I can’t say that pop punkers Simple Plan have ever been at the top of my list of bands to see – and I’m pretty sure I actually have seen them at at least one of the many Warped Tours I made my way to in the early 2000’s (though can’t say I even remember). But, my teenaged kid wanted to check them out at Epcot’s Garden Rocks series, and knowing this is the band that does the theme song for What’s New Scooby-Doo?, I said “why not?”
It was quickly apparent after arriving in time for their second set this past Saturday, June 4, that this was obviously not the same crowd that were here with us for other recent shows like Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas. But still, there was no denying the amount of energy on stage, and it was no doubt infectious on tracks like “Nothing’s Ever Going to Bring Me Down,” “Jump,” “When I’m Gone,” “The Antidote,” “Vacation,” “I Can’t Keep My Hands Off You,” and “Crazy.” A brief guitar solo segued into the band’s biggest hit, “I’m Just a Kid” (which appeared in just about every clunker stoner flick back in the day like Grind and The New Guy).
When the band re-emerged for their third and final set of the night, they surprisingly played a completely different set (albeit still no theme from Scooby-Doo thrown in, unfortunately), and opened with the 2002 pop punk staple “Addicted” (one of the few songs in the band’s catalog I actually know well, thanks to it forever being tied to the memory of a break up at the time).
From then on the band continued to bring it with both old songs and new in the form of “The Worst Day Ever,” “Astronaut,” and “Iconic” before going though a trio of covers that the crowd went crazy over, including Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” The band then wrapped things up with “Where I Belong” and finally, “Perfect,” which saw cell phones lighting up the night sky.
Although I probably won’t be rushing to see Simple Plan again the next time they come around, I can’t say I regret catching them this past weekend. And if their brand of catchy pop tunes is up your alley, by all means, check them out if you get the chance.