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Concert Reviews:
Nickelback Rekindles Love Affair With Detroit

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, March 2, 2009

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DETROIT -- Nickelback's Chad Kroeger wants to take Detroit on the road -- or at least the 17,500 exuberant fans who packed Joe Louis Arena for the Canadian quartet's sold-out concert there on Saturday night (Feb. 28).

"You guys have been so kind to us," Kroeger noted at one point of the show, proposing a free concert in some warm local. "You pay you own airfare, the concert's on us...Backstage in some offices they're freaking out; 'Did he just say a free concert?' "

This was before he wondered about the cost of buying 17,000 Jaeger Bomb drinks.

Nickelback has indeed become part of a lineage of adopted favorites in Detroit Rock City, joining the ranks of Kiss, the J. Geils Band and Aerosmith, among others. Part of the reason is endless touring that's included multiple appearances in the market. Nickelback's highly accessible brand of meat-and-potatoes rock and pop is also a style that's tended to score well with Detroit audiences and radio stations.

And proximity to the group's homeland certainly doesn't hurt, either.

Suffice to say the love went both ways on Saturday as Nickelback romped through a 17-song, 110-minute spectacle promoting its latest album, 2008's "Dark Horse," with the band's first real foray into big-time rock 'n' roll visual spectacle.

Three gunshot-like concussions announced the clad-in-black group's entrance to the stage, with liberal pyrotechnics accompanying the cheerfully leering opening number "Something In Your Mouth." The fireworks continued throughout the night as Nickelback, accenting a high-tech visual production complete with a moving lighting rig and an extensive rear-stage video presentation that including a flowing montage of vintage images for "Photograph" and a similar series for "Rockstar" that included several shots of Kid Rock, who watched Saturday's show from side stage. Drummer Daniel Adair, meanwhile, played a late-set solo on a moving, rising, rotating hydraulic drum kit worthy of Motley Crue's Tommy Lee.

There's was also plenty of what Kroeger freely acknowledged as "silliness." Four of the band's crew members came on stage armed with "T-shirt sniper cannons (sic)" to fire souvenirs into the crowd while Nickelback played a portion of Metallica's "Sad But True." Kroeger openly and shamelessly lobbied auxiliary musician Tim Dawson to stay with his band and not switch to Alice In Chains, at one point even serenading him KWS' sappy 1992 pop hit "Please Don't Go." And the frontman displayed a between-song chattiness not unlike his countrymate Celine Dion, though he explained to one young fan who threw him a stuffed toy that "I use all these bad words because I'm smart enough to think of better ones."

Nickelback did play plenty of music amidst all this, favoring "Dark Horse" and its multi-platinum 2005 predecessor "All the Right Reasons" and carefully mixing smooth commercial fare such as "How You Remind Me," "Far Away," "Savin' Me," "Someday" and the country-flavored "This Afternoon" with energetic rocks like "Burn it to the Ground," an extended version of "Because of You" and "Figured You Out." Shaun Morgan, the frontman from opening act Seether, joined Nickelback to sing Filter's "Hey Man, Nice Shot" -- and was chided by Kroeger for ringing up $1,800 worth of lap dances on his credit card the previous night -- while guitarist Ryan Peake covered Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody."

"I feel like a kid in a candy store," Kroeger told the Joe Louis crowd -- and its response indicated it found the experience just as sweet.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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