15 Years Later…

I was the biggest Simple Plan fan back when I was around 10, 11 years old but then getting into high school I got into rap like Kid Cudi, Kanye West, J.Cole etc. Around that time Simple Plan released their album, Get Your Heart On! (2011). I listened to it, but didn’t add it to my daily playlist. After Get Your Heart On! (2011) they released an EP 2 years later, which I didn’t hear of. Fast forward three years later, I heard they released a new album in February 2016, I went to check it out and was reminded of why I was obsessed with their music. In September 2016, a friend told me they’d be coming to House Of Blues in October, I immediately saw this opportunity to see a band that was huge for me growing up so I bought tickets. Unfortunately VIP, which gives you the chance to meet them after the show accompanied by pizza, was sold out in Chicago. I considered buying a ticket to their Cleveland show a couple days before because VIP was still available, all just to meet this band that had a big influence on the music I listened to. When I was young Simple Plan influenced me to listen to bands like, Blink 182 and Green Day (my absolute FAVORITE BAND) Anyways, the Cleveland VIP tickets didn’t happen because the way my bank account was set up…

However, I went to their October show for the Taking One For The Team Tour, which was filled with throwbacks like “Addicted,” “I’d Do Anything” (which they open with), “Jump,” “Welcome To My Life,” but also awesome songs from their newest record, songs like “Singing In The Rain,” “Opinion Overload,” and “Boom”. The concert was amazing, even if I didn’t get to meet the guys. But after the concert I did promise myself I’d begin following their tour info again and next time they were in Chicago I’d get VIP and finally meet my preteen crushes!

Around Janurary, Simple Plan began posting throwbacks from their No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls (2002) era like this one,

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They mentioned that the 2002 album would be turning 15 years old on March 19, 2017.

Throwback after throwback on Instagram I thought, these guys are gonna do an anniversary tour, I know it. They wouldn’t be dropping so many hints if they weren’t planning something! Another tour? Another movie, like “A Big Package For You”? Another album?

I woke up one morning to a Twitter notification displaying a concert poster “SIMPLE PLAN NO PADS, NO HELMETS… JUST BALLS 15th year anniversary tour” and dates below it. I skimmed the picture looking through the dates to find Chicago, IL 3/31 “I KNEW IT!” I tweeted in reply to the announcement.

That same day I bought a $25 membership to the official SPcrew to be able to buy tickets early and a chance to see them during soundcheck. I was committed this time, this was my chance, I had to meet them. I ended up buying not only the concert ticket, but VIP, and was chosen to attend their soundcheck.

The day came sooner than I expected, the day before I still didn’t think it was real, I was going to meet Simple plan?! Talk to them?! 11 year old me would be crying if she knew this. Okay so maybe 19 year old me is crying too. I was at House Of Blues by 12:30 p.m. probably the 7th person in line, we were part of the 15 people who would be able to see Simple Plan during soundcheck. Around 1:10 p.m. we got to go inside where the band had already been playing a few songs, we screamed out song names after Pierre asked what we wanted to hear, but David insisted on playing farewell for us.

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They came down off the stage to take pictures with everyone, holding back happy tears, I hugged them tight, (David the tightest) & smiled way too cheesy in the pictures. Soundcheck was about 30 minutes long, the guys told us they’d see us later and they hoped we were excited for the concert.

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Now back out to the line we went, after about 10 minutes we realized we’d be waiting quite a while so we all sat down to wait the long four hours before doors opened.

Simple Plan’s photographer, Chady had come to sign us in for soundcheck 5 hours earlier and once again he came to sign us in for the post VIP pizza party, we got our wristbands and soon after that we got our tickets ready to be let onto the floor. Tickets scanned, our feet stomped up the stairs that led to the floor, “let the short people through first” I joked, “go ahead” the venue employees announced, we ran to the barricade that would separate the crowd from the bands. I was front row! After the excitement of this it was time to wait another hour until the first band would play and 2 until Simple Plan would come on.

Time ticked away slowly, Seaway and Set It Off pumped up the crowd and gained new fans, including myself, but the sold-out venue was ready for Simple Plan.

Being front row was amazing, I’d been front row for Kid Cudi shows, but those don’t compare to being front row for Simple Plan. I don’t know how but these guys make a sold-out venue feel intimate, interacting with not only the first couple of rows but the people on the balconies, waving and smiling at the fans past the floor and on the side.

10 year old Cathy who watched Simple Plan’s live DVD, A Big Package For You (2003), everyday was screaming inside. The DVD mostly featured the band members travelling, doing stupid things, stage diving, but it was accompanied with their first album songs playing in full in the background. I was only 4 years old when the DVD and their first album came out so by the time I watched the movie they had released 2 other CD’s already. To be able to hear songs like “God Must Hate Me” and “My Alien” that I thought I’d never hear live because they hadn’t performed them since 2002 was amazing.

2002:

2017:

15 years since they’d perform most of those songs on the album and they were still amazing. I felt I’d be cheating if I listened to the album before the concert, would I remember every word? Yes I did, I sang every word louder than the people next to me would have probably wanted. Sorry guys.

An awesome part of the concert was when the drummer, Chuck Comeau, came from behind his drum set to deliver a speech and a stage dive:

After the energetic 2 hour set, those of us who had their VIP wristbands waited on the floor until we were led upstairs into a dining room of house of blues, pizzas were set up on tables waiting for us to dig in. We ate and waited for Simple Plan to come up.

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They were nice enough to not only sign the worn out DVD I bought of a big package for you, but they signed a picture for my little sister who is also a Simple Plan fan. Okay maybe I pushed her to listen to them but I swear she likes their music, I explained to them that their second night at HOB would be her first concert and they kindly signed the picture for her, Jeff writing “for Alexa.” These guys were incredibly sweet to every single fan, checking and double checking if they took pictures and signed everything for each fan.

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After waking up with a sore throat, sore legs, and bruises from jumping, singing, screaming at the top of my lungs, and being pushed against the barricade by everyone’s body weight behind me, I was still ready to rock out with Simple Plan again for their 2nd sold-out show in Chicago.

After two nights of Simple Plan I didn’t know how I’d go back to work the next day and school the following day, I just kept thinking when are they coming back to Chicago?

All I know is, when they do come back you can find me in the front row and at the pizza party afterwards. Thank you Simple Plan for 15+ years of awesome music, awesome performances, charity work, 15+ years of helping kids, teenagers and even adults get through tough times.

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