Nickelback + Monster Truck
Thursday 20th October 2016
O2 Arena, London
Nickleback have spent the best part of their career fending off critical disdain. The multi-platinum, million-selling Canadian rockers have dealt with bad reviews, snide remarks and being the butt-end of many a joke, but eight albums in and one sell-out world tour after another, it’s clear that frontman Chad Kroeger and his bandmates are bulletproof. They are in no way cool. They look like a bunch of middle-aged men on their way to the bowling alley Their songs are cheesier than a Parisian fromagerie! And a brilliantly sharp big screen is the best thing about a one-dimensional stage show.. But there seems to be a similar sense of backs-to-the-wall loyalty present in their fans too; the massed ranks of those in attendance sported t-shirts from tours spanning years prior. You can imagine they too must come in for some stick from so-called ‘proper’ music fans for their taste. They even divide opinion amongst the WRC members themselves! Any sense that Nickelback and their supporters are derided at every turn isn’t present at the 02 Arena in London. The four-piece are an interesting live proposition. They mesh high-octane classic rock – surprisingly heavy in parts – with no shortage of crowd interaction and a feel good atmosphere that fills the cavernous venue with positive vibes.
Kicking off the night were fellow-Canadian southern rock band Monster Truck. who brought a very 70’s swagger to the stage along with a lot of noise to boot!! AJ told me they were good and he wasn't wrong!! These guys are coming off the release of their second album ‘Sittin' Heavy’ from the start of the year, and made it clear in their short set that they are one to keep an eye on. Shirt off guitarist Jeremy Widerman was riffing like mad and running all over the place and their stoner rock went down well with the massed ranks who grew in numbers during the set. Bluesy riffs, catchy melodies, upbeat tunes and amp-heavy offerings from their debut album ‘Furiosity’ made for a great start to the night, capturing everyone’s attention and creating further hype for what was to come. They looked right at home on the 02 Arena stage I must say. ‘Old Train’ had plenty of woah woahs and bringing Ryan Peake out early for the guitar solo in ‘For The People’ was a great touch and ‘For The Sun’ showed a slower Bluesy feel to the material.. An excellent support slot and I for one will check them out next time round. AJ has converted me....!!!
Within a few minutes, the lights went out as the crowd erupted with excitement for Nickelback’s arrival. Wasting no time, the Canadian rockers launched into ‘Edge Of A Revolution’, a single from their latest album, ‘No Fixed Address’ and backed by video screens showing images of war, protest and political unrest. Instantly, it was clear that everyone in the room were about to witness a seriously good show.....
As the first song came to an end, the band would show off just how much fun they have performing on stage, as their between-song-banter is second to none. Frontman Chad Kroeger jokes with the crowd like few others can, and how they’re able to stand on stage and sing “silly” songs with titles like ‘Something In Your Mouth’, which they’d go on to perform next. Kroeger is something of a motormouth when it comes to his patter between songs. You largely suspect he loves the sound of his own voice, but as the frontman of one of the bigger bands in the world, you probably would need a sizeable ego to pull you through it .. or a couple of Jaegerbombs, courtesy of the suited-and-booted booze supplier/ tour manager Bradley which he and the band indulged in. . In short, he makes being a rockstar look like fun, rather than a full-time job like some of Nickelback's peers, and the girls on the front row are loving every second of The Chad. Not bad for a man once voted the ugliest man in rock!!!
Following a blistering performance of the fan-favourite tune ‘Animals’, Nickelback took their first trip down memory lane with an older track. Before performing ‘Too Bad’, Kroeger made it clear he wanted people on the floor to jump in time to the chorus, as it looks “badass”. Of course, the crowd complied as they lovingly sang along to one of the band’s bigger hits of the last decade. Unfortunately, this led to a lull in the set. The vast majority of songs that followed were ballads or primarily downbeat and, while they were mostly hits, it did kill a bit of the buzz that was alive in the seated area of the venue. The band even inexplicably opted to perform their more upbeat songs in a “metal jam” that would consist of sections from ‘Flat On The Floor’, ‘Woke Up This Morning’ and ‘Fight For All The Wrong Reasons’, all of which lasted maybe two minutes. There was also a most recent cover of Don Henley's ‘Dirty Laundry’. At one point in the show, Kroeger and guitarist Ryan Peake moved to the front of the stage equipped with acoustic guitars to perform a cover of Big Wreck’s ‘Mistake’, which, while beautiful, is a song most Nickelback fans would only be familiar with if they knew the original or were die-hard enough to have followed Nickelback’s previous live CD releases, further killing the atmosphere a little bit more. Luckily for Nickelback, songs like ‘Photograph’, ‘When We Stand Together’ and ‘Lullaby’ kept the crowd singing along and entertained for the most part.
The audience was truly woken up again when the fun and anthemic ‘Rockstar’ was performed, featuring a special guest from the front row of the crowd called Ian, Ryan Samson and a mass singalong from everyone else., After sending him back into the sea of people, the band would perform ‘Gotta Be Somebody’, before closing their main set with their most successful hit to date – ‘How You Remind Me’. This is a true treat to witness live, being one of those songs that nearly everybody in the world with access to music knows of, there wasn’t a silent body in the building. After waving themselves off stage, Nickelback would return for a 2-song encore set, opening it with a surprising cover of Foo Fighters’ legendary track ‘Everlong’. Ryan Peake would promote himself to lead vocals for this one, and truly amazed the crowd with his vocal prowess that may have otherwise gone unappreciated. Going out with a bang is something these men have always known how to do well, and last night was no different as they finished the concert with an incredible rendition of the monumental ‘Burn It To The Ground’. This was a wonderful way to send everyone home buzzing with joy after having just barked the chorus’ demanding “HEY” back at the stage. I would have to take people's word for this as the WRC had left for the tube by then praying that the Jubilee Line was back working again after the controlled explosion at North Greenwich during the afternoon!!
Nickelback have proved time and time again that they are experts at putting on a top quality rock show, and this latest gig further sent that point home. Chad & Co. are a pleasure to witness on stage as they clearly enjoy what they do and don’t hide that fact during their on-stage banter between each other. Despite slowing the set down quite a bit following the first three songs, this is a night that Nickelback fans will fondly remember for a long time. That's if you like them in the first place of course.. A proper Marmite band... I have always liked Marmite so no problems for me
therefore I personally find it hard not to like them.. A sort of cross between Pearl Jam and Bon Jovi if you ask me....And a lesson in perfectly assured showmanship that's for sure...
1. Edge Of A Revolution
2. Something in Your Mouth
4. Too Bad
5. Far Away
9. Figured You Out
10. If Today Was Your Last Day
11. Mistake (Big Wreck cover)
12. Dirty Laundry(Don Henley cover)
13. Flat on the Floor/Fight for All the Wrong Reasons / Because of You (Instrumental Medley)
14. Woke Up This Morning
15. When We Stand Together
16. What Are You Waiting For?
17. Rockstar (with Ryan Samson and fan Ian)
18. This Afternoon
19. Gotta Be Somebody
20. How You Remind Me
21. Everlong (Foo Fighters Cover- Ryan Peake - lead vocals)
22. Burn It To The Ground
Wrinkly the Silver