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Artists: Nickelback, The Lottery Winners

Venue: Manchester, The AO Arena

Date: 20th May 2024

"The sound and mix were superb for an arena show, and Kroeger’s vocals brilliant. The amiable Canadian may not rank highly in the all-time greats, but I think he’s vastly underrated as both a singer and frontman."



The Lottery Winners

Support this evening came from local band The Lottery Winners who were well over halfway through their set when we (my sister and I) finally got to our seats. I was amazed to see that arena was already virtually packed to capacity with a few latecomers taking to their seats. The four-piece group including Thom Rylance (vocals/guitar), Robert Lally (guitar/vocals), Katie Lloyd (bass/vocals), and Joe Singleton (drums), although not my cup of tea, were going down a storm, with Rylance reminding me of Chatty Man Alan Carr! The crowd reaction to their penultimate number, ‘Start Again’, in their six-song set was impressive, and normally one only heard for the headline act. It was not lost on the band themselves, as final song ‘Burning House’ seemed to be very lacklustre in comparison.



The lights dimmed during the intro tape of Pantera’s ‘Walk’ and a long introduction via the big video screens behind the stage preceded the band Chad Kroeger (vocals/guitars), Ryan Peake (guitars/vocals), Mike Kroeger (bass) and Daniel Adair (drums) hitting the stage to set opener ‘San Quentin’. Surprisingly, this was one of only two songs taken from last year’s ‘Get Rollin’’ album. For a band, supposedly everybody loves to hate, the arena was packed to capacity and the atmosphere was crackling, harkening back the halcyon days of the eighties. Despite following up the hard rockin’ opener with the more sedate ‘Savin’ Me’ and ‘Far Away’, it didn’t lessen the atmosphere, simply intensified it further. The sound and mix were superb for an arena show, and Kroeger’s vocals brilliant. The amiable Canadian may not rank highly in the all-time greats, but I think he’s vastly underrated as both a singer and frontman.

My personal favourite of the evening, and many others judging by the noise levels of the crowd, was the riotous ‘Animals’, which almost blew the proverbial roof off the arena. ‘Someday’ was met like a long-lost friend, whilst ‘Worthy To Say’, with Peake taking lead vocals, was the first of two surprise inclusions in the evening’s setlist. The band members were constantly laughing and joking amongst themselves, some of which was amusing to the audience, although occasionally it was a little lost when it was not clearly picked up on the microphones. A few of the female fans at the front of the arena had brought some amusing placards with various song lyrics, including “I like something in my mouth,” and “I like my pants around my feet,” which made the band smile. Cue the tongue-in-cheek ‘Figured You Out’, which once again had the crowd going wild.

I often like to use the word juxtaposed in my reviews, and never has it been so relevant as between ‘Figured You Out’ and the social aware ‘When We Stand Together’, dedicated to Peake’s wife Treana, and her work in international development through her “Obakki Foundation”. The song was accompanied by video images of the assistance given worldwide to areas of the world not so fortunate as our own, a quite poignant part of the show. ‘Where Do I Hide’ from the ’Silver Side Up’ opus was the surprise inclusion evening, the first time it had been played live in twenty-five years.

The next few songs were a little more laid back and gave the crowd the opportunity for a singalong, not that they needed any encouragement. It was a nice touch for Nickelback to bring back on stage the support act, The Lottery Winners; however, I would’ve preferred another Nickelback tune instead of the Beatles, sorry, I meant Oasis cover, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. I was probably in the minority as the song went down well, but I did have a wry smile to myself, thinking what Noel and Liam Gallagher would think of Nickelback covering one of their songs. It was also nice that Rylance dedicated it to the twenty-two bees, remembering the twenty-two who sadly lost their lives at an Ariana Grande concert in the same venue seven years ago.

Fortunately, the volume levels went up another notch for ‘Photograph’; to say this was popular would be the understatement of the year. Kroeger invited a fan to join the band on stage for ‘Rockstar’, who amusingly had a passing resemblance to the singer a few years ago, when he had long hair and a goatee beard. It seems that twenty thousand plus fans are not sick and tired of this song. ‘Those Days’ was the second new song played to images on the video screens of the eighties, and already appears to be another Nickelback classic. The main set was concluded with their first big hit, and the one that launched Nickelback into the stratosphere ‘How You Remind Me’.

The band briefly left the stage returning to delirious cheers to play the ultra-catchy and melodic ‘Gotta Be Somebody’. That just left the thundering ‘Burn It To The Ground’ to close a brilliant evening’s entertainment. Personally, I wish they had included ‘Too Bad’ and ‘Side Of A Bullet’; however, like everybody in attendance tonight, I did not go home disappointed. For those of who know, we know; we are never going to stop the haters/sheep, but that’s their loss. A huge thanks to my lil’ sister Tina, for the ticket, which she lovingly bought me for a birthday present.



Review: Mark Donnelly




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