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Simple Plan is currently celebrating the 15th anniversary of their first record, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, but this Tuesday at the House of Blues in Cleveland they did more than help fans relive their younger years.
 
Judging by the number of hands that went up when Pierre Bouvier asked who had never seen them before, last Tuesday was many people’s first Simple Plan concert. That realization was weird at first for me – someone who’s had her fair share of watching, talking to and taking pictures with all of the members – and for the band, who kept reminding the public how nostalgic it was to play songs written over 15 years ago.
 
The show was sold out and the house was already packed when Seaway took the stage. Their short set managed to engage the audience with their own songs (“Best Mistake” and “Freak” being highlights) and covers (not one person could help but sing along to Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom”). The second band on the bill, Set It Off, felt less like an opener. Fans sang along to vocalist Cody Carson, enthralled by the band’s dynamic on stage. However, as much as some people knew the lyrics, their songs were too new and fresh for the night.
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Simple Plan in Cleveland. Photo by Natasha Heinz.

There wasn’t much suspense on the set list. They played the album top to bottom, from “I’d Do Anything” to “Perfect“, including the Japanese bonus track “Grow Up” (in which they sing about listening Good Charlotte, Sum 41, blink-182, and MxPx is his room). The band still plays most singles on current tours, so the real delight was in songs such as “Meet You There“, “One Day“, and “My Alien“. There’s a probability those tracks were long-forgotten, but fans knew the lyrics to every one of the verses. It makes sense: No Pads was released in 2002, well before Youtube or Spotify. This was a time when people bought records and listened all the way through them. The CD – an act, physical CD – probably played on the stereos in their rooms, their cars and their walkmen.

 
As a 25-year-old, it is really hard to relate to lyrics such as “I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare” or verses that whine about parents not letting you go out. However, these are the first songs I heard from a band that define a great part of my teenage years. This show reminded me why I fell in love with this band in the first place. It assured me that I’ll keep listening to every single song they put out, going to shows and singing along to every word. Judging by the number of people who raised their hands when Pierre asked who’d come back to their concert next time, I’m not the only one.

Have you been to any shows on this tour? Can you believe this album is 15 YEARS OLD!?

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