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Concert Reviews:
Nickelback Rocks DTE With Hits, Humor

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Just as Nickelback was about to tear into its latest single, "Burn It to the Ground," on Tuesday night (July 11), frontman Chad Kroeger told the DTE Energy Music Theatre crowd, "Why don't we have some fun? Let's do some silly (stuff)!"

He was about 75 minutes too late for that.

Despite the careful craft and earnest lyrical bent of his songs, Kroeger is, in fact, one silly dude -- and a chatty one, sometimes to a fault. Part stand-up comic, part prototypical rock 'n' roll rabble-rouser, part Regular Guy, his between-song patter gave the first of the Canadian group's two sold-out shows at DTE (the only multi-night stand of the summer) a welcome dose of devil-may-care personality. There may be a certain stoicism to Nickelback's music, but it's clearly a band that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Following solid opening sets by Mississippi upstarts Saving Abel (who text-auctioned off a guitar during its set), Papa Roach and Hinder, Nickelback offered up a show largely identical to the one it played on Feb. 28 at Joe Louis Arena, from the three loud concussions that started the concert before the houselights went down to the Fourth of July-style pyrotechnics at the end of the final encore, "Animals."

In-between Nickelback stretched 16 songs -- including hits such as "Photograph," "Gotta Be Somebody," "Because of You," "Faraway," "Too Bad," "Someday" and "How You Remind Me" -- into a two-hour show, burnished with a moving light rig, a rising (and rotating) drum station and an extensive video production. Hinder's Austin Winkler and Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix, meanwhile, joined the group for a rendition of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

It was Kroeger's commentary that gave the night its different and spontaneous feel, whether he was complaining about how much he was sweating, imitating Satan trying to coerce married guitarist Ryan Peake into a trip to the strip club or cautioning a woman in the front row wearing a T-shirt bearing the words Mrs. Kroeger, which he said was "throwing me off all night," to be careful what she wished for. Before playing "Rockstar," Kroeger and Peake started playing licks to songs such as the Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" and Metallica's "One" and "Nothing Else Matters," eventually leading into a verse and chorus of Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places."

After the song, Kroeger watched his niece -- bassist (and brother) Mike Kroeger's daughter -- carry a stool off the stage, noting how happy it was she could be present to hear her uncle drop F-bombs all night long. And then offering his babysitting services to the rest of the crowd.

The silliness wasn't limited just to Kroeger, however; also after "Rockstar," four crew members came on stage to fire T-shirts into the crowd from specialized cannon while Nickelback played the riff of Metallica's "Sad But True."

By the time the group leaves the DTE stage on Wednesday night (Aug. 12) it will have played three times in the Detroit area this year, but the crowd's response at Tuesday's show indicated that Kroeger and company can't come back too soon.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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