It was a cold rainy May night in Sydney but that’s wasn’t going to stop the thousands of Nickelback fans descending on Allphones arena for a night of rock anthems. The bar lines and merch stands were full of people early on as the crowd got ready for the night ahead. Nickelback have a strong passionate Australian fanbase and this was evident by the overwhelming large crowd filling up the venue by the minute.
First up on stage providing support was fellow Canadian rock band Monster Truck. Whilst it’s not easy for any band to support in large arenas Monster Truck certainly held their own. They are not a band that most people would of heard of but they have a great groove rock sound that was welcomed by the audience. The long haired and bearded Canadians rocked through a set full of heavy Led Zepplin inspired riffs and blues rock swagger.
After a break that allowed punters the chance to get more beers the venue neared capacity as the lights dimmed for the start of the show. Nickelback burst onto the stage accompanied by huge stadium rock show lighting and sound with jumbo screens to project every moment. They started the set with the high energy “Million Miles An Hour” which is the opening track from their new album No Fixed Address. Chad then stopping after the song to greet the crowd saying ok it’s time for a sexy song and kicked into the very tongue in check track “Something In Your Mouth”. Next up was the radio hit “Photograph” which slowed things down but had the audience echoing ever word.
Chad then explained that the next song they were about to play was one of their biggest but doesn’t actually feature on a Nickelback album. The song was “Hero” and can be found on the Spiderman soundtrack. With the band only 4 songs in I couldn’t help thinking this band is a rock hit making machine. Their formula of lyrics that the audience instantly relates to with familiar rock chords and riff just works. It’s undeniable how catchy their songs are. With all 4 band members on stage providing great stage presence and connecting with the large crowd.
Next up they flowed through the hits “Gotta Be Somebody” and “Faraway”. After picking things back up for another new song and instant crowd favourite “Edge Of A Revolution”. Which provided man opportunities for call and response style chanting from the crowd. Now that the crowd was well and truly warmed up the band then stopped the set to have a beer. Not wanting to drink alone the boys from Monster Truck came out onto the stage to join them. Things then got a little crazy on stage as t-shirt gun cannons were fired into the audience shooting out free merch. The band played a instrumental backing track mix of Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” and Pantera’s “Walk” whilst cups of beer were hurled out onto the audience. The crowd was loving every moment of these stage antics.
With some beer now in Nickelback’s system the rock show rolled on with some more sing along crowd favourites coming in the form of “Too Bad” and the ballad “Someday”. Chads vocals live were flawless showing that they are one of those bands that can sound the same live as recorded which is not always the case with big rock acts. Before then playing “Animals” Chad paused to tell the audience they actually wrote the song in Australia gaining large cheers from the crowd and making the song more special. They then covered Zepplin’s “Moby Dick” which led into a impressive drum solo from Daniel Adair.
“She Keeps Me Up” then changed the musical direction slightly as it’s more of a funk rock track with an element of Nickelback trademark sexual content thrown in. Nickelback also showed their musicianship by deciding to play karaoke with the audience. With the crowd providing vocal duties for both “Summer of 69” and “Hotel California”.
They then played “Rockstar” which gave the crowd even more reason to sing. As they helped Chad Kroeger sing the lyrics that explain what it’s like to be a rockstar. Then those now words etched into lyrical rock music history echoed throughout the arena “I like your pants around your feet” signalling it was time for the upbeat “Figured You Out”.
Which went down well with audience.
The absolute highlight of the night came from Nickelback’s breakthrough hit and most well known song “How You Remind Me”. Chad even stopping to tell the crowd without this song they wouldn’t be where they are. Scenezine interviewed bass player Mike Kroeger before the tour and he let us know the song came together really easily in the writing process and he still loves playing it. This was evident as both the band and audience were loving every moment of “How You Remind Me”. The song itself is so powerful for it’s story telling ability and displays all of the ballad versus hard rock elements Nickelback are known for.
After the last chord rung out the band left the stage as it turned to darkness. Now if the night would of ended there that would of been fine but this was a rock show and rock shows require big encores. Shadows of band members then began to appear on the dimly light stage as the first chords of “Everlong” by Foo Fighters started to play. Guitarist Ryan Peake took on vocal duties as the stage lit back up giving Chad the chance to run the length of the stage interacting with the crowd whilst playing guitar. The cover was very true to the original and well known by the crowd but I couldn’t help thinking that does a band who has 8 albums of songs need put so many covers in a set. What it did help to show though was the similarities between both bands. While Foo Fighters get a lot more critical acclaim both bands are really providing the same thing which is stadium radio rock for the masses.
Lastly Nickelback closed the night with probably their heaviest track to date “Burn It To The Ground”. The song has been used heavily throughout WWE wrestling advertising and rightly so as it’s a perfect fist in the air rock anthem. What better way to end the night with the hard rock riffs pounded through the speakers with Chad yelling in appreciation and gratitude Syyydddnneyyy!
So there you go love them or hate there’s no denying Nickelback certainly do rock. Nickelback are a band that have been together for 20 years and keep providing hit after hit. The over 16,000 strong Sydney crowd definitely helped cement Australia as priority for every future Nickelback world tour.
NICKELBACK Set List
Million Miles an Hour
Something in Your Mouth
Gotta Be Somebody
Edge of a Revolution
Master of Puppets / Walk
She Keeps Me Up
Summer of 69 / Hotel California
When We Stand Together
Figured You Out
How You Remind Me
Burn It to the Ground
Photos by Christian Ross
Review by Leah Russell