Simple Plan Rocks The Historic Van Buren In Phoenix Arizona
While this is my first time covering a Simple Plan show, it’s my third time attending one and I must say, I’ve never been disappointed. The crowd that always gathers hours before the doors open (this time in an out-of-season rainstorm) is proof that I am not alone in my sentiment.
Of course, I’d already heard their new teaser track, Where I Belong, which was a collaboration with their opening acts, We the Kings and State Champs, but hearing it live only made my craving and excitement for the imminent announcement of Simple Plan’s new album all the more intense.
Simple Plan, who originally hail from Montreal (they were the inspiration for my son and I to learn French) definitely attracts a unique crowd which sets up a laid back feeling that is just fun. I saw brothers and sisters, couples, friends (several of which had met years prior at other Simple Plan shows) and even parents with their kids or teens.
I shouldn’t be surprised, my eight-year-old begged me to let him skip the first day of school when he was six for the second of their concerts that I went to. His eyes lit up like the fourth of July when Pierre Bouvier, the lead singer, saw his sign and brought him on stage. (The opening act Patent Pending had him crowd surfing too. Needless to say, he is one lucky little rock star in training.) I think Pierre was his first case of hero worship. I cringed, however, when guitarist, Jeff Stinco, came over to say hello to him before the show and he looked him dead in the eyes and, with all of the irritation his tiny voice could muster, groaned: “You’re not Pierre.” There are over 445 named shades of red. My face cycled through all of them.
(Simple Plan Bringing Amanda’s Son Bryston On Stage:
Photo Credit: Good Guy Chady)
Fortunately, Jeff reassured me that he had kids and knew that they sometimes exist only to embarrass us. That was the moment that humanized them for me. Since then, I’ve seen countless other acts of them connecting face-to-face with their fans, something that I know first-hand a great deal of celebrities don’t do.
I think it is because of that connection that their fans find such solace in their music. I couldn’t count how many people in line had the signatures of the band members permanently inked on various parts of their bodies or tattoos of their favorite song lyrics, many of which they attributed for saving their lives. This is so common among their followers that they have a song called, This Song Saved My Life, the music video for which is comprised of fans expressing how they were touched by the band’s music. I certainly listened to their tracks more than a few times when things got tough.
The band also has its own personal experience with depression and mental health issues as bassist, David Desrosiers, has publically shared his struggles with the disease, even taking a hiatus for treatment between spring of 2017 until just a few months ago. Fans stood alongside him, offering up any support they could like you can imagine one doing for their best friend.
This was my first time at The Van Buren, which I found to be a hidden treasure off the beaten path of the road with the same name. It wasn’t so big that the event felt impersonal nor was it so small that I felt like a sardine in a can and the chandeliers that welcome you are breathtaking.
The show started with NorthBound, a fun up and coming rock band from Florida with influences such as Alkaline Trio and Bayside. They were followed by We the Kings, who label themselves as “power pop.” Despite having the word, ‘pop’, in their description, they still succeeded in keeping the punk-rock loving crowd pumped, even when they took a break during their second song to step off the stage and ensure the safety and care of a fan near the front who began having a seizure. The crowd cooed as the lead singer, Travis Clark, had them do the dance steps that his four year old daughter had assigned to a specific chorus. State Champs managed to amp it up one more notch with fans seemingly just as excited for them as for Simple Plan, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen.
Still, the energy Pierre Bouvier and his band mates bring to the stage is unparalleled and, as the lights readjusted and the music began pounding through the venue, even I couldn’t help mouthing the lyrics that have been ingrained in my head for years (some nearly two decades) from my assigned correspondent area in the pit.
When I found my place in the crowd later, it didn’t take long for my throat to feel raw as I screamed out beloved songs such as Jump, Addicted and my son’s favorite, I’m Just A Kid while also trying not to cry during Untitled or ruminate on a crappy ex during Your Love Is A Lie. Though, I realized during the concert that I had fallen so in love with the french version of Summer Paradise that I’d forgotten the english words!
Despite playing dozens of shows since, Pierre recognized me from the front row as the girl that got engaged on stage two years ago. Two years ago! I can barely remember what I ate yesterday and this rock star still remembers a face he saw two years ago. Which only stands to reiterate my previous statement of their connection to their fans. They crowd surf. Pierre goes to the back of the crowd to talk and sing and give fans that wouldn’t have otherwise gotten close a more personal experience. They have backstage pizza parties with their VIPs. And they even invite about twenty fans on stage for a group photo (yours truly was lucky enough to be one of the chosen ones!)
The tour has four more US shows, one tonight in Vegas and the others in California, before moving to Australia and the UK. If there is ever a show you don’t want to miss, it is this one.
Photo Credit: Amanda Webster/Regional Entertainment
for more information about Simple Plan see link below
For more information about the historic Van Buren see link below