Yes. That’s right, I did get to see My Darkest Days, Seether, Bush and Nickelback at Roger’s Arena (home of the mighty Canucks – go Jets, go!) last night (June 26th, 2012)!
We began our soiree with a twenty-three minute set from up-and-comers My Darkest Days. (That’s right, only twenty-three minutes.) It would have been nice to have seen a bit more of a showing from these gents, but they did deliver their radio singles (including a sadly Kroeger-less Pornstar Dancing) and made a seemingly successful attempt at establishing a reasonable stage presence with the Vancouver crowd. The pornstar-dancing Torontonians have taken their cue from headline act Nickelback, busting out the sailor vocabulary and praising the native herb wafting from the seats of excited concert-goers. These guys have something to prove – they were allowed to play at the adult stage, after all – and did not disappoint. My Darkest Days are what they are: fun! This was an entertaining offering from a new band that is not shy about clambering for footing all the way up. They were solid in their sound and rocked the tunes they knew the crowd would dig. And dig we did.
Next up? Seether, the band that gave us Country Song (one of my favourites from last year). This was a very interesting act. From song one it was clear that these boys are more interested in engaging their fans through their music than their stage presence. Frontman Shaun Morgan said no more than five words to last nights Roger’s Arena crowd – most of those words were repeated thanks for the after-song love – but did bring a set that included some of the band’s most popular singles. What he did not bring was an extra guitar, which would have come in handy after he gave a sharp nod to KISS Starchild Paul Stanley when he introduced his instrument to the stage, ending Seether’s contribution to last night’s festivities. Seether’s stage presence was further degraded by their lighting choreography – it was just absolutely impossible to get a good look at the band. And, okay, while we’re at it? The South African post-grunge rockers were loud in a terribly unbalanced way – an unfortunate combination of too much instrument, too much feedback and not nearly enough tuning. Aside from that? I love Seether on the radio and I actually really enjoyed their set – including the entirely too creepy clowns, zombies and haunted doll images flashing on the screens above them.
And then there was Bush. My Darkest Days and Seether were great choices for this leg of Nickelback’s tour, but including the ‘90s grunge champions was genius. I have already caught flack for this, but I’ll say it again anyway: Bush stole the show. Their set was solid and crisp. The most notable difference between Bush and their predecessors last night was that they have nothing to prove and they know it. Gavin Rossdale and his merry men have been around the block a time or two; they’ve played the Juggernauts of Rock game already and now they’re in it for a good time (if not a long time). You can tell. From an eight-song set comprised of fan favourites from ’92 to present to Gavin’s enthusiastic jumping, dancing, rocking, praise of Vancouver and visit to his fans. That’s right, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, while delivering a fantastic cover of The Beatle’s Come Together decided to take a stroll through the lower level of the Roger’s Arena stands to serenade screaming fans. Bush came from my heyday(ish) and it was outstanding to see them rock as hard as they did and have as much fun as they seemed to. (Dear Bush, if you come through with your promise to come back toVancouver, I promise that I will see you then. Yours, YFN vyxen.)
Now, in my eyes they’ve already been outdone, but we’ve saved the headliners for last anyway.
Nickelback. Oh gentle reader, say what you will about them, Nickelback puts on a hell of a concert! These boys know their fans and they deliver what The People scream for. Theirs was a fun set! They played, and drank, a little of everything – from 2001’s Silver Side Up to newly released Here and Now – and Fandom ate it up! While the fellahs from Hanna Alberta rocked the main stage and a smaller, floating circular stage in the middle of the floor, the crowd went absolutely berserk. Men fist-pumped, women gyrated and the eight-year-old behind me sang every word. As one of the biggest deals in (stadium) rock today, Nickelback knows how to deliver a fantastic show, well worth the price of admission. And that is exactly what our boys did last night. My only real “I wish…. ” moment of the night came in the form of a desire for a shoutout to Curb (1996, 2001) or The State (1998, 2000) – my household prefers old Nickelback to now Nickelback. Otherwise? They are what they are folks – a solid band that puts on a great live show! (Though Chad’s “happy birthday” to brother Mike seemed uninspiringly disingenuous.)
All in all? Epic. This fan favoured Bush above all, but the entire night was an absolute recipe for success! I am beyond psyched to have been able to catch this show (thanks Mom!) – another awesome notch for the concert-going bedpost!
Rock on, friends. Rock. On.