[LIVE REVIEW] Nickelback // QUDOS Bank Arena // 15/02/18

On Friday 15th February 2019 the Canadian stars Nickelback rocked up at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena to perform in front of thousands of fans – most donning Nickelback merch – who clearly don’t care for personal opinion. For the audience of mostly middle aged people and 14 year olds, it was a night to remember.

American heavy metal supergroup Bad Wolves played their first ever Australian shows since their formation in 2017. Not new to the big stages, each member showed that rock isn’t the only genre they can handle. The first of many songs sounded like it was straight from a Northlane album, getting two teens starting their own little hardcore mosh pit. Carrying on their set, every song reminding me more and more of Killswitch Engage, it’s difficult to understand how such a heavy band would be supporting Nickelback. Getting the crowd moving and singing along to Zombie by The Cranberries and Chop Suey by System of a Down – Bad Wolves had more people moving on the floor than Nickelback did.

After a disappointing undercooked pizza and an overpriced beer at the arena restaurant, anticipation grew for the main act to make an appearance. Once the lights shut off and an intro began, roars and screams began as each member joined the stage individually. Starting with the titular song from their newest album, Feed the Machine, there wasn’t really much going on down on the dancefloor. For the people that had been waiting hours for outside the venue to be on the barricade, the show must have been incredible, except for the kid that got dragged there by his mum. A few big hits were played but there wasn’t really much singing along until Photograph started. With a slideshow of photos from the band’s past behind Chad and the rest of the band, it was one of those songs you just wish you could hear live. If you’re young and active on social media, all that you can think of is the memes you’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter, and that itself might be worth the $150 you’d have to flog to experience it live. All jokes aside, it was really nice to see them play Hangnail live for ‘the first time in 16 years!’.

Fans were delighted to hear Kroeger’s Spiderman soundtrack Hero as well as Side of a Bullet – a tribute to Dimebag Darrell featuring outtakes of his guitar work which became the guitar solo in this song. Everyone that went to the Sydney show now has some level of respect for that aforementioned kid in the front row. After getting ‘roasted’ by Chad saying “he’d rather be at home playing Fortnite”, he got invited onto the stage to sing Rockstar with the band and another teenager that obviously had some stage experience. A noticeably weird part of the night is when Kroeger asked the kid his name (Ferris) and his age (13) then asked if he had a girlfriend. When Ferris told him he didn’t, Chad said he’d help him look for “a hot 15 year old girl” in the crowd. Poor Ferris had so much stage fright that even the band members felt like they were torturing him. When you thought the chatter between songs wasn’t cringe enough, a leopard print bra was thrown onto the stage and Canadian women in the audience cheered “take off your pants” to the drummer, which started a little rant about “if men did that” and a tasteless joke about the #metoo movement.

Predictably, they finished their set with the blistering sound of How You Remind Me. It was a standing ovation. But the guys soon returned for two encore songs which proved to be a crowd pleaser. Rounding up the night with Burn it to the Ground, the crowd was pleased with the fantastic light displays, effects and montages that were played behind the band. Whether you’re a Nickelback fan or hater, they’re one of those bands that everyone should see live at least once. Catch them as they continue their Feed the Machine world tour!

Review – Robert Tannous