Canadian pop-punk legends SIMPLE PLAN are one of the biggest names you can think of in their genre and their album No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls is one of the greatest pop punk albums ever. Absolutely chock full of pop punk classics, the album recently turned 15. And to celebrate this pop punk work of art, Simple Plan have hit the road for the No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls 15th Anniversary Tour and tonight after a slew of Australian east coast shows it all culminates here in a huge finale under the Big Top in Sydney.
Kicking off the night was Brisbane pop-punkers Stateside, led by super cute yet fierce frontwoman Erin Reus. They provided a high-energy set which even included a cover of 21 Pilots.
Newcastle five-piece Eat Your Heart Out had the honour of stepping up tonight and being the main support act before the big show and it was so good to see so many gathered to watch this band who I have previously recommended you do so on numerous occasions. Up there on the biggest stage I have seen them on I thought they played exceptionally well with an exuberant amount of energy, frontwomen Caitlin Henry’s perfect pop punk pitch highlighting itself on Something in The Way and Drag Me Down. Eat Your Heart are a band on the rise so make sure you catch them soon or listen to their latest Ep, Mind Games.
I have noticed something this year that when a show starts off with an air raid siren then you know it is going to be a great show and tonight was no different. Nostalgia shows can be tricky things but from the second Simple Plan take the stage and hit us with the opening track I’d Do Anything you can just tell we are in for a great time tonight. The band would always be standing on top of speakers, getting as close to us fans as possible, pointing out at the crowd, singing in pitch-perfect tone, every note played to a perfect lighting display.
No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls is an album full of great sing-along moments and we got to do every one of them tonight. Tracks like the Worst Day Ever, I’m Just a Kid and of course Addicted were huge show highlights but album shows always gives the true hard-core fan a chance to hear songs you don’t always get to hear live, tonight that was I Grow Up. Simple Plan shows are filled with humorous banter between the band and plenty of innuendo like when they had us play with their balls (simple Plan Beach Balls) but in a special show moment they let drummer Chuck Comeau live out his lifelong fantasy of being a front man, it only took 16 years he says as he gives the guys a big fuck you. Coincidentally enough it has been frontman Pierre Bouvier dream to drum in a band, these funny show moments are what makes live music so special and what turns a good show into a great show. The pair would finish off the set swapped over, both killing it, the band jumping off the speakers, the lights flash in a frenzy and then boom it feels like it is over. We the audience cheer and go nuts and then just Pierre would re-emerge with his acoustic. They still had one major track to play for us from the album, we take out our phones light up the whole place and then we sing as loud as we can, after the first verse the whole band is back and they finish off the main set just Perfect.
Now time for the rest of the hits we love starting with Shut Up and Sydney had more than enough energy left in us to keep this party going as we jumped along with the band. A nice touch to the show’s end was having the show opening band Stateside’s vocalist Erin Reus duet with Pierre on Jet Lag. Then letting as many people as they can on stage for Summer Paradise. Before the end, Crazy Pierre would pop up in the middle of the crowd let out a huge heartfelt thanks make his back to the front of stage and lead us out in one last song Welcome to My Life.
Hearing the music tonight made us feel like we are living the best the gig over and over again. Perhaps just a bunch of kids we are no longer, but there was nobody in the whole world tonight who was having more fun than any of us jumping up and down and singing along to every classic track played tonight under the Big Top in Sydney.
Review – Chad
Photo Gallery – Christian Ross
Read our interview with guitarist Jeff Stinco