JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

June 4, 2012
Amway Center
Orlando, FL USA
Review by Nick Masuda
Photos by Nick Masuda

Nickelback

"Here and Now" Tour

On a night built on old-school, scream-inducing rock-n-roll, Nickelback - and opener Bush - showed a savviness, and restraint, on stage that didn't pay homage to themselves, but much more the fans that paid hundreds of dollars to watch them perform.

Many rock shows can get caught up in tricks, but on May 4 at Amway Center in Orlando, it was simply about the music and having a good time.

Yes, there was plenty of cussing - slightly unfortunate for some of the younger fans, but it was rarely out of context - and there was pyro (some of it somewhat surprising and leading to a lot of shrieks), but it was mostly about sing-a-long rock ballads that have toasted radio airwaves for the better part of a decade in Nickelback's case.

Lead man Chad Kroeger is a bundle of energy, but has mellowed a bit over the past decade, from his looks (his long golden locks are gone) to his stage presence, choosing to let his music do the job.

From a fantastic rendition of "How You Remind Me" - named Billboard's top rock song of the past decade - to beautiful versions of "Photograph" and "Rockstar," the group mainly relied on their anthems, letting fans belt out verses (not always a beautiful thing when you combine alcohol and suspect, amateur voices) to keep them engaged.

So many shows have lulls, but this one was pedal-to-the-metal the entire last two hours, including a show-defining stretch of five songs in the middle, when the group exits the main stage and takes to a circular stage in the middle of the arena, with the cage lifting high into the air so that those with seats in the back of the arena get a good look at the band.

And speaking of good looks, Gavin Rossdale is bringing sexy back. And it isn't this writer saying that, it was the thousands of middle-aged women screaming the Bush singer's name as he led the band in a performance worthy of head-banging and sore vocal chords.

It isn't just Rossdale's vocals - and he was top-notch on old chart-toppers "Glycerine" and "Everything Zen" - but it is his toying with fans that should actually be a great lesson for Nickelback and fellow openers Seether and My Darkest Days. From playful walks down the catwalk, writhing with his guitar in front of hundreds of outstretched hands, to his decision to bound off the stage and make his way through the entire first deck of fans, Rossdale seems to remember who butters his bread - the fans.

While making his way through thousands of fans in the first deck - the show was nearly sold out with more than 10,000 in attendance - Rossdale slowed down to let fans sing with him, slapped "high-fives" with others, gave hugs to adoring fans and never seemed to be annoyed when he was slowed down because of the massive traffic around him.

Simply put, Rossdale made sure fans got their money's worth.

My Darkest Days and Seether opened with short heavy-hitting sets. Though they both seemed to be a bit out of their elements, I'm sure these bands in a club setting would set the place on fire. Let's hope that happens in the near future. In fact, both of them going out together would be a great show.

Nickleback Set List:
This Means War
Something In Your Mouth
Never Again
Photograph
Far Away
Bottoms Up
Animals
Rockstar
Someday
Lullaby
When We Stand Together
How You Remind Me
Burn It To The Ground
Encore:
Gotta Be Somebody
Figured You Out

Bush Set List:
Machinehead
The Chemicals Between Us
The Sound of Winger
Everything Zen
Come Together (Beatles Cover)
Afterlife
Glycerine
Comedown

Seether Set List:
Gasoline
Fine Again
Broken
Tonight
Country Song
Rise Above This
Fake It
Remedy

My Darkest Days Set List:
Sick and Twisted Affair
Move Your Body
Casual Sex
Porn Star Dancing