Simple Plan

John Cain Arena

“It was never a phase mom” echoes around Melbourne as people prepared their skinniest jeans, their blackest band t-shirt and their weapon of choice of either Vans or Cons (Team Converse here!!)

It was a night of pop punk royalty that will never be forgotten by so many.

With the entire tour being sold out, Melbourne’s John Cain Arena was abuzz with excitement, the cold night was not deterring the fans, be it angsty teenagers to the elder emos (and in quite a few cases the elders were parents to the teenagers) but once inside, everyone seemed to forget the outside conditions.
Jax opened up proceedings with her hit “90s Kids” and the energy that came from the crowd really set the pace for what the night would bring. After rolling through some of her hits she ended her set with her most well know track “Victoria’s Secret” to a great roar.

Next up was the Florida natives We The Kings. A band that so many have fallen in love with during their formative years. “Skyway Avenue” was a great way to start, with many singing along like their life depended on it. A cover of “Wonderwall” had the arena louder than I thought possible, even with those who weren’t as familiar with We The Kings. To finish it off Travis introduced their new song “Check Yes Juliet”. I know I didn’t have a band debuting a 17 year old song as a new release on my 2024 bingo card, but here we are. Naturally the crowd erupted, and all of their new and old fans screamed along as if no one was watching.

The last opener was the pop punk mainstay of “Boys Like Girls”, who if you aren’t aware of them you should give them a listen. They opened with arguably their biggest hit “Love Drunk” which had everyone enthralled from the get go. From there it was hit after hit, going through their classics of “Thunder”, “Hero/Heroine” and even “Two Is Better Than One” where Martin Johnson even made the comment that they had her there to sing along, which if you don’t know Taylor Swift was the guest artist on that track, but it wasn’t meant to be. To really send home their set they combined “The Great Escape” with their opener “Love Drunk”. The energy behind this duo of tracks had everyone on their feet, baring emotions for all, and getting ready for the headliners.

With the arena dark, “The Imperial March” from Star Wars played as the band made their way on to the stage. They were met with a roar, unlike anything ever heard before, and in return they immediately started off with a classic “I’d Do Anything” complete with confetti filling the air and the end, what most would reserve for an encore, Simple Plan started with. And it set the tone for the whole evening. Going into “Shut Up!” looking around the arena you could feel something special. Simple Plan and their songs resonate so deeply with their fans, and their music means more to their fans than can ever be articulated. To turn the energy up to the next level, they played “Jump” while instructing the thousands to do that, and they did it with so much energy.

Going through their back catalog they cycled between newer songs and old familiars. “Addicted” and “Welcome To My Life” was sung so loud by the crowd that it almost drowned out the band. “Iconic” was up next and features Jax, which was met with great awe and admiration. Slowing it down they played “Summer Paradise” and the arena filled with beach balls, and immaculate vibes. “Million Pictures Of You,” played accompanied with photos of their fans on tour and it was an undeniable connection.

From then they somehow managed to amplify the already electric energy in the arena by playing their own versions of “All Star”, “Sk8er Boi” and “Mr Brightside” before bringing out a group of costumed dogs on stage for “What’s New Scooby Doo”. Travis from We The Kings came back out on stage to help with “Where I Belong” before they all left the stage in preparation of their encore.

Returning to the stage to the theme song of “Bluey” the band got ready to stamp their mark on Melbourne in the best way possible. “Jet Lag” started the proceedings off, and they even did the first part of The Angels “Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again” solely to hear the Australian response to the chorus. Which I cannot write here. “I’m Just A Kid” was when looking around the arena you could see the twinkles of tears in people’s eyes. They brought some fans on stage to take some crowd photos before going into “Untitled” and finally “Perfect”. The number of fans crying was in their thousands, as to them, Simple Plan wasn’t just a band, and it wasn’t just songs. It was break ups, it was trauma, it was life defining moments, and in some cases life saving moments. And that’s how much their music means to their fans.
To quote Simple Plan “Start the countdown let’s get it on. Scream our lungs out to our favourite song. Cause this is where I belong”

And for everyone in attendance, they were right where they belong.

Words by Mat Went

Behind the lens Lucas Packett

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