Nickelback with Bush, Seether, and My Darkest Days - Air Canada Centre, Toronto - April 22, 2012

By Tina Dealwis
Photos by Walid Lodin

“We brought a rock’n roll show back to town for you!” Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, wearing all black and sporting a short hair-do, exclaimed to the nearly sold-out crowd at the Air Canada Centre. And they certainly did. With not one, but three opening bands, whether you love them or hate them, Nickelback sure knows how to throw a party.

The show kicked off early at 6pm with My Darkest Days, the Canadian rock band discovered by Kroeger and signed to his label. My Darkest Days warmed up the crowd with a short-but-sweet 20-minute set, and made every minute count. They began the show shouting “It’s good to be home!” before launching into their first song “Sick and Twisted Affair.” The crowd clapped loudly in unision to “Move Your Body”, which was up next. Then the band threw condoms into the audience before playing their current single, “Casual Sex”, and ending their set with their hit “Porn Star Dancing.”

Next up was Seether. Unlike My Darkest Days, who playfully interacted with the audience throughout their set, Seether was all about the music. They got right down to business with the first song “Gasoline,” followed by “Fine Again.” The crowd went wild for their hit “Broken,” and the band sounded amazing with a crystal clear sound and vocals. The tempo increased again for “Tonight”, “Country Song”, “Rise Above This” and “Fake It”, and they got the crowd clapping and fist-pumping for the final song of their set, “Remedy.” Before Seether exited the stage, lead singer Shaun Morgan swung his guitar and threw it to the ground.

Third in the line-up was Bush, who took the stage at 7:45 and showed the crowd they’re still in fine form. Other than the pared-down lighting and special effects, this performance felt more like a headlining show than an opening act. They started with an amazing version of their 90’s hit “Machinehead”, followed by “The Sound of Winter.” Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale thanked fans for the “warm Canadian love”, before launching into “Everything Zen” and “The Chemicals Between Us.” A highlight of the Bush set was an incredibly fun cover of the Beatles’ hit “Come Together,” which saw Rossdale leaving the stage, venturing into the stands, and making his way through the crowd for the duration of the song. When Rossdale returned to the stage, the band played “Little Things”, before leaving him alone for a solo rendering of “Glycerine”, in which Rossdale played guitar and sang the 2nd verse a capella, before the band returned for the conclusion. Bush ended an excellent set with their hit “Comedown.” Their performance was fun and energetic, and would have been nearly perfect if the mega-hit “Swallowed” had been included in their setlist.

The headliners, Nickelback, took the stage just after 9pm, and the crowd was clearly ready. They were on their feet from the moment the lights went down and remained that way for the entire concert. With Nickelback’s trademark pyrotechnic explosions and lighting effects punctuating the concert, the set started out with a bang. The band opened with “This Means War,” followed by “Something In Your Mouth,” with the lyrics flashing on the big screen behind the stage.

“Never Again”, “Photograph”, and “Far Away” followed, before what appeared to be a green chandelier-light descended from the ceiling. It turned out to be a small floating and revolving stage. The band hopped on and was carried through the arena and over top of the audience for their delivery of “Bottoms Up,” before landing at the back of the arena. “Yes, we decided to fly for you! We decided to bring Nickelback Airlines to the ACC,” joked Chad Kroeger. The band performed on the floating stage for the next two songs, “Rockstar” and “Someday,” before they were returned to the main stage to perform “Animals.”

Back on the main stage, the band sang “Lullaby” and “When We Stand Together.” Next up was an outstanding drum solo by Daniel Adair, followed by mega-hit “How You Remind Me,” to which the crowd happily sang along. The band then pelted beer and free T-shirts into the crowd before launching into the finale of their main set, “Burn it to the Ground.” Encore tunes “Gotta Be Somebody” and “Figured You Out” were followed by more explosions and pyrotechnics to conclude the 90-minute show.

The crowd was definitely feeling the love for Nickelback, and you can’t really blame them. Despite many differing opinions on the band, Nickelback puts on an entertaining show. With a crystal clear, live sound, great special effects, and a repertoire of popular, radio-friendly songs, it would be difficult to leave a Nickelback show without a smile—and if you weren’t already a fan, maybe even becoming a new one. For those who can’t get enough of Nickelback, or who missed the ACC concert, they will return to Toronto on July 11, where they will perform at the Molson Amphitheatre, with opening acts I Mother Earth and again with My Darkest Days.