Nickelback Singer-guitarist Chad Kroeger celebrated his 48th birthday with 2,000 adoring strangers at History in Toronto last night, the year-long marquee Drake opened in partnership with Live Nation.
Kroeger was chatty between nearly every song, unscripted, funny, with off-the-cuff remarks and stories, some made up, on everything from taunting US border guards with ‘marijuana is legal’ in Canada to how you’d challenge your parents in the 1980s testing what would happen if you put metal in the microwave.
Sure, there were plenty of Jägerbombs brought to the frontman for his birthday, plenty of audience songs to hits like “Rockstar” and “How You Remind Me” — plus “Happy Birthday” — and plenty of mentions of wanting to go do celebration. for his birthday. But the night was actually a celebration of something else.
The rare club show was set to mark the Friday release of the Canadian rock band’s best-selling debut album in five years, Get Rollin’, Nickelback’s tenth studio album. It was also their first “real show” since 2019’s pre-pandemic Rock in Rio.
And while Kroeger; his brother, bassist Mike Kroeger; guitarist Ryan Peake and drummer Daniel Adair didn’t mention it on stage, earlier in the week came the announcement that Nickelback will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next March at the Juno Awards in their home province of Alberta. The honor – decided by music industry association CARAS – shows how the band formed in the small town of Hanna have become a respected rock ‘n’ roll force, with sales of over 50 million worldwide, 23 singles and over 10 billion streams.
But the History show wasn’t about the story — it was about getting back out there, after COVID went off the rails on tour. “We can shake off the dust and remember what it’s like to play in front of all those beautiful fucking people” – that’s how Kroeger told the bloated crowd who bought the tickets in less than 10 minutes when they went on sale last month.
They kicked off the 90-minute, 14-song set with their first-ever live performance of Get Rollin’ debut single, aggressive rocker “San Quentin.” The only other new song they played was the latest, lighter single “Those Days,” the nostalgia lyrics filled with 80s elements that led the singer to comment on metal and “the magic box,” the microwave.
Instead, it was past hits: “Savin’ Me”, “Photograph”, “Animals”, “Leader of Men” (“We wanted to do something for you guys that we’re not gonna do south of the border We thought we were going to fuck up,” he said of Nickelback’s first single in Canada), “Someday,” “Far Away,” “Figured You Out,” “Rockstar” , “When We Stand Together”, “Gotta Be Someone”, “How You Remind Me”.
“There are two thousand people here. Sounds better than most arenas on a Tuesday night. It feels good. It feels so good,” he said. “Let’s do one last piece here. I want to have a bottle of champagne in my hand and something burning in the other.
And with that, they came out with the incendiary “Burn It To The Ground.”
He’ll likely still be on the road for his 50th, wrapping up the cycle of Get Rollin’. A world tour will be announced in January.
In March, to coincide with Nickelback’s induction on March 14, the National Music Center in Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s version of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – located inside Studio Bell, will open a new exhibit on Nickelback’s story, shown through early 2024.
Meanwhile, two other “underperforming” shows are taking place in the United States: November 18 at the Starland Ballroom in New York City and November 20 at the Premier Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
The band are set to headline their usual size venues starting in June – arenas, amphitheaters with a few festival dates mixed in over the summer, starting June 17 at Tailgate N’ Tallboys in Bloomington, Illinois.