As the rotating stage rose to its peak nearly forty feet in the air, hovering above a packed general admission floor with the entire band playing, and just as the first notes of "Rockstar" began to fill the ears of fans, it became very apparent that Nickelback does not only want to be rockstars per their lyrics, but that they have reached said status.
As the lights dimmed in the arena and the crowd erupted in rock and roll rapture, Nickelback came on stage and opened with "This Means War," sending the already feverish crowd into a double-horn-throwing sea of rockers. Lead singer Chad Kroeger stood dead center looking as though he was truly acknowledging every single fan in attendance while each other member enthusiastically ran into the crowd on the stage extensions.
There is no room for errors in the realm of arena concert productions, and with ticket prices and fees being what they are, there shouldn't be. The production last night spared no expense with ceiling-reaching LED panels and face-melting pyrotechnics blasting at the peak of select songs. "Something In Your Mouth" followed the opening tracks and kept the energy high with even more blasts of fire. Bits and pieces of the songs' lyrics flashed on the screens backing the Canadian musicians, and the headliners were well on their way into the eighteen-song set.
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There is no shortage of chart-toppers in Nickelback's nearly twenty year career. From softer hits like "Photograph," which is probably the band's number one panty dropper, to older radio hits like "How You Remind Me," it's safe to say that filling in the gaps between such tracks is not a simple task. However, the ebb and flow of last night's show was quite natural, and the gaps between songs were actually filled with other hits, which prompted sing-a-longs and subtle moshing -- and by "subtle moshing," we mean that people were rocking out, just not shit-kicking, pushing and shoving like something you'd probably see at a Godsmack show.
The real treat was the band's immersion in the crowd on a center dropping stage. This is where we heard "Rockstar" and "Someday," which drew on the floor's enthusiasm with invitations to sing along the lyrics. At times, Kroeger would hold out a GoPro camera to pan the crowd, which is a little tacky, but technology is what it is now, and whereas many artists these days simply snap an iPhone photo, at least Nickelback is embracing video technology.
In keeping in true rock and roll fashion, there was a T-shirt cannon and a beer toss about halfway through the show. If there is one thing that Nickelback likes to share with their crowd, it's booze. Multiple references to "wanting to come out and drink with you guys" were made by the lead singer, and at times when the band would venture out on the extended landings, it felt as though they were actually drinking with us. The pyro finale was a great way to end the night, especially after the drum solo treat, courtesy of Daniel Adair, who is the fourth drummer since the band's 1995 inception.
Bush played just before Nickelback, and came out of the gates strong with the fast paced riff of "Machinehead," off the band's 1994 release Sixteen Stone. "Chemicals Between Us," made famous by the 1997 film, An American Werewolf in Paris, came second, but, for some reason, the crowd just wasn't that into it -- maybe it's because the rabid fans of Nickelback spare no energy on opening acts, but Bush fucking rocked, and Gavin Rossdale looks like he hasn't aged since the release of the album. "Little Things," and "Comedown," both also off the aforementioned album, were heard, and the crowd was starting to get into it more, but really everyone wanted Nickelback.
Personal Bias: I love dubstep, trance, techno, bass music, house music, and everything else under the umbrella of electronic dance music -- but this show rocked. And rock shows are cool.
By The Way: Guessing the average age was somewhere in the late twenties to early thirties.
Random Detail: The GoPro cameras got annoying after awhile, but I understand wanting that kind of footage.
Nickelback Pepsi Center, 610/12 Denver, CO
This Means War Something In Your Mouth Never Again Photograph Far Away Bottoms Up Animals Rockstar Someday Lullaby - Falling Stars When We Stand Together Drum Solo How You Remind Me Burn It To The Ground
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