|Montreal pop punk band Simple Plan in Toronto Feb. 19, 2012 at the Air Canada Centre. (VERONICA HENRI/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Get Your Heart On! is the name of Simple Plan’s latest album and 9,000 screaming fans had no problem showing the Montreal pop-punk band the love as the group touched down for a high-energy show at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday night.
Ironically, singer Pierre Bouvier, lead guitarist Jeff Stinco, rhythm guitarist Sébastien Lefebvre, bassist, resident hambone, and natty dresser David Desrosiers (in a fedora and shaking his bum a lot) and drummer Chuck Comeau launched their 90-minute set with the older hit, Shut Up!, but there was no way their devoted fans were going to do anything of the kind.
“I think you guys are on fire tonight,” said Bouvier, dressed in red plaid shirt which fit in nicely with the band’s red-and-white themed production, including an impressive wall of speakers on either side of Comeau’s drum kit.
Bouvier and his bandmates had the audience singing, clapping, punching air and even jumping along to older tunes like Jump -- which included a snippet of Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling -- When I’m Gone, Addicted, Thank You, Your Love Is a Lie, Worst Day Ever, I’d Do Anything (with Desrosiers stage diving into the crowd), I’m Just a Kid, and even performed a medley of covers -- Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger, Taio Cruz’s Dynamite and LMFAO’s I’m Sexy And I Know It with Bouvier and two guys in full head-to-toe red-and-white jumpsuits training cameras on the crowd.
New songs like Can’t Keep My Hands Off You, You Suck At Love, Freaking Me Out, Jet Leg, This Song Saved My Life Tonight, and Loser Of the Year, also went over well but nothing could match the atmosphere created when Bouvier encouraged cellphones and glow sticks to be waved during another newbie, Astronaut.
“You guys are stars,” he said.
Similarly, red-and-white plastic beach balls dropped down from the ceiling during their latest single, Summer Paradise, as Bouvier asked: “Does anybody want to go to the beach with me?”
And when Bouvier wandered into the crowd to stand on the railing between the stands and the floor during older song Welcome To My Life, the crowd joined in with a major sing-and-wave-along.
The final song of the night, another early hit, Perfect, featured Bouvier alone on stage with his acoustic guitar before he was joined by the rest of the band as a blast of red and white confetti finished off the tune.
“Ten years ago, Toronto was one of the first places we ever heard a crowd sing,” added Bouvier as the show wound down before two encores. “You guys are the best fans in the world.”
Among the openers last night were Vancouver pop-punk band Marianas Trench, currently riding high on the success of their fairytale-themed third album, Ever After, recently nominated for a best pop album Juno Award.
Flashy frontman Josh Ramsay, also enjoying songwriter success as the co-writer of Call Me Maybe by Vancouver pop singer Carly Rae Jespen, just signed to the label of Justin Bieber’s manager, first appeared climbing out of an oversized music box to perform the title track off that album and periodically climbed on to oversized building blocks on either side of the stage.
Ramsay was quite the sight in oh-so-shiny and tight bright red pants and his hair styled with a sparkly white streak at the front.
He liked to throw his arms back dramatically when he sang, and also went for a run through the crowd on the floor during Celebrity Status and into the stands on the followup song, Fallout.
His lower-key bandmates -- lead guitarist Matt Webb, bassist Mike Ayley, drummer Ian Casselman -- were dressed more conservatively in matching black and gold military-like jackets making Ramsay the undisputed star of the show.
You get the distinct feeling that when Marianas Trench next play the ACC, they might be the headliners.
SIMPLE PLAN SET LIST
Can’t Keep My Hands Off You
Jump (snippet of I Gotta Feeling)
When I’m Gone
Freaking Me Out
You Suck At Love
Your Love Is A Lie
Covers medley: Moves Like Jagger, Dynamite, I’m Sexy and I Know It
The Worst Day Ever
This Song Saved My Life
Welcome To My Life
I’d Do Anything
Loser Of The Year
I’m Just A Kid