An all-ages Sunday-night show in Chicago isn't one you'd expect to be crowded, but on this particular school night, something other than sleeping was in session. When Good Charlotte comes to town, what you can expect is for everyone to follow. Fans from farther than just the city's edges and suburbs made their way to the Metro, some claiming to have waited in line since the wee morning hours. Show-goers definitely had expectations of Good Charlotte at this sold-out performance on October 8, 2006, and the group definitely met mine with their engaging performance.
The crowd grew impatient as the half-hour gap advanced between the time the two opening bands finished and the headliners showed their faces. Eager screams accompanied every pre-performance activity on stage in the fans' anticipation; and at 8:30 p.m., when the band stepped on the stage, kids up way past their bedtime and chaperones were just as wide-eyed as the teen and twenty-something Good Charlotte devotees.
The members, tattoo-clad and dressed mostly in black (except Joel Madden in his signature white button-up and black tie under a jacket) casually commenced their performance. The brothers Madden took center stage with original members Paul Thomas and Billy Martin and were backed up by drummer Dean Butterworth. They launched in to "The Anthem" from The Young and the Hopeless sophomore album and followed that with an impressive shuffle of songs from the three existing CDs. The audience wasn't at all deprived of new Good Charlotte tunes from the upcoming release. The pop punk five some gave fans a taste of some of their latest recordings, "Misery" and "Keep Your Hands Off My Girl," dedicating the latter to Paul's mom in the audience. Fans sang along having visited the band's MySpace page to memorize the lyrics of the advanced track.
As the night heated up, Joel lost his long sleeved look to a black cutoff tee, Paul's birthday was announced, Benji joked with Joel, and the crowd partied on as Chicago was dubbed the bands favorite stop on the tour so far. As Joel took true fans back to memories of other shows in Chicago, such as one in particular at the Vic, the band got personal with the city and its musical offerings and the fans fell even more under the spell of their sound.
The vigor Good Charlotte came with was consistent, as was the impressive quality of the strong vocal and instrumental sounds. Viewers were sad to see the perspiring punk band close out their performance, but the guys did it with a bang by playing some of my personal favorites from The Chronicles of Life and Death, "I Just Wanna Live" and "Ghost of You". Not only did the band cater to fans from the stage but they stuck around after the concert to sign autographs and take photos outside before retreating to their tour bus. True people-pleasers, proving it with a huge web of adoring fans, Good Charlotte has a big permanent tattooed-on star in my book.