To say New Found Glory (NFG) embarked on an ambitious tour this Spring would be a vast understatement. Therefore, it may not be a coincidence that to open their first of two nights at The Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif. the band started things off appropriately with the lead off track from their album Sticks and Stones and pure energy anthem, “Understatement.”
The 20 Years of Pop Punk tour may be similar to those album anniversary tours seen recently by pop punk mainstays such as Yellowcard and Simple Plan where an album (usually one of more significance) is played from beginning to end live. The difference here would be, and in typical New Found Glory fashion, one album simply wasn’t enough.
To celebrate 20 years of albums, live shows and amazing fans, NFG decided that they would perform not one, not two, not even three, but six albums in their entirety, live, in non-sequential order; playing two albums at each show. Fans in Southern California had plenty of dates to choose from with two concerts in Santa Ana and three at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif. Each show giving fans a choice of which albums they wanted to hear and in the case of the April 21 show at the Observatory, the band's third (Sticks and Stones) and fourth album (Catalyst) were it!
Arguably two of their best albums, and without a doubt the two most successful, this night felt special from beginning to end. After lead guitarist Chad Gilbert reminded the crowd that they were in for a long night due to the 27 songs needed to be played, the band wasted no time showing Santa Ana why they still sell out shows coast to coast. Songs like “All Downhill from Here,” “Something I Call Personality” and “Failure’s Not Flattering” easily got the crowd into a frenzied sing-along, while more toned down jams (using that term lightly) such as “Belated,” “Sonny” and “Ending in Tragedy” reminded fans that even bands with an un-quenching thirst for maximizing the energy in a room can still show their soft side, after all, that’s what pop punk truly is.
To close out the night, it was time for the next generation of pop punk fans (and possibly musicians) to take the stage. As a sign of good faith and making true on a promise made earlier in the night, Chad Gilbert brought three young fans on stage to help sing the song that brought NFG to the masses, “My Friends Over You.” As confetti rained down, these three youngsters did an honorable job carrying the torch for the future of pop punk, and when it was all over, fans were once again reminded why they keep coming back to see New Found Glory live again and again: for the fun, the feeling and the friends.