Oh Nickelback, you haven't changed.
You're still packing the arena, you still drink Jager Bombs on stage, you still drop more f-bombs than a mob movie and your music is still highly-distorted rock with a slick, sly pop sheen.
The only thing different about Tuesday's concert at CenturyLink Center Omaha — compared to the other four times the band has played there — was some new material that came this time from the Canadian rock band's latest album, “Here and Now.”
Fans dug Nickelback's 90-minute, over-the-top, flame-filled, jet-engine-loud, lit-up-like-a-Christmas-tree concert. The crowd was mostly young folks, many in groups including many families and women on a ladies' night out.
The band loved the crowd's headbanging, arm waving enthusiasm.
“The rest of the world needs to know how good of a (expletive) rock town this is,” said lead singer Chad Kroeger, who professed his love for Omaha many times.
Nickelback hit most of its hits including “Rock Star,” “How You Remind Me,” “Someday” and “Photograph.” The only big songs they skipped were summer song “This Afternoon” and the Chad Kroeger/Carlos Santana collab “Why Don't You and I.”
They're radio gods that many would call hard rockers, but most of the songs are pop vocals and beats masked by distorted, down-tuned guitar. It feels edgy, but in reality, it's safe.
Of course, I don't think the average Nickelback fan cares about the band's musical or lyrical nuance (or lack thereof). If you just want a song to sing along to or a hard-driving track for when you're cruising down the interstate, Nickelback's your go-to group.
I don't think it matters to most if the lyrics are trite (“Photograph”) or flat-out offensive (“Something in Your Mouth”) or that several of the band's songs have the same basic verse-chorus layout (Listen to “How You Remind Me” and “Someday” at the same time and you'll see what I mean).
Though detractors of the band are many, the fans who pay for tickets are the ones Nickelback cares about. And those folks are certainly numerous.
During the show, many tweets deriding the band were sent my way, but for each of those, about 1,000 people were in the arena singing their hearts out to “Rock Star.”
Kroeger and his pals in the band certainly don't care what the naysayers (myself included) have to offer. If the singer does happen to get upset, he can cry himself to sleep on a big pile of cash.
My Darkest Days, Seether and Bush opened the show. Alt-rock troupe Bush, led by bouncy Gavin Rossdale, nearly stole the show with a set that included the band's hits such as “Everything Zen,” “Comedown,” “Machinehead” and Rossdale's solo version of “Glycerine.”
Bush, featuring substitute bassist Sybil Buck, killed with its energetic set that saw Rossdale running through the arena during a cover of The Beatles' “Come Together.”
All Bush proved to do, however, was amp up the crowd for Nickelback, which kept the crowd on its feet for the entirety of its show.
Highlights from Nickelback included the wild stage show, a fantastic drum solo by Daniel Adair and several songs performed on a mini stage in the center of the arena.
Kroeger also got some cheers (and a few leers) for playing a pair of Travis Tritt country tunes that he played surprisingly well.
Fans loved his whole shtick, f-bombs and all.
“Thank you guys so much,” he said. “You've been absolutely (expletive) incredible.”
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