Concert Review: Good Charlotte Will Rock ‘Til The Day that I Die

Photo courtesy of Lauren Ziolkowski

Photo courtesy of Lauren Ziolkowski

After being fortunate enough to see The Districts a few weeks back with my brother and best friend, I’ve been a concert fiend ever since. When another friend of mine insisted that we drive to East Stroudsburg, PA – a city that neighbors my own town – to see Good Charlotte, I was all about it. While I wasn’t sure how impressed I would be with the live performance of a band that’s been around for just about 25 years, I couldn’t help but be hyped that I was seeing one of the first bands I ever loved. Just thinking about the concert took me all the way back to those days of listening to “Boys & Girls” on repeat and playing Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 with my older brothers.

The first band that opened for Good Charlotte was Like Pacific, a thrashy little punk band founded in Ontario. The group drew a ton of energy from the crowd – especially those few people that already knew most of their songs. Their set was relatively short, however certainly not short of impressive. They managed to squeeze in a couple of personal anthems – something that surprised me for a band the majority of the audience knew little about. Despite my limited knowledge on the band and each of its members’ personal histories, I really vibed with some of their more intimate songs.

The second band, Crown the Empire, had more of a hardcore sound to them. While I had heard of the band from scene kids whose arms were covered in Crown the Empire rubber bracelets in middle school, I had never really listened to them until this night. Their vocalist, Andrew Velasquez, was amped up for the entire performance. Crown the Empire had taken a break from performing and this night was their first night back at it – lucky me!

Photo courtesy of Lauren Ziolkowski

Photo courtesy of Lauren Ziolkowski

The third band, Less Than Jake, is a personal favourite of mine. In fact, I had no idea they were even performing at the Good Charlotte show until only shortly before we arrived, when I noticed their t-shirts at the merch tables. A brief ska performance right before Good Charlotte was the perfect way to get the crowd hyped. The audience was skanking away, LTJ’s trombone player, Buddy Shaub, was running back and forth across stage, I lost my shoe somewhere in the pit – it was a wild opening act.

And then it was time for Good Charlotte. As the lights dimmed and the stage crew got to work screwing together microphone stands and plugging in equipment of all kinds, the crowd pushed up closer to the stage and buzzed in anticipation. As always, those fifteen minutes before the headlining band comes on were the longest.

There is no doubt that security was moderately concerned when Good Charlotte started off the concert with “The Anthem”. Everyone in the audience was jamming to that throwback: pre-teens, men and women 40+ years old, and, of course, those 20-something year-olds that had grown up downloading every track from The Young and the Hopeless off Limewire.

Relieved the theatre hadn’t burned down during “The Anthem”, security eased off a bit and allowed the crowd to fully throw themselves into the chaos of the show. Obvious jams like “Boys & Girls”, “Dancefloor Anthem”, “Little Things”, and “My Blood Valentine” had the crowd (myself included) going nuts. Lighters were pulled out for more emotional songs like “Hold On”.

The band did a really solid job interacting with the crowd. Several speeches were made about the depression and personal issues many of the members dealt with and how these obstacles inspired so many of their songs. They were endlessly grateful for the support of old and new fans and made that incredibly clear. The concert concluded with “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous” which, appropriately, frightened security once again (No security guard wants to hear 2,000+ people screaming, “We’ll take your clothes, cash, cars, and homes, just stop complaining”).

It was such a privilege to see this band I had worshipped during my childhood live. If you ever get the opportunity to do something similar, take advantage of it. Telling people I got to see Good Charlotte is a pretty cool bragging right.