“Going through these life changes…going through these life changes.” That’s the chorus echoed by Good Charlotte front man, Joel Madden, as he encourages a vivacious and electric Calgary crowd to raise its collective voice in harmony. Life changes; that’s the theme that resonates throughout the pop-punk outfits set at the Palace Theatre in Calgary. This is a band that’s been through a lot in its 21 year history, and isn’t afraid to wear the good, the bad and the ugly on its tatted sleeve. In fact, the group firmly embraces and defends its history, often referencing stories throughout the set about the bands psyche and head space with each album, each song.
It is a truly refreshing, and honest perspective from an act that could simply go through the motions as it moves its way across our expansive country that is Canada. That was the most enjoyable part of the show; hearing the thought process behind certain songs and the raw emotion that comes with the catharsis of song writing. The highlight of the night, was a truly touching moment in which Madden provided insight into the song “Riot Girl”, from the band’s 2002 breakthrough album ‘The Young and the Hopeless’. A lot has changed for Madden over the past 17 years, as he referenced the fact that he has become a father and how he now thinks about a song he wrote almost two decades ago, with a fresh perspective. One that empowers his daughter, as well as all women (and people for that matter) to be true to themselves and maintain a strong and healthy outlook towards the world. A message that needs to be continually repeated in a society that can often be superficial and propelled by vanity.
The music was as fierce as the ongoing narrative of hope, equality and inspiration – with Madden referencing a strong need to always welcome, embrace and accept people of all creeds, orientation and backgrounds. This is a band that seems to have recaptured the spark that defined its original DNA, as they ripped through songs of old and new with an impassioned purpose – while always taking the time to address and thank the crowd, in a honest, raw and at times touching fashion. The bands first new album in roughly seven years is fittingly titled ‘Youth Authority’, as the group has unquestionably gone through many life changes, but has chosen to forge its own path on its own terms. Perhaps an updated ‘Motivation Proclamation’ for fans both old and new alike.