Simple Plan – Manchester Ritz – 23/03/16
It may be the penultimate night of the UK tour for Simple Plan, but with Manchester tonight and London tomorrow, they certainly saved the best until last. With an arsenal of Pop Punk hits and feel good anthems, Simple Plan already have enough material to put on a spectacular show. However tonight will be the first time Manchester gets to hear some of the new material from their recent album ‘Taking One For The Team’, and needless to say we’re all pretty excited!
Tonight’s support comes with tons of energy and has the crowd warmed up in no time. The Bottom Line (7) and Ghost Town (7) equally put on a performance worth of opening up for the pop punk giants, and their set lists of power driven tracks has everyone off their feet early whilst the venue quickly fills up. The Bottom Line are the typical band to support Simple Plan with a short set of upbeat pop punk tracks and covers, and remind us very much of an early New Found Glory. Ghost Town bring some diversity to the night with the three piece throwing in some heavier rock, including their fantastic single ‘Spark’ which really grabs peoples attention. There is something for everyone in tonight’s build up and the two bands will definitely we worth keeping an eye one in the near future.
The main event is about to kick off and The Ritz has a glow about it. You can tell these fans have missed Simple Plan (10) and the reception for their return does all but confirm this. Deafening screams and cheers are thrown from the crowd in the face of Pierrre Bouvier, who is grinning like a Cheshire cat back at the crowd as he bounces around the stage to the opener ‘Opinion Overload’. It’s a welcoming start to the show with the first of the new material, and it certainly goes down a treat. ‘Jet Lag’ and ‘Jump’ continue to keep things moving, but the old school favorite ‘I’d Do Anything’ really turns up the heat. The floor is literally moving beneath us as the crowd are jumping and dancing along to the infectious feel good chorus, which sparks an indoor earthquake.
“You guys know how to party!” yells the front man, before another new corker ‘Boom’ is thrown into the mix. Ironically, the place literally does go boom, and even the band on stage are having the time of their lives. Front man Pierre Bouvier and Bassist David Desrosiers are flying around the stage on full charge, whilst both guitarists Chuck Comeau and Jeff Stinco make use of every inch of space left available at the sides of the stage, standing on the risers and throwing out some licks and riffs in the faces of the excitable crowd. Even drummer Sebastien Lefebvre is sat on the edge of his stool looking ready to dive over his drum kit to get involved at any second.
‘Welcome to my life’ has the whole room waving clapping and singing along to the top of their voices, and not for the first time tonight the Canadian band look and sound incredible, playing through each track effortlessly yet full of energy at the same time. These guys are ridiculously good live, and it’s probably the performance of the year so far that we’ve seen. But its exactly what we would expect from Simple Plan who have been flying the flag for pop punk for the past 15 years.
Even with an arsenal of material, a couple of covers of Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’ and The Weekend’s ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ are thrown into the mix for a little karaoke session leaving even the crew members dancing and partying around the band on stage. ‘Kiss me like nobody’s watching’ is another new track, but sounds like the perfect Simple Plan song. It’s a real party starter and one of the strongest tracks of the new album displaying Simple Plan at their very best.
There’s still room for more surprises as giant inflatable beach balls are dropped onto the crowd for a fun performance of ‘Summer Paradise’, which breaks loose the biggest and craziest game of volley ball as several beach balls are pounded from one side of the venue to the other, leaving the fans on the balcony watching on feeling a little left out.
The encore features the fist pumping ‘Shut Up’ which certainly doesn’t keep this Manchester crowd quiet, as they sing along deafeningly loud from start to finish. ‘This song saved my life’ finishes the night off in a little more reserved manner. It’s acoustic driven intro leaves Pierre stood front stage playing and singing alone, with the crowd swaying lighters and phone lights up high along to the beautiful track, before the band return to back him up finishing the song off just perfectly.
It’s a moving end to a full throttle pop punk party of a show, and it leaves everyone more than satisfied after one of the best shows of the year so far. Simple Plan know how to set the bar high, and with a solid performance from the band all around, nobody needs to be taking one for the team with this performance.
Check out more live photos of Simple Plan here in our Live in Photos section!
Photography – Danny Peart Photography