(From left to right) Guitarist and keyboardist Billy Martin, bassist Paul Thomas, vocalist Joel Madden, drummer Dean Butterworth, and vocalist and guitarist Benji Madden (Photo courtesy of Ville Juurikkala)
Santiago Canyon College

Concert Review: Good Charlotte brings nostalgia and an anthemic sound to ‘Generation Rx’ Tour

Good Charlotte has established itself as a leading pop punk band with a definitive sound that utilizes elements of alternative, rock, metal, and pop integrated with lyrics aimed at opening a dialogue on modern social issues that continues to resonate with the mainstream.

The band originally formed in 1996 by vocalist Joel Madden, vocalist and guitarist Benji Madden, and bassist Paul Thomas now includes drummer Dean Butterworth and guitarist and keyboardist Billy Martin. They released their seventh studio record “Generation Rx” on September 14, 2018 and toured 32 cities across North America from mid-October to late November in support of the record, according to Good Charlotte’s official website.

Onstage at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Nov. 21, 2018, Benji fitted in a black Dodgers jersey expressed the band’s love for Los Angeles and how it feels like their hometown. Though the band originated in Maryland, the Madden brothers have both lived in Los Angeles for over 15 years.

After almost two decades of performing in Los Angeles, the band continues to have gratitude for selling out venues within their adoptive hometown. This sense of gratefulness from the band was reciprocated by the audience, as the audience sang every word on their setlist that varied from B-Sides to more notable singles, like “The Anthem” and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

The gratefulness was also met with a sense of nostalgia as the band reflected on their humble rise to fame in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, and how their music played a role in many of the audience member’s experiences in middle and high school.

Benji told the audience, “Just for L.A. tonight, you know what I want to do, I’m just going to let whatever year pops into my head [and] I’m going to close my eyes and think of a year and I’m going to play a song from that year. And I want you to think about where you were at [and] what’s the memory with the song.”

This sense of nostalgia led the Madden brothers to discuss their journey to fame that opened a dialogue with the audience about how negative childhood experiences led them to pursue music. Integrating their personal experiences with topics on a global scale, the band onstage continued to discuss feminism, suicide prevention, the current political climate, and the destruction of the California wildfires.

The transition from the band’s anthemic sound to a more serious nature was marked by the stage being lit with blue lights while beams of white light were projected on the audience to give a cathedral-like setting for “Prayers.” This song off their newest record touches on immigration in our current political climate.

Continuing to engage with the audience, Benji opened up about the human condition and how, “every single one of us is going to come to a crossroads in our lives where we get hit with something really hard that’s going to put us down. And I want to encourage you guys to never give up, and to reach, and dig down and find the heart to get back up and keep fighting,” leading into the 2002 suicide prevention song “Hold On.”

Not to belabor about the hardships in their life, but instead looking at the joys of life amongst the hardships, the band proceeded to laugh with the audience about their first band meeting in the living room of Thomas’s mom’s home during their sophomore year in high school.

Thomas was then grounded, but his mom proceeded to allow the band into her home the next day. Good Charlotte then wrote their self-titled debut album at her house, and now credit her as playing a pivotal role in the success.

The band has since written songs alongside musicians prevalent in the modern rock sound, including M. Shadows (Matthew Sanders) and Synyster Gates (Brian Haner Jr.) of Avenged Sevenfold, according to Rolling Stone. Their 2007 single “The River” features a very metal sound attributed to their collaboration with members of Avenged Sevenfold while also containing a very poetic and beautifully-crafted lyrics. The juxtaposition between the two elements comes alive onstage and puts the audience in a hypnotic-like trance.

This poetic metal sound was then replaced by a collection of Good Charlotte’s more pop and dance influenced songs from the early 2000s, like the appropriately named “Dance Floor Anthem.” Then dwindling to final song “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” Joel prompted the already energetic audience to stand up and wave their hands in celebration. Confetti then rained on the audience as the band once again expressed their gratitude and promised that they had big plans for 2019.

Following the conclusion of the North America tour, Good Charlotte will begin the European branch of their tour on January 31.


  1. Self Help
  2. The Anthem
  3. The Story of My Old Man
  4. Keep Your Hands Off My Girl
  5. Girls & Boys
  6. Riot Girl
  7. Life Changes
  8. Prayers
  9. Predictable
  10. Hold On
  11. Little Things
  12. The Young and The Hopeless
  13. The River
  14. Dance Floor Anthem (I Don’t Want To Be In Love)
  15. I Just Wanna Live
  16. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous