? Yes. Did I sing along to every single word of every single song even though I hadn’t listened to the songs in nearly fifteen years? Yes. Did I have the time of my life? Yes.
Fifteen years didn’t seem like that long ago to me until last night’s show. As soon as Simple Plan hit the stage and started playing through their 2002 album “No Pads, No Helmets… Just Ball” I realized just how long ago fifteen years really was and it was almost too much to handle.
Fifteen years ago I was the ripe age of 13. I was doing typical 13 year old things like going to concerts, hating my parents, and plotting my escape out of my sleepy hometown. Life was a bit hectic back then and I was having a hard time finding my place in everything going on around me. That era of my life was full of extreme ups and downs and nothing really seemed to be constant other than the music I was listening to. I remember the first time I heard Simple Plan’s NPNHJB album and being shocked by how perfectly the lyrics fit my life at the time. They sang about everything I was going through and matched it to a T. With lyrics about your parents not understanding you, making plans to run away from your hometown without looking back, and the inevitable “life is so hard for me” lines it was seriously beyond perfect for an angsty 13 year old like myself.
I hadn’t listened to this album in over ten years. Sure, I have a couple of songs from the album on my playlist that I listen to when on long drives or when in the zone at work but that’s about it. With that being said, as soon as the album kicked off, it was like I was 13 again in my room with my radio as loud as it could go as I screamed along to every word. My friend Jennifer grabbed my arm in excitement as the first note rang out. As soon as we saw the members take their spots on stage, we both screeched like it was 2002 all over again.
The five piece sounded and looked absolutely perfect. It was almost like nothing had changed when you were listening to their music but, when you looked at them, you could see the fifteen years (not in a bad way at all… the members of this band seem to all be like wine… aging quite nicely). The group didn’t change their songs at all and literally played NPNHJB just the way it sounds on CD. It’s not that I was expecting for them to change their style or anything… I mean, the show was billed as “Simple Plan Playing NPNJB In It’s Entirety”… I just wasn’t expecting it to be as great as it was. I think I had prepared myself for a night of pure nostalgia (which I definitely got) but I was treated to oh so much more.
After playing through NPNHJB, Simple Plan continued to play a couple of other songs from over the years. I was a bit shocked to find out that these guys have continued putting out music including an album that came out last year. I felt a bit like a loser as the band played through one of the new songs and my friend and I just stood there while the crowd around us sang to every word. I felt like a terrible fan. Here’s this band that (alongside so many others) had songs that became anthems of my teenage years but apparently I didn’t keep up with them as others had. As bad as I felt, I also just didn’t care. Simple Plan was one of those bands that had a certain album that hit me at the exact right time for it to have an impact on my life. Honestly, listening through some of the newer songs this morning, I’m not getting the same feeling.
Did I feel a bit weird while singing songs lines of lyrics like, “I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare” or “I’ll be old enough to do what I want to!”? Yeah, that was a bit weird. Sure, some of the lyrics are cheesy as hell now that I’m old and living on my own and literally living my dreams out but there’s still a little part of me that never seemed to grow out of my “finding myself” stage in life and that part of me is why my throat is itchy today.
A lot has changed in fifteen years. My love for angsty pop-punk from my childhood is not one of those things and I’m more than okay with that.
Venue: First Avenue
Sausage Fest Meter- 4 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 28
Crowd Surfers- 2
Stage Divers- 3– All Band Members
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Confetti, Smoke, Drinks, Giant Beach Balls
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 9 out of 10
Show on Deck- Washed Out