Review: Cheap Trick (& Nickelback) @ Bell MTS Place
Well…this night didn’t go as planned.
First of all, I want to put it out there that I’m not a Nickelback “hater”. I’m a Nickelback “disliker”, but I don’t hate them. I really enjoyed “The State” and then (in my opinion), after “Silver Side Up” the lyric writing went trashy and I moved on.
When the announcement came out that they were coming to town, I was really starving for some pyro, so I bought the cheapest seat in the nosebleed section. Then I discovered Cheap Trick was opening and I’ve always wanted to see them, so I was looking forward to the show.
THEN, The Goodwill Social Club announced Roman Clarke’s EP Release Party ON THE SAME NIGHT. Augh!
I made the decision to drive to Bell MTS Place, watch Cheap Trick’s set, then race over to The Goodwill to catch Roman’s EP Release, even though my Husband rolled his eyes when I told him about this plan.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.
I was sitting in the last row in section 328, ten minutes before Cheap Trick took the stage. I glanced over at the Corporate boxes because that’s where my Husband was sitting…(sigh).
Then I checked my Twitter page and my friend Matt sent me an email that he had an extra ticket and he was in row 4. Did I want it? Augh…ordinarily this question would thrill me, but not this time. This time I seriously weighed the pros and cons.
I knew if I went down there, there was a good chance I wouldn’t see Roman and I REALLY wanted to see him. But let’s be honest…how often are my reviews from the FOURTH row at Bell MTS Place? Never. And sometimes I get tired of the “ants on a stage” perspective and I was aching for the thrill of being that close to a huge production filled with rockin’ music; even if that music was Nickelback.
Matt told me that Roman wasn’t supposed to go on until 11:30 p.m. and that solidified the deal. Sorry Roman, as much as I wanted to see your show, that’s far too late for this Mom (plus I have another show to review tomorrow night).
I jumped from my seat and literally ran through the concourse. Matt met me at the bottom of the stairs, handed me my ticket, and guided me to the fourth row, just as Cheap Trick started their set.
I remember when I was younger, my Brother had a Cheap Trick guitar pin. I’m not sure he even knew their music, but I think he liked the pin because the guitar was orange. And that’s the extent of my Cheap Trick experience. But I was pretty sure I knew Cheap Trick songs, I just didn’t know I knew them…
They started with “Hello There”, (which I didn’t recognize) and I really liked “Long Time Coming”, but didn’t recognize it either. It wasn’t until the seventh song (“The Flame”) that I turned to Matt and yelled “OOH! OOH! I KNOW THIS ONE!” After that, I knew all the songs.
Guitarist, Rick Nielsen was fun to watch, he spent a lot of time throwing guitar picks around like sunflower seeds and I ended up with one. When he ran out of picks, the stage hand velcro’d another row onto his mic stand; I’ve never seen so many picks. Near the end Rick came out with handfuls of picks and threw them into the audience like confetti.
Tom Petersson’s twelve string bass solo was cool, but it was “I Want You To Want Me” that had the crowd standing.
“Dream Police” was next, followed by “Surrender” and Rick’s over the top five neck guitar, which ended the show.
Whenever I picture the members of Nickelback in my head, I always remember them in their early post-Grunge days, with the long hair. Those days are long gone and the more “polished” Nickelback with their short hair and bleached teeth, kind of surprised me.
Their set started with “Feed The Machine” and then vocalist, Chad Kroeger asked the audience why it had taken them so long to come back to Winnipeg. The answer was throat surgery.
After “Photograph”, Chad said they were going to “play one for the ladies” at which point I crossed my fingers it wouldn’t be a trashy song about prostitutes. Thankfully it was “Far Away”, which is a rock ballad.
“Too Bad” was probably my favourite song of the night. In the middle, the band morphed the song into The Tragically Hip’s “Blow At High Dough” which was a welcome break, but Chad’s voice didn’t do the song justice. Ironically, it was a bit too sweet.
Later in the show, Chad walked over to the pit at the side of the stage and everyone put up their hands so he could touch them. One of the young girls had her hand out and she turned away to talk to her friend just as Chad touched her hand. By the time she turned around again, he was gone and she started crying like she had just touched a Beatle. Times change, but they remain the same.
“This Afternoon” gave me flashbacks of Kip Moore at The Burt. He didn’t play any Nickelback songs, but I remember being amazed at how blurred the lines were between modern Country and Rock.
“This Afternoon” could easily be played on a modern Country station (maybe it is and I’ve never heard it?) and I wonder how many audience members at Bell MTS Place were Country fans as well. I mean there’s the hard Nickelback stuff, but I bet the ballads would appeal to modern Country lovers.
Matt left shortly after “Song On Fire”, mentioning something about “not being drunk enough for this”, which made me laugh. In hindsight, I probably should have left too, because the next song was introduced as having “the most profound lyrics” which made me nervous because I detected extreme sarcasm. Sure enough, it was the vile “Something In Your Mouth”, and the show kind of went downhill from there…
Chad invited two audience members up on stage to sing “Rockstar” (bleh) with the band. He chose a girl from the side pit and remarked that her choice in shirts was screaming “I want to get up on stage and sing with you” (dry heave). And then he picked a guy named Trey who was standing right next to me. They all sang “Rockstar”, and the sound guy lowered Trey’s mic substantially. After the song, Trey came back to our row and while everyone patted him on the back, he said “Thank you, thank you everyone, I just want to live a normal life,” which made me laugh.
Sometime around “Figured You Out”, with lyrics like “I love your lack of self-respect while you’re passed out on the deck, I love my hands around your neck”, I decided it was a good time for a washroom break.
“How You Remind Me” ended the set, and the two song encore included “Gotta Be Somebody” and “Burn It To The Ground”.
I did enjoy Cheap Trick and I’m glad I saw them, but I’ve had my fill of Nickelback and that’s the last time I’ll see them, even if someone offers me 4th row tickets. Also, there was no pyro which was the reason I bought my ticket in the first place. Haha!
After the show, Matt tried to convince me to come to Roman’s show, but despite how often I do it, writing reviews is not easy for me. They take a substantial amount of my time. Shows that start at midnight are not realistic for my life.
However, I needed an EP, and he agreed to buy me one. I folded up a $10 bill into a paper airplane and as I drove past The Goodwill, I rolled down the window and threw the money out the window as Matt Frisbee’d the EP into my car.
I ripped it open, popped it into my CD player, and listened to it on my ride home. It’s very good. I can’t believe such a young guy is making music like this.
As I’m typing this review, Matt is at Roman Clarke’s show. His emails are full of wonderful words like “WOW!” and “blown away!”, and now I’m jealous…
You’re next on my list, Roman Clarke.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMs