by Sarah Occhino

A very enthused crowd packed out Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Tuesday the 27th of November when Nickelback performed an alcohol fuelled set, supported by hard rock duo Jackson Firebird.

Hailed from Mildura, there was almost something comical about Jackson Firebird. They were a cliché in every sense of the words, 80’s rock and roll, except for the fact that they aren’t your traditional four-piece band. Just consisting of drummer, Dale Hudak and guitarist and vocalist Brendan Harvey their lyrics seemed corny and somewhat misogynistic, but it seemed to fit their style quite well. Although for a band without bassist they were really tight, there was really nothing new or exciting about what they showed the crowd. It didn’t stop the crowd from enjoying it. I’ll give these guys the fact that they got more than just a polite applause, however not by a lot.

Nickelback made a modest entrance, getting on stage and getting straight on with their set and still managing to have the crowd losing their minds. The first thing made quite clear is that Chad Kroeger can certainly sing. He has a vast range and terrific pitch. They opened with “This Means War” which definitely was a good choice to open with. Going into this show, I was curious to see what kind of crowd would attend and to my not surprise, it was mainly an older crowd and heavily female. When Chad began communicating with the crowd, which as the set progressed he seemed to do more and more of (when he wasn’t doing shots that is) he was actually very charismatic and relaxed on stage, they were all quite funny guys.

As their set progressed so did their sound, revisiting all the biggest hits in their discography. They started with some quite heavy songs, they then got into their radio stuff and played songs like “Photograph” and “Far Away” which of course the crowd lost it for. Everybody loves a familiar tune. Then later I found myself listening to some more country style music. It was intriguing to see the band adjust themselves on stage to each different song. The Nickelback song library is quite broad in regards to genre.

Nickelback eventually played a few of their newer songs from the album ‘Here And Now’, which did not evoke huge responses from the crowd. “Trying Not To Love You”, didn’t come across as memorable as the rest of the set memorable. By the time they got to the end of the set where they played the big songs, the crowd were at their highest level of energy thus far. They played “Figured You Out” and “How You Remind Me” and as expected the crowd were delirious. They then returned for a two song encore which featured “Gotta Be Somebody” which is definitely pop Nickelback at its best.

Having received their fair share of negative criticism, Nickelback are not the world’s most popular band. However, they proved to their audience that they are talented musicians and charismatic guys who certainly love to party. They always looked as if they were enjoying themselves on stage and the audience were just as excited.

Setlist for Nickelback in Melbourne:

This Means War (from Here and Now, 2011)
Something In Your Mouth (from Dark Horse, 2008)
Bottoms Up (from Here and Now, 2011)
Photograph (from All The Right Reasons, 2005)
Far Away (from All The Right Reasons, 2005)
Too Bad (from Silver Side Up, 2001)
Animals (from All The Right Reasons, 2005)
Leader of Men (from The State, 1998)
Trying Not To Love You (from Here and Now, 2011)
Rockstar (from All The Right Reasons, 2005)
Someday (from The Long Road, 2003)
Lullaby (from Here and Now, 2011)
Side of a Bullet/Because Of You (from All The Right Reasons, 2005)
This Afternoon (from Dark Horse, 2008)
Hero/Back In Black (Chad solo/AC/DC cover)
When We Stand Together (from Here and Now, 2011)
Drum solo
Figured You Out (from The Long Road, 2003)
How You Remind Me (from Silver Side Up, 2001)

Gotta Be Somebody (from Dark Horse, 2008)
Burn It To The Ground (from Dark Horse, 2008)

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