Review by Carolyn Brown

“Who has been listening to Good Charlotte for a long ass time? We’ve grown up together haven’t we? Let’s go back…”

Good Charlotte performed the final show of the European leg of the Generation Rx tour Wednesday night at the iconic Alexandra Palace. Surprisingly, it was their biggest show in the UK since the band formed in 1996. Although the show wasn’t sold out, the grand venue was chock-full of atmosphere and pop punk devotees sticking to the unofficial dress code of a hoodie and vans ready for an alternative night to sitting at home watching the Brit Awards.

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The tour follows the rock band’s release of their seventh studio album, Generation Rx in September 2018. The band have had multiple successes in the past, from receiving platinum certification with ‘The Young and the Hopeless’ and a gold certification for the ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Girl’ video. It seems as though the band have held on to their unique sound which mixes catchy pop-style melodies with punk rock layers as a way of often expressing depressing realities of societies and the struggles of being. This consistency in style and the relevance of the lyrical stories they tell seem to be the key to their success and dedicated fan base they still have today.

The gig begins with an ethereal, sci-fi kind of sound; It’s the album title track ‘Generation Rx’. Dean Butterworth enters the stage and begins to mix in drum beats which slowly build to create suspense and waves of excitement amongst the crowd. The rest of the band are welcomed with a roaring cheer as they join Butterworth on stage and kick off with ‘Self Help’. It was an electrifying and powerful entrance as the band bounced around amongst the frantic strobe lights and the pyrotechnics secured us a BIG American welcome as they morphed into the first of many classics ‘The Anthem’. Other new songs they performed such as ‘Shadow Boxer’ and ‘Prayers’ mixed seamlessly with the old tunes meaning anyone who was clearly just there for the throwbacks could enjoy the full set.

The chatty and lovingly humble Joel Madden couldn’t have shown more appreciation for the fans, old and new, who “parted with their hard-earned cash” to come see them play. He often stopped for long stints between songs to talk about the bands 23 year (!!!) long journey and how they wouldn’t be successful without the support from their fans. “Londooooon you have always been so kind to Good Charlotte” he expressed in adoration as they had ‘always wanted to play here’. Apparently us Brits bring ‘Good Vibes’ to the room, a world away from the stressful politics of America (let’s just nod and agree and not mention Brexit yeah?). Madden’s playful personality was infectious and made for a really entertaining journey through the setlist.

It was amazing how the band seemed to want to pack us all up into the DeLorean and take us back in time to soak up some nostalgia. “Where were you in the year 2000?” Madden asked us, and “think back to where you were… in 2004…”. They really hyped up their big hits from the early noughties such as ‘Girls & Boys’ and ‘The River’ and tapped into the emotional baggage we all thought we had left behind in our teens. They didn’t shy away from playing the old bangers we know and have loved for many years. They didn’t think they were too cool or older and better now, they really embraced it. After all, as Madden expressed “I’m still emotional I just hide it better now, who else hides it better now?” the whole crowd apparently. And in that moment, I realised I wasn’t just physically standing between the sweaty, beer drenched moshers and the sensible grown-ups at the back but in there mentally too.

Overall the show was energetic, feel-good and encapsulating. It was full of confessions of adorations and acknowledgement of the struggles of mental health which was a powerful message throughout. “The band saved my life… don’t take too lightly if you feel like giving up. Every single one of you deserves to live your best life. Being a human being is f***ing painful.”

Set List:

Generation Rx / Self Help / The Anthem / The Story of My Old Man / Keep Your Hands Off My Girl / Girls & Boys / Life Changes / Actual Pain /Shadow Boxer / Predictable / The Chronicles of Life and Death / Prayers / Hold On /WaldorfWorldwide / Little Things / The Yound and the Hopeless / Leech (Performed with Sam Carter) / The River /Dance Floor Anthem /I Just Wanna Live / Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous

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