Concert Review: Simple Plan’s Adelaide Entertainment Centre live show

Simple Plan said their first hello to Australia in 22 years proving on Tuesday night that “this was never a phase”, not to them and certainly not to the 3000-strong crowd that packed the AEC Theatre.

Review by Belinda Quick. Photography by Justin White.

Presented by: Destroy All Lines
Reviewed: 10 April, 2024

Some 22 years ago, Simple Plan said a first hello to Australia. Though the fate of the Stars of M1 festival would be short-lived, taking place only once at Adelaide’s War Memorial Drive, despite the monstrous inaugural line-up; Simple Plan well and truly proved on Tuesday night that “this was never a phase”, not to them and certainly not to the 3000-strong crowd that packed the AEC Theatre.

A night entirely characterised by terms synonymous with Simple Plan – fun, energy, nostalgia, belonging.

Jax took opening act duties to heart and gave us hers. The American Idol alumni knew the assignment and her audience. Playing her rendition of hits like Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag, having us all in fits of laughter with her “adulterised” parodies of the childhood favourite If You’re Happy and You Know It, The Clap, concluding her set with her highest charting Billboard hit, Victoria’s Secret.

We The Kings were next up, commanding the stage and captivating their loyal subjects in the crowd, which was now surging. Lead singer Travis Clark had the moshpit jumping and hands uniformly waving in time to every direction and song.

Charles Trippy epitomised the pop punk tradition of the enigmatic bass guitarist, waltzing from side to side of stage with enough energy to carry the whole band and the audience for the set. I’ve never seen the LED display on the AEC Theatre stage used to better effect than it was tonight. Colourful words and iconic symbols flashed in a style only this genre knows, lifting the experience of the audience and adding an extra layer of light to the show.

Of course, tonight belonged to Simple Plan; yet, in so many ways, the set of the night belonged to the spectacular Boys Like Girls. To strobes and televised bolts of lightning, John Keefe’s drums set the stage and audience alight, before being joined by the rest of the band.

Love Drunk is an old favourite, we are immediately intoxicated by BLG’s perfect harmonies and genuine camaraderie. Sharing microphones between brothers, incorporating curses into songs as if they were always there, this band are a masterclass in performance. Johnson’s careening vocal stylings switching between scream and serenade, living up to the song’s dichotomous name; a personal highlight, without doubt.

Way back in 2002, I had the pleasure of meeting Simple Plan. They were electrifying on stage, I simply had to visit the autograph tent after their set. Everybody quips that Canadians in general, somewhat stereotyped like Australians, are jovial and friendly, but Simple Plan took it to another level. They are still this way.

Entering the stage to the main theme of Star Wars got a collective smile, quickly followed by screams for the initial walk down memory lane, I’d Do Anything. Still singing the messages and contemplating issues from our youth, I swear these boys-turned-men have never looked better.

Shooting the confetti cannons off for the first of many times in this mammoth, almost two-hour long set, no-one in this crowd had ever enjoyed being told to Shut Up! more.

Addicted, a fan favourite for sure, and Welcome to My Life round out the early works in this opening third, before launching into 2022’s Harder Than It Looks’ anthem, Iconic. Re-recorded in 2023 to feature Jax, her onstage cameo for the performance was wild, as was the release of streamers from the ceiling above, that hung like accolades for the rest of the show.

Nods to icons of their era and before, the mashup of Smash Mouth’s All Star, Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi, and eternal favourite Mr Brightside by The Killersunleashed pandemonium on the floor.

Paying respect to the king hitters of all things emo once more, Pierre Bouvier is joined on stage for the final track of the main set, Where I Belong, by We The Kings’ Travis Clark.

Five encore tracks followed, full of memories, musicianship and downright magic. As Bouvier continued to talk as if in familial conversation with the crowd, swapping duties with drummer, Chuck Corneau, who gleefully joked before jumping out into the audience’s adoring arms. This was a goodbye-for-now for the ages.

Natasha Bedingfield’s vocals being filled in upon command by the thousands, Jet Lag is up first, tugging on our heartstrings as always.

Our voices are again necessary to call back the obligatory expletive-filled answer to Adelaide’s The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?

Ending where it all began, I’m Just A Kid keeps this party going well after the scheduled end, elder millennials all continuing to rage as if they were twenty years younger (and didn’t have work in the morning).

This feeling was just too good to stop now. A resplendent Untitled, acoustically played by Bouvier alone until the final refrain leads us to the Perfect ending.

For over two decades now, this glorious group have told us through song, “Nothing lasts forever, I’m sorry I can’t be perfect.” Whilst we’ve all come to find with older age certain aspects of this songline to be true, tonight it had no place.

Simple Plan have shown us once again; this feeling, these moments do live eternally in our hearts, and this night was absolute perfection.

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