Simple Plan fires up nostalgic set at The Fillmore

Skylar De Paul/Staff

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Opening the show with blaring sirens from all corners of the room, The Fillmore welcomed the legendary Canadian pop-punk band Simple Plan to San Francisco on Nov. 24 as a part of its tour with Northbound, We The Kings and State Champs. 

With lights so bright that the front rows could have used sunglasses, the band wasted no time jumping straight into “What If” off of its 2008 self-titled album. Sending it back even further with “Jump” from 2004, it was clear that this set was one for the 28-year-olds reliving the mid-2000s like no one was watching. 

The guys of Simple Plan have been performing for two decades, and it shows clearly in their magnetic stage presence. Filled with energy and charisma, songs such as “Welcome To My Life” and “Boom!” sent crowd members into the angst of their youths. The band never missed a beat when it came to sound mixing and timing, expertly performing each song while maintaining an essence of relaxation and comfort from every height of the stage.

It was hard to keep track of where each member was onstage throughout the show — the instrumentalists and singers were simply having too much fun jumping onto platforms and running from side to side as they riled up the crowd. Pillars of steam rose up from the stage at climactic parts of songs or right as a chorus hit, and the production value undoubtedly matched the skill the band continuously demonstrated at the show that night.  

With an edgy performance of the song “You Suck At Love,” the classic 2000s pop-punk aesthetic was strong across the entire venue. Lead singer Pierre Bouvier thanked San Francisco for always being sold out when Simple Plan tours, and said in the past that the band was involved with a certain detective cartoon series as the official theme song singers. 

“That’s right,” Bouvier said. “Believe it or not, we’re the ‘What’s New, Scooby-Doo?’ band.” He said it was probably “the most punk thing (they had) ever done” before leading into the fever dream that was a live performance of “What’s New Scooby-Doo?” While it was flawless, it was also weird, but that’s just about as punk as it gets. 

Bouvier asked the crowd if they knew where the band was from, and after telling Simple Plan’s Canadian backstory, he promptly started speaking in French. Although he said the band has lived in California for a while, the band never fails to recognize its Canadian heritage and to incorporate little references into the live performances.  

Bouvier appeared at the back of the crowd to speak during the song. He waxed poetic about his pride for the band, which has been performing together for about 20 years with every original member of the band. 

For “Where I Belong,” the most recent release by Simple Plan featuring We The Kings and State Champs, Derek DiScanio of State Champs and Travis Clark of We The Kings came back onstage to help carry the song. As all three bands ended up filling the stage and chaos ensued, fans were able to look up and see three groups of people thoroughly enjoying their careers. Jumping atop amps and screaming into mics together, the beautiful anarchy could only have been born from three Vans Warped Tour official bands sharing a stage. 

A super loud encore performance of “Shut Up!” brought down the house as the skaters and surfers reunited to relive the glory of 2004 once again. The band brought the biggest “super fans” onstage for the last song, one member jokingly asking who in the audience had a Simple Plan tattoo. As the group was gathered, with one audience member holding a sign saying “This is my 25th Simple Plan show,” the lead chords of “I’m Just A Kid” rang through the room. 

Bouvier and drummer Chuck Comeau switched places for a portion of the song, with Comeau asking the crowd if they wanted to take it “old school” for a second. Saying he wanted to high-five everyone in the crowd, Comeau had everyone get close to the stage before making a dive into the audience. After the surfing extravaganza, the band ended the show with a classic cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” a frequent karaoke go-to.

This cover transitioned into Simple Plan’s hit song “Perfect,” a somber ode to end the night on a high note. Feeling like a scene out of “Zoey 101” or any other notable dramatic teen sitcom, there was no better way to close the evening. Simple Plan may not feel perfect, as the song goes, but the audience turnout and uproarious applause definitely said otherwise.   

Skylar De Paul covers music. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @skylardepaul.