Good Charlotte (photo: Estefany Gonzalez)
It’s been more than six years since Good Charlotte released a new album, yet as I looked at the crowd of swaying bodies on the floor of The Warfield Theatre on October 25, it appeared as though no time had passed. Taking a page from the early 2000s when pop-punk was all the rage, the theater was full of crowd-surfers, mosh-pit makers, and people jumping in time to the beat of the music.
The band performed few songs off its newest record, Youth Authority, and instead played a compilation of songs from all six of its studio albums. The group kicked off the night with “The Anthem,” off The Young and The Hopeless, an album which put Good Charlotte on mainstream radar back in 2002. The track felt like a fitting start as I heard the crowd shout lyrics to the song, as though it had become a pledge they’d learned to recite by heart.
Unlike with most reunion shows, MTV hits and newer songs weren’t the only ones the audience sang along with. “Little Things,”a track of the band’s first album, was one of the biggest crowd-pleasers. Lead singer Joel Madden said the song “was one of the craziest of the night” during the band’s European tour, which surprised him because he didn’t think anyone knew it.
The Bay Area was no exception to that European trend. Sure enough, this song earned the most crowd participation. People around me on the balcony left their seats to dance in the aisles. It was as though people forgot they were being watched and moved like rag dolls flailing in the wind. On the floor, I could see grown men jumping, and a girl who made a face like it was Christmas morning when Joel Madden touched her hand as she crowd-surfed before security fished her out.
I saw the crowd shift from moshing to dancing during pop hits such as “I Don’t Want To Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem)” off Good Morning Revival — a song Joel Madden said was a “break up, get back together or meet someone new song.” The song seemed to be one almost everyone in the crowd could relate to because, during the chorus, I could hear screams of “I don’t want want to be in love” echo off the theatre walls.
Slower songs were welcome, too. The girl next to me shouted “I love you,” as Benji Madden introduced “Hold On,” a song he said was about how music saved his life and dedicated to anyone out in the audience struggling to make their dreams come true. He told the crowd he grew up with nothing and that music was what got him through his high school days. “You can always come back to music,” he said.”If you feel like I’m talking to you, this song is for you.”
Of course, it wouldn’t have been a proper Good Charlotte show without “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” by then, the majority of the audience found their way towards the stage, myself included. The song earned the band a regular slot on TRL, then later some flack after gaining popularity and starting a clothing line.
As people around me sang about entitled celebrities who wouldn’t last a day on the streets, I thought about how the song was released almost 15 years ago, and how it still made hundreds of people around me smile.