Concert Review: Nickelback at Vector Arena Nov 30

by - Sunday, December 02, 2012

currently: listening to 'This Afternoon' by Nickelback


I could give this concert review post many names. It could be titled:
'Nickelback - The Concert No One Could Attend'
or
'Nickelback - The Concert That No One Wanted To Attend'
or even
'Nickelback - aka Cheap Vectorberfest'

Sure, it's easy to make fun of Nickelback. The way Chad Kroger sings, the formula they have towards creating rock music, and their general attitudes. I could take the same route with this review by summing up everything as 'Oh Nickelback suck. Worst band ever'. Just making fun of Nickelback because everyone else does.

But then they don't fully deserve that. Because the concert was a lot better than what I could have expected.

Let me begin this review with how exactly I ended up going to this Nickelback concert though...

[THURSDAY]
Around 24 hours before the Nickelback concert in Auckland, I got given two double passes. I liked Nickelback back when I was a young teen. Everyone did then (you know the words to Photograph. Admit it). I saw it as a chance to revisit 14-year-old Mel, and who am I to reject a free concert to Vector.

Four tickets. Three friends required in 24 hours. My hunt began at 5pm. Boyfriend? Busy. Sister? Busy. Then the next five friends that replied to me after that? Busy/didn't like Nickelback.

Finding three friends started to sound impossible so I settled for finding at least one. Hooray for my best friend who told me at 9pm that she decided to flag her semi-set plans for dinner to come join me at Vector Arena. She wasn't even a big fan of Nickelback, she came to join me for the fun and cause the tickets were free.
(This is why we are friends! :))

The second double pass I just gave away to an old school mate of mine. Done.

[FRIDAY]
Walking with best friend from the CBD, we arrived at Vector Arena just before the 6:30pm door opening. The queue for GA was probably 30ish people, while the line for merch was around 15 people. Me and Bestie decided to get ourselves a drink at the bar next door before we headed in. And as best friends do when they catch up, we talked for an hour long drinking our $3.50 Sprites before we realised 'Oh, maybe we should go in and see what's happening.'

Timing was perfect because two minutes after we went in, These Four Walls started their opening act. I have to say at 7:30pm there was just no fight for us to get close to the stage. We got within the first 10-15 rows of people and barely lost our spot throughout the night.

These Four Walls (an Auckland rock band) were pretty decent for a band that clearly 2 people on the floor knew about. One girl we spotted was incredibly enthusiastic and knew all the words to their songs. Good on that one girl. I always feel bad for bands who don't have supportive crowds.

The band did know the classic ways of getting the crowd involved, as it has worked for every single concert I've gone to.

1) Yell out "Auckland" or "New Zealand" and you're bound to get a response.
2) Yell out "Who loves [insert headline act here]"
3) Get your cellphone out and wave the light in the air.
And These Four Walls did all three. I love a good cellphone light crowd.
They're a good band and pretty talented.

It was just over a half hour wait between the opening act and Nickelback, which made good surveillance time of the decent crowd that had formed around us. I gather these facts about the Nickelback crowd.
1) Quite a few looked over the age of 40. Many with beer guts.
2) Mullets. They still existed with this Nickelback crowd.
3) The group of young tall guys next to us were fuelling themselves on beer. Lots of beer. My combat boots were already sticking to the ground from what they had managed to spill already.
4) Many people were wearing Nickelback shirts. I didn't know if they had just bought them or if they were from the last 2009 concert.
5) It felt a bit like West Auckland. (No offence to West Aucklanders, but it wasn't like seeing a South Auckland crowd or North Shore crowd there.)
6) This crowd knew the words to Back in Black by AC/DC. And they sang along. In fact they sang along to many of the songs during the intermission. Especially Incredibly Enthusiastic Girl who was carrying all the enthusiasm for her group of friends.

Okay, because I'm a pretty minor fan of Nickelback, I actually don't know what song they opened with. But the energy of the crowd multiplied by hundreds. I have a feeling the second song was 'Something in Your Mouth'. Which is an incredibly dirty song if you've never heard of it.

It's awkward to be in a crowd where you don't actually know what they're singing. Especially when you're close to the front and everyone else is so into the songs. But another thing I noticed about the crowd is how obedient they were. No massive mosh pits that I could spot. No excessive pushing or shoving. I did have one tall woman rub her body against my back trying to get closer to the front (and I'll tell you, she was NOT a young woman...).

