Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tim Tierney reviews his favourite band Nickelback

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On a balmy Friday night, Nickelback played at the 30th edition of Ottawa Bluesfest to a crowd of 30,000 people. Marking their 13th appearance in Ottawa, concertgoers experienced a journey of hits from the band since their formation in 1995.

Lead singer Chad Kroeger, treated Ottawa to some of their biggest hits of the past, highlighting their humble beginnings 25 years ago playing at Ottawa’s now-shuttered ByWard Market nightclub, Zaphod Beeblebrox.

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Nickelback, whose name originated from when Mike Kroeger worked at Starbucks in the 90’s and would give customers their change, saying “here’s your nickel back”, have amassed over 50 million album sales worldwide. Their passion for their fans and music is palpable —- they put on an incredible show from start to finish and the energy was felt throughout the crowd. They have rightfully earned their status as a Canadian Superband.

The resurgence of Nickelback is evident. It still has all the things that you can expect from a great rock band —- fiery effects, heavy hitting riffs, and T-shirt cannons; but the biggest surprise was the youth. Although the usual Baby Boomers and GenXers rocked on, Millennials, GenZ, and even GenAlpha flocked to see the band perform (and sported some pretty cool gear, like matching Chad Kroeger shirts and yarn wigs, honouring the singer’s early 2000s look). My own children were in the audience, singing along to the familiar tunes I blasted on the way to hockey practice at 5 a.m. and 14-hour family road trips to Nova Scotia.

Tim Tierney on the main stage prior to the Nickelback concert at Bluesfest in Ottawa, July 05, 2024. Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

The band continues to grow in popularity — perhaps some youth came for the meme culture, but stayed for the music. Maybe it’s the amazing compilations with other groups over the years, including Santana’s Into The Night and the Covid lockdown sea shanty they created in collaboration with the Lottery Winners. Who could forget the TikTok trend Twisted Sister (You Keep Me Up) or the latest documentary ‘Love to Hate’; it certainly has created a new generation of Nickelback fans.

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Having the distinct pleasure of meeting the band and introducing their show with Mark Monahan, not only were these guys humble but friendly joking around passing out hugs and talking local banter with my wife Jenny and I. They loved my tattoo and even noted that I used their new font, like a true fan would.

Tim Tierney (L) got to meet the Nickelback band and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger backstage at Bluesfest in Ottawa, July 05, 2024. Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Audience members were treated to 15 songs and some great fan interaction between, from new stuff starting it with San Quentin and ending with the unofficial hockey pump-up song Burn It To The Ground (shoutout to the Gloucester Cougars!). The crowd was into it the entire time, headbanging and singing every word. Even band member Ryan Peake got the crowd into it taking the microphone with 1998 Classic Worthy To Say from the State album.

Nickelback concert on the main stage at Bluesfest in Ottawa, July 05, 2024. Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

Always supporting other bands in their usual fashion, Chad Krueger invited up opener Warren Zeiders to sing Rockstar, to the fans delight. Be sure to keep an eye on this up-and-coming artist!

As a frequent concertgoer, from Linkin Park, Stone Temple Pilots, Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, just to name a few, you start to make note of the festival grounds. Food, beverages, and facilities are the first things you think of, but the people that go unnoticed are the Torsa Security team that make sure it is a fun safe environment with such large crowds. Tip of the hat to Bluesfest’s Mark Monahan, for making sure that this is a priority.

If there is only one thing negative to say, it is that the concert could’ve gone on for two more hours, with the number of hits this band from Hannah, Alberta.

Set list
Nickelback set list Photo by Courtesy of Tim Tierney

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