NickelBack/Bush @ the Wells Fargo Center

May 16, 2012

By Jimmy Abgarian.

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April 24th saw the return of Nickelback to the Tri-state area for the first time since March of 2009. A Canadian band hell bent on putting on a gigantic spectacle of sound and lights, they did not disappoint. My Darkest Days was the first band up. Going on very early and only playing 4 songs has to be difficult for any young band trying to make an impression on a crowd that early. They have a strong following who seemed to show up early on to see them. They ended their short set with their hit song Porn star dancing.  MDD is on Chad Kroegers 604 record label. They sounded well rehearsed and appeared to have fun making the most of their short set. Next up was Seether. I don’t know where to begin here. Let’s start with the positives. Seether has great songs and a great sound, there is no disputing these facts. The problem is they seem to be lacking stage presence and had no connection to the audience at all. This is the fifth time have seen this band and I have disappointed every time in the live show. Seether’s stage set up consisted of over sized Amps and what looked like cheap Christmas lights. The exact mundane set up that they used last year. Watching this band play their hit songs and sounding great mad me angry because there was no movement at all.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that all of the nine songs of their set were hits. Legitimate, on the radio,hits. The problem is there was no show. NEXT

What Happened next is something that I have waited for a very long time to see. Bush fronted by Gavin Rossdale took the stage and proceeded to take the Philly crowd to school. They only played 8 songs but those 8 songs were worth the price of admission alone. They opened with Machinhead and then proceeded to blast through All My Life and The Sound of Winter off of their 2011 release Sea of Memories. Both songs are Bush caliber songs and belonged in the set. They then played Everything Zen before cranking it up full volume for a stellar version of the Beatles classic Come Together. During the song Gavin left the stage and went into the crowd to sing and dance with the fans. I was shocked that one half of a Hollywood power couple would risk life and limb to get his point across. It worked in a big way. The rest of the set was incredibly familiar with Little Things, Glycerine  and Comedown ending the set. This set showed me that my loyalty and dedication had not been wasted on a band that brought their A game and didn’t just go through the motions. It was unreal how great they sounded. Bush was the perfect set up band for what came next.

I have seen a lot of good and bad written about Nickelback over the years. I want to tell you why I love this band. Before the show they spent the day visiting Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It makes me proud that a band of Nickelback’s stature takes the time while touring to take the time to brighten a sick kids day. These are the things most critics ignore.; Not me. I praise them for their unselfishness. Nickelback is out touring in support of their new album, Here and Now. The new record has at least 4 hits on it.  I couldn’t wait to see the Bigger and Better stage show.

They opened the show with This means war and then steamrolled through a 15 song set of some of their best songs. They spared no expense on the staging and lighting. Lot’s of huge explosions and pyro. In the middle of the set, a giant floating stage came down and the band played Bottoms up suspended above the pumped Philly crowd.

They played Rockstar and Someday after they landed and Animals on the way back.

This is how a Rock Concert is supposed to be. There was no rolling tape or prerecorded back up vocals or lip Synching. This was an hour and a half of balls out rock. Hit after hit made the night go way to fast.

This band has progressively gotten better and better over the years and I am surprised at the infinite creativity of Nickelback. The show reminded me of the Huge Rock shows of the late Eighties. They closed the night out with Figured You Out. It was a long night of Rock that was worth the money. If you were looking to immerse yourself in a couple of hours of great Rock and Roll I would highly recommend a Nickelback show.

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