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Simple Plan brought us back to 2002 and we loved it

For a band that toured Down Under only two years ago, Simple Plan were met with enthusiasm as if they’d been neglecting Melbourne for almost a decade. 

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Image source: 
Country Rock Shotz

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in attendance who didn’t scream themselves hoarse alongside the early 2000s pop-punk legends.
 
The foursome took the stage, met with screams only rivalled by those for ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ during the interim. A huge banner that read Simple Plan accompanied by a bleeding heart was hung behind the whole ensemble and flanked by strobe lights.
 
After flying off a box set front and centre, frontman Pierre Bouvier’s feet hit the stage, marking the beginning of a two-hour blast of hits; opener ‘I’d Do Anything’ set the standard for the rest of the night. ‘Worst Day Ever’ was divided into two sections by guitarist Jeff Stinco and Bouvier dabbing, and ‘You Don’t Mean Anything’ was prime real estate for more synchronised jumps.
 
The biggest variation in pace came from Bouvier’s solo acoustic opening of ‘Perfect’ that had fans trying to inconspicuously wipe their eyes. The set was a non-stop exhibition of veteran musicians proving their worth; drummer Chuck Comeau’s fills were crisp and Bouvier’s voice sounded as if he’d literally just finished recording No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls a few hours earlier.
 
They waved goodbye before returning to the stage for a 45-minute-long encore; highlights included ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Jetlagged’. The concert concluded with a banging performance of ‘Welcome to My Life’ where the whole theatre sang along and bumped to the beat as if they were back in their childhood bedroom.
 
The vibe was overwhelming; it’s unusual for such a large venue to foster an amicable atmosphere, but strangers were chatting while they sipped on tinnies like this was a garage concert in the ‘burbs.
 
The band showed off their ease in front of the crowd by engaging in banter. Guitarist Sebastian Lefebvre was dubbed the sexiest member of the band, Bouvier lamented that singing 16-year-old tunes makes him feel old, Stinco made it clear he shaves his head and Comeau got to live out his dream of being the lead singer during ‘Grow Up’ – followed by a stage-dive.
 
A concert with a community vibe that’s hard to come by, the fun onstage was reflected by the fun on the floor. Consider this a master class on how a band can grow old with grace while simultaneously refusing to grow up.
 
Highlight: Jeff’s shredding between ‘God Must Hate Me’ and ‘I Won’t Be There’.
Lowlight: Lights so bright that it was physically hard to look at the stage at times.
Crowd favourite: ‘Jump’.