Nickelback í¢äåäóì NEC Arena, Birmingham: 28th November 2002 by Sam Procter Two words describe Nickelback at the NEC Arena in Birmingham í¢äåäóì ‘Totally Awesome’. Right from the opening chords of Woke Up This Morning, through to the closing lines of the massive How You Remind Me, the guys proved all of their critics wrong (that means Ian Winwood et al at Kerrang!). Nickelback’s performance was utterly outstanding. It had absolutely everything. There wasn’t a wrong note, missed lyric or dodgy moment at any point during the set. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd loved every minute. The guys genuinely looked as if they were having a great time and there was lots of interaction with the crowd. The view from the front (and I mean right at the front) was exceptionally good. The stage was incredibly close to the barrier and what made it even better was that the platforms either side of the stage came out another 4 foot from the main stage area. Every time Chad, Ryan or Mike moved to the platforms the crowd at the front went absolutely crazy (me included). I waved my banner around to get Ryan and Chad’s attention and was totally shocked (and pleased) when Ryan looked straight at me, winked and mouthed ‘Thank You’ to my kind words (-) on my banner! Cheers Ryan. Chad was gorgeous as ever and commanded the stage like a true professional. There’s definitely something about a man with a guitar! Considering the band have been touring for over 17 months, Chad sounded and looked amazing. His voice is pure classic rock í¢äåäóì mellow and soft for the ballads such as Hero, but full of grit and growl for tracks like Never Again, Too Bad and the fantastic unreleased ‘Figured’ (full of naughty lyrics and a song that proves Chad is literally the sexiest man on this planet!) As well as being a musical triumph, the show also presented pyrotechnics the size of which have never been seen at the NEC before. They literally towered above the band, reaching high into the air and at some points came scarily close to the lighting rigs and sound system. A rough estimate would put them at least 13 feet high and they were so loud they even made the security guards jump! During the performance, Nickelback didn’t disappoint die hard fans. They included all the traditional lines from the ‘Nickelback Camp’, including Chad bringing out the camcorder and filming the crowd for the next DVD. Just to remind them where the filming had been done, Chad got the whole crowd to shout ‘Birmingham F**king Rocks’! A great moment in rock for sure. Probably one of the highlights of the show was the song Too Bad. Those of you who have seen Nickelback live will know why. It literally gets the whole crowd, no matter where you are in the arena, jumping up and down like your feet are on fire. Being right down the front for that one is an awesome experience. Your feet really don’t touch the ground for the majority of the song. Unfortunately, you do tend to pay for it the next day. Being right on the barrier at the front, I ended up with incredibly sore and bruised knees. But god it was worth it. I am totally and utterly into Nickelback and each time I see them they get better and better. After the Birmingham gig, I went to Manchester and saw them there too! Again, an amazing show. Perhaps not quite so showy in terms of lights and pyros, but Chad and the guys were on top form. I took my banner with me again and got right to the front (arriving 2 hours before the doors opened helped with this). During one of the slots when Chad was talking to the crowd he looked down at the front and said ‘I see that there’s some familiar faces in the crowd!’. He then looked straight at me and said ‘Are you following us around or what?!’ WOW í¢äåäóì what a moment! Even bigger smile on my face after that. The set list at Manchester was the same as Birmingham (got one of the crew to give me Chad’s set list which had been taped to the stage) and the acoustic versions of Hero and How You Remind Me were really fantastic. When Chad and Ryan were singing Hero, the whole place was just alive with 10000 voices singing and I’m sure that every single girlie in the arena was looking straight at the stage í¢äåäóì utterly mesmerised. Probably the only criticism I can come up with is the fact that the concerts did not last long enough. They seemed to be over in a flash. I think the sets were only about 1hr 15mins and really on today’s standards that is pretty disappointing. Then again, you know what they say í¢äåäóì its not the quantity, it’s the quality, and Nickelback certainly have plenty of that. Can’t wait for January 21st in New York for the VIP private gig and reading this week’s edition of Kerrang!, looks promising that the guys will be back here in Summer 2003 for some amazing festivals Donnington, Carling and maybe even Ozzfest too! My mission for 2003? To see Nickelback at every UK show that they do. Three words to finish? NICKELBACK FUCKING ROCKS! Set List: Woke Up One Last Hollywood Breathe Leader of Men Hangnail Never Again Where Do I Figured Too Bad Hero How You Remind Me You can check out some of Sam’s photos from the show in the Nickelback photo gallery. Thanks for writing Sam!