Submitted by guest contributor Collette Tesauro
Simple Plan kicked off a tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls on March 19, 2017, exactly 15 years from the album’s initial release in 2002. If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought I would see Simple Plan on tour again, I would not have needed a Magic 8-Ball to tell you no.
Of course, I would have been wrong.
Reunion and anniversary tours have proven a profitable venture for “scene” bands of the 2000s. Cashing-in on millennials’ nostalgia—for albums we have loved, for what our one-time favorite artist sounded like before they “sold-out,” for the bands we never had the chance to see before their indefinite hiatus—offers fans the opportunity to relive the music that defined our formative years. As ticket sales have shown, there is undoubtedly a market for that, and it has not gone unnoticed.
So when Simple Plan’s anniversary tour for No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls came to San Diego, my inner teenager naturally demanded I attend, which was how I found myself standing in a crowded House of Blues room on April 18. (Spoiler alert: it did not disappoint.)
After a few beers and sets by two opening bands I had never heard of before, the background music over the house speakers began to coax nostalgia out of the crowd. Well-known tracks from Paramore and Brand New ratcheted the excitement up a level, and soon everyone was singing along as if the artists themselves were performing the songs in front of us. The house playlist does not always get it right, but that night it did.
As the last house song faded over the speakers, the lights went dark and silence filled our ears as we waited for the inevitable. A heartbeat later, the opening chords of “I’d Do Anything” elicited an eruption of cheers as Simple Plan kicked-off its set. In an instant I was transported back to high school and the first time I heard the song, sitting in my living room watching Carson Daily-era Total Request Live.
The band’s performance excavated long-since forgotten memories as they played through their debut album from start to finish. I found myself recalling the first time I saw Simple Plan live, supporting Good Charlotte at a time when pop punk was frequenting Top-20 radio and general admission tickets meant standing on the lawn at the top of an amphitheater. Those were some good times back then, but their live presence in 2017 snapped my reverie back to the reality before me—these guys still had it.
The band jumped around the stage as if they had not aged a day, and the fact 15 years had lapsed was almost unrecognizable. That is until Pierre spoke to the audience about his wife, who was in attendance, and shared a few changes they had experienced over that time.
Simple Plan has indeed grown up, but they have not gotten old.
The night demonstrated how Simple Plan has traversed the years and continues to find an audience in both old and new fans alike. I anticipated the audience would be primarily adults like me, recapturing a twinkling of youth, but instead what I observed were surprisingly large numbers of teens too young to have heard the songs in 2002. Some would not have even been born yet!
Despite the age range, together we shouted the chorus of “I’m Just a Kid:”
“I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare. I’m just a kid, I know that it’s not fair. Nobody cares ’cause I’m alone, and the world is having more fun then me… tonight.”
We could all relate to the feeling of kids whose lives felt like nightmares, but now there was a disconnect. We were not alone and the world was not having more fun than us.
Collette Tesauro is a Jersey-girl turned SoCal transplant. She devotes her free time to experiencing music in all its forms and traveling as often as possible in an effort to satiate her wanderlust. FACEBOOK | SPOTIFY