You may have heard by now that Maryland pop-punkers Good Charlotte are currently in the midst of the Canadian leg of their Youth Authority tour. They made a stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba over the weekend and our own Ellen was there to soak it all in. Read all about her experience below!
Fair warning: this is going to be the second most fan girlish thing I’ve ever written.
Something happened to me this past weekend. Something life changing. Something so incredible, I don’t even know the right words to describe it. And yes, of course, I’m talking about the fact that I finally got to see Good Charlotte live. Now I know that probably sounds ridiculous, and you’re probably sitting there thinking ‘how could a concert full of a bunch of punks be life changing?’ but let me give you a bit of a back story here. This is a band that I have been listening to since I was ten years old. That was about the age I made the discovery of pop punk music and my world began to change. Good Charlotte (along with Simple Plan) was one of the first bands I ever listened to that really introduced me to that whole genre. I remember I was in 5th grade, and this boy that I liked used to bring Good Charlotte and Simple Plan’s first albums to school and he would play them on the class CD player. I of course wanted to impress him, so I pretended to be into it. But I faked it so well that it became real, and I genuinely fell in love with both of those bands. When someone mentions pop punk, Good Charlotte is one of the first bands to pop into my head. There is not one kid that grew up around the early 2000s that can say they don’t like at least one GC song. With iconic songs like The Anthem, Girls & Boys, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, I Just Wanna Live, and so many more, they’re a band that really helped shape and define pop punk music into what it is today. They are literal living legends. With all of that being said, you probably have a fair understanding now of why this weekend was so cool for me. I waited almost 14 years to finally get my chance to see them live, and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be.
After what seemed like an eternity, at about 10:20pm, Good Charlotte made their way onto the stage. First of all, let me just say, I have never seen a band walk on stage so casually before. The lights hadn’t even gone off yet, there was no unnecessary long intro (thank god), I didn’t even realize they were up there until they jumped into their first song. They kicked things off with The Anthem, which just happens to be one of my favourites. I spent the entire first song just gazing up at the stage, almost like I was in a dream. It definitely didn’t feel real to me. In fact, it wasn’t until about six songs into their set that I finally realized that life was actually happening. I’ve seen a lot of shows and a lot of bands in my lifetime, but I have truly never been so captivated and so in awe of anyone before. I mean, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that this band literally grew up with me and was there for me through every phase of my life.
They went straight into The Story of my Old Man next, followed by My Bloody Valentine. Halfway through the latter, Joel took a moment to welcome the crowd and get a little personal. “I wanna know, hands in the air if this is your first time seeing Good Charlotte” he told the crowd as the majority of the people raised their hands. He continued on asking who had listened to them back in middle school and high school. “So basically you’re saying we’ve been through a whole lot of shit together, right Winnipeg?” Yup, you got that right Madden.
Next up was Girls & Boys, and, wow. Remember how I said this show was life changing for me? Well, this was one of those moments. This is such an iconic song, it was so surreal for me hearing it live. I remember listening to this song over and over again back in the day. Of course, the crowd went wild for this one.
About halfway through the set, Benji took the mic to say a few words. “This is the only part of the show I’m gonna be serious, I promise” he said before talking a bit about the history of the band, and how it’s all because of the fans that they’re able to live the lives they do. He gave an emotional speech about how life can be tough sometimes, but to never give up, telling the crowd that everybody in that room wanted them there. This lead right into one of the band’s most relatable songs, Hold On. They picked things back up with Makeshift Love, one of the singles off their latest release, Youth Authority. Now, I just want to take a second to point out that these guys have been doing this for a very long time now (21 years to be exact), but they are still the most kind, humble guys you’ll ever come across. They made sure to stop and thank the crowd after just about every song, and thanked us for choosing to spend our night with them. I think it’s very easy to tell the difference between a band who is genuine with their fans and a band who isn’t, and Good Charlotte is definitely on the good side of that. And speaking from a fan point of view, it is so nice and reassuring when a band you’ve looked up to for years is exactly who you’d hoped they were.
I must say one of my favourite parts of the show came right near the end of the set. “You’re special. You gotta make sure that they treat you special. You gotta love yourself. And if they’re not treating you special, get yourself back out there, try again,” Joel told the crowd before going into Dance Floor Anthem and getting the crowd screaming “I don’t wanna be in love” at the top of their lungs, a moment I was living for.
They ended the show with one of their biggest hits, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Yep, you guessed it, yet another surreal moment for me. The crowd was absolutely insane during this one, rightfully so. And before I knew it, the dream was over. But not before the band thanked the crowd a million more times and showered us with love of course.
Seeing this show was an absolute dream come true for me. I’m so thankful that I have had Good Charlotte to lean on for the last 14 years of my life. If you’re a pop punk fan who grew up around the same time as I did, chances are you probably feel the same way and know exactly where I’m coming from. There are literally no other words to truly describe this band other than iconic and legendary. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for growing up with me. Congrats on 21 years boys, and here’s to 21 more.
Check out my vlog from the show below!