Pre-Where I Belong tour, the bands on the bill – co-headliners Simple Plan, State Champs and openers We The Kings – released the aptly named Where I Belong single. The track is the epitome of upbeat pop punk, bringing portions of everyones style and the singing voices of all three vocalists into perfect harmony. The message, much like the tour itself, harkens on to a show being a sense of community. Of finding where you belong among the like minded people around you, singing and dancing to their favorite songs. Will the show live up to that?
Starting strong, We The Kings open with the massive Skyway Avenue, a song from their debut that is 12 years old. There is a sea of hands, fingers in a W formation, bouncing along to the beat of the chorus. Not much has changed in those many years, minus a few line-up switch ups. After I Feel Alive, vocalist Travis Clark addressing the crowd to introduce ‘the most handsome and most talented member of We The Kings’ Coley O’Toole to front and center. His family is visiting and they make an appearance on stage while he belts out the opening lines to Bohemian Rhapsody and My Heart Will Go On, his vocals are huge and do rival Clark’s and it’s an all round touching moment to see him on stage with his kids. Closing out the set is Check Yes Juliet as Clark tells everyone; “This song belongs to you.”
If there was any band to take the crown for biggest pop punk act, State Champs is primed and ready. They have the perfect recipe for it; incredibly catchy upbeat songs, anthemic choruses made for live venues, a live sound that seamlessly translates recorded work onto the stage and a live performance that rivals most others in their genre at the moment. Throw that all together and opening with Mine Is Gold seems so much bigger than it ever did on an album. Their 14 strong set is a mashup compilation of their best work across each album, focusing a little more on their newest effort Living Proof which was released earlier this year. There’s something for everyone. They tend to stray away from their slower songs, keeping to the tracks that people can really dance to and it keeps you amped from beginning to end. You can’t help but wonder if the tour could have been suited with them switching out as the main headliner each night. State Champs offer such an explosive set from start to finish you can’t help but wonder why they aren’t headlining the night.
Simple Plan is one of those bands that breathes nostalgia, even their newer songs often still have that twinge of the work they produced in their earlier days. Their first three songs are perfect for that nostalgia effect, I’d Do Anything, Jump and Welcome To My Life really move to get the crowd jumping. They move through the set, flowing from song to song, proving why they are still as big as they are. Performing What’s New Scooby Doo and making a joke of a fun little claim to fame for ‘being that band that snuck the word dick onto the radio’ with Addicted. Right before the band spring into Summer Paradise, vocalist Pierre Bouvier brings out someone from side stage to make an announcement. After a little speech, informing everyone that there was no other perfect way to do this than ‘in front of her favorite band and all of her family’ they propose – she said yes, of course, to the sound of roaring cheers and deafening applause. It’s a sweet moment and a perfect addition to an already incredible set. Closing out is Where I Belong, with more special guest appearances, Derek Discanio of State Champs and Travis Clark of We The Kings join, of course, to sing their parts to the song. It’s huge, whether you’re there for one of the bands or all of them, the track brings each and everyone together in the way they had intended. Following is a quick encore involving some of Simple Plan’s biggest songs and they really do show no signs of stopping soon, it’s a great thing, they pull people together in such a special way and their relatable lyrics have transcended the growth in age of both the members of the band and their fans, making them timeless.