As it was the hottest day of the year in Dallas, so far, it would have been the perfect time to skip an outdoor concert. Or, at least, show up late after the sun went down. That wasn’t the case, though, as Nickelback sold out the Starplex Pavilion and everybody showed up. Everyone was sweaty and smelly, but it didn’t matter as they all smelled the same. The sweatiest of the bunch, though, were the musicians on the stage as the sun stayed directly on them until it set later that night. The band didn’t let it deter them from giving it their all in an energetic live show. Frontman Chad Kroeger is a consummate entertainer and has learned how to work a crowd over the years.
The cheering began as the lights dimmed and the band walked onstage amid a pulsing light show on stage and on the video screen behind them. The crowd jumped as Kroeger started “Feed The Machine” from their recently released album of the same name.
The band moved right into “Woke Up This Morning” as they got the audience involved. Saying, “Let’s hear it for the gorgeous Texas women,” Chad launched into the laid back “Photograph” and basked in the limelight.
The screen showed the lyrics to “Far Away,” which allowed the few people in the crowd who didn’t know the words to sing along. As he was all night, Kroeger was playful onstage and kept the crowd laughing with his engaging personality. He then segued into the grunge-like “Too Bad” with its finishing jam that showed the talent of all the musicians.
Drummer Daniel Adair laid down a pounding beat and was the focal point of the alternative-rock song “Someday.” A video of individuals making a difference in the world was emotionally charged and served as a sobering background for “Because Of You.” The Canadian band then brought out singer Chris Daughtry to a huge ovation and he excited the audience with “Savin’ Me.” The fans exploded in applause after singing along to the intense song.
Saying, “If you go to the bathroom because this is a new song, bring me a beer,” Kroeger mesmerized the crowd with the soon-to-be-a-hit “Song On Fire.” Continuing the humor, he added, “I’m privileged to sing a line in this song – ‘You look so much cuter with something in your mouth.’” The hard rock “Something In Your Mouth” had him singing into a modulated old-style microphone to get that deep bass in his voice. Naturally, everyone in attendance shouted that line of the refrain at the top of their collective lungs.
In another fan-friendly move, they brought up two members of the audience to help sing “Rockstar.” Of course, one of them was a beautiful woman wearing a cleavage-baring top. In a gentlemanly act of kindness, Chad was nice enough to wipe the perspiration off “the twins” to the delight of 16,000 screaming, and envious, fans.
As a lark, they began playing “Hotel California” and the crowd took over the vocals. The band tried to stop a couple of times, but the fans wouldn’t quit singing. The spontaneity was thrilling to everyone. After a quip about wishing the fans liked their music that much, the group broke into “When We Stand Together” and the extremely loyal crowd sang this one, too.
The audience absolutely exploded at the heavy guitar riff of “Animals.” The combination of a pulsating rock song, the smoke cannon blasting clouds of smoke into the air and the excitement of the crowd made this a highlight of the night. Chad and his brother, bassist Mike Kroger, kept up a running conversation all night, this time leading into “Figured You Out.” The drum heavy rock tune elicited screams from the fans.
Since it was a Saturday night with a Heat Index of 106 degrees and they had two days off, the band decided to add to the setlist. They talked among themselves and came up with “If Today Was Your Last Day.” Afterward, a pounding drum beat led into their No. 1 hit, “How You Remind Me,” the best selling rock song of the 2000s. The crowd cheered, sang, danced and waved phones and glow sticks during the terrific set-ending song.
The group took a quick break to re-hydrate (the drummer of the opening act passed out from heat stroke), then came back with great harmony on “Gotta Be Somebody.” Rick laid down a dirty bottom beat on the bass and Ryan Peake strummed a dirty guitar riff to keep the party going. They added another non-scheduled song in “Hero” to make the audience ecstatic. The singalong could have lasted all night.
“This Afternoon” was about sitting around all day drinking beer with your buddies, a theme every Texan could easily relate to. It could have been a great country song. Stating, “We do not extend the setlist in horrible places. We love it here in Dallas” drew a raucous response. The heavy song with a hard beat to finish the night was “Burn It To The Ground,” a perfect selection to end the concert. Singing, dancing and headbanging punctuated this ending song. The cheers lasted several minutes as the band soaked in the applause and were just as appreciative of the love from the fans.
Nickelback gets a bad rap for being too derivative in their writing, but they have a target audience and they play to it. It’s obviously worked as they’ve sold over 50 million albums and were the biggest selling rock group of the 2000s.
Their fans are loyal to a fault and show up en masse wherever they play. The band puts on an excellent stage show that’s put together well and keeps raising the energy of the crowd. The members are excellent musicians who have developed a solid cohesion from years of playing together. Chad Kroeger is a masterful entertainer and knows how to develop a rapport with a crowd.
Catch them on tour through October 1st for an excellent night of music.
Joe Guzman of Infrared Magazine was on hand to record the event.