It was good for me and my friend when a song we ACTUALLY knew came up. And I recorded it. Photograph:


I think one of the best things about being in a Nickelback crowd is that no one is hating on Nickelback. I mean sure, Nickelback haters would not be in a Nickelback concert (except for David Farrier) but you wouldn't have pictured that outside the walls of Vector, this crowd supported such a universally despised band. Which made it nice.

'Far Away' played straight after 'Photograph' which had the young teen in me explode inside with emotion. The back story with me and 'Far Away' is that it reminds me of a boy I used to like. And having it played live just brought those memories. Three days ago I hated hearing that song because it brought back that time of my life. Now I can't help but love 'Far Away' again. The power of live music. I sung it with feeling in that crowd.

Chad and guitarist Ryan usually lead the talk and banter between songs. Usually along the lines of "LET'S DRINK ALCOHOL" with iconic red cups you see in every American movie. "LET'S GET SOME F**KING ALCOHOL UP ON STAGE HERE".
And they drank.

At one point they awarded some girl (who had been waiting outside Vector since 8:30am that day. Why? Who knows) with half a cup of her own beer handed to her straight from Chad Kroger himself. What a good service.

And eventually this followed over the next few songs with more drinking, and then the roadies tossing/shooting cups of beer into the audience. The tall guy who was right in front of me caught one of beer cups. Me and my best friend caught the beer that was in the cup all over us.
(the Red Cup guy then proceeded to hold up his red cup like a trophy and stuff it down his singlet. Class.)

Anyway, Nickelback seemed to do a good mix of songs from new and old albums. Not that I can really tell because I'm not that familiar with their collection, but they did a mix from Silver Side Up, Dark Horse, and whatever albums they have (sorry Nickelback fans, this review is getting ridiculously long and I'm not gonna put heavy research into this.)

Once nice moment was the song 'This Afternoon' where all the people around us began to get chummy with each other and sing each other the lyrics like they were all best friends. Men with arms around each other, women swaying with happiness. It was kinda cute :)

And of course some kudos has to go to the drummer Dan who did a fantastic 3 minute drum solo which I had failed to record but it was stunning none the less. (There has yet to be a recording of it uploaded to Youtube.)

I will say there was a weak attempt to start an Encore chant by the Nickelback fandom. It was something like "ONE MORE SONG" and "NICKELBACK" being chanted together at once, and no one having a clue which one you were meant to go for. Plus one dude who decided yelling "NICKEL-F**KING-BACK" would be helpful clearly wasn't doing a lot for the cause. But they did come back on stage to play "Gotta Be Somebody" and another song "This is War" or "Together We Stand" (I think?)

I will admit the biggest disappointment of the night was the lack of Chavril (aka Chad Kroger and his fiancee Avril Lavigne).
Who wouldn't have wanted to see this? (Sorry I just love this image so much.)

The night ended with everyone hugging and walking arm and arm out of Vector Arena at 10:50pm. Me and my best friend were sticky with cheap beer, bit hot from being in the floor crowd, and had suffered temporary partial hearing loss (which I got back after 24 hours yesterday. My hearing was worryingly fuzzy for a while.)
As a post Nickelback concert review we agreed on this:
1) It would take a while for our hearing to go back to normal.
2) We had no clue where we were going as we were leaving Vector Arena.
3) It was all much better an experience than we had thought.

And of course, I missed the joy of having the bass and drum beat pulse through my body, and the feeling of singing and cheering at the top of my lungs.

So you know how it's usually cooler to admit that you don't like Nickelback? I don't care anymore.

I LIKED THE NICKELBACK CONCERT.
And I say that with no shame at all.

EDIT: Someone very impressive has written out the entire set list from this night, so if you're curious -
This Means War
Something in Your Mouth
Bottoms Up
Photograph
Far Away
Animals
Too Bad
This Afternoon
Trying Not To Love You
Lullaby
Figured You Out
Someday
Never Again
When We Stand Together
Rockstar
How You Remind Me
Encore:
Gotta Be Somebody
Burn It To The Ground

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2 comments

  1. LOL, I am 51, went to see them in London in october with my 20 years daughter and we had the time of our lives, best concert ever and we did a lot of concerts in a few years time......Ready for the next one, will be there even if I have to go around the world !!!!

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    1. Yeah it was probably one of the better concert crowds I've been in. No one was incredibly rude or excessively pushy the entire night, which of course made the experience even nicer! If I had known more of their songs it would have been great too haha :D

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