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Nickelback, Hinder, Papa Roach, Saving Abel

Venue: PNC Bank Art Center
Date: 7/21/09
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

On a rainy Tuesday night in New Jersey four of modern day hard rock’s heavyweights took the stage at PNC to rock thousands of people. PNC bumped the start time of the show from 7pm up to 6pm which I did not know about until arriving at the venue so I sadly missed Saving Abel and arrived a few songs into Papa Roach’s set. I was bummed about Saving Abel but I did see them earlier in the year and they were very good. Their self titled debut from last year has been a mainstay in my CD player and will continue to rock me through the rest of 2009.

Papa Roach was very on point tonight sounding super tight. I was first exposed to this band on last year’s Cruefest and have to say I was much more impressed this time around. Jacoby and the boys played a handful of songs off the new album "Metamorphosis" including ‘I Almost Told You That I Loved You’, ‘Lifeline’, and ‘Hollywood Whore’ as well as staples like ‘Scars’, ‘Getting Away With Murder’, and the crowd pleasing closer ‘Last Resort’. I was surprised to see Papa Roach play under Hinder considering how much longer they have been around. Although I was ticked about missing Saving Abel, Papa Roach allowed me to shake the disappointment and carry on with the night. I am looking forward to seeing them when they come back around.

Of all the bands performing tonight Hinder was the band that I was seeing for the first time. I am a fan of their first two albums and was looking forward to hearing some of my favs tonight. Then did not disappoint and the crowd reaction they got shows that they are on the verge of something very big. I think by the time album number three comes out they will be headlining on their own. When it came time to play ‘Lips of an Angel’ the entire crowd was on their feet singing every word as if it were Motley’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ or Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’. Songs from the new album were very tight, especially heavy hitters ‘Up All Night’, ‘Take It to the Limit’ and ‘Use Me’. Lead singer Austin Winkler is all about crowd interaction and during the set even walked up and down the main rows of the audience singing an entire song off the stage. By the end of Hinder’s set the audience was primed and ready for who they came to see, Nickelback.

*BAM* As the audience was waiting for Nickelback to take the stage they took the audience by shock with a huge pyro and blackout out which led the band to ripping into the blazing ‘Something In Your Mouth’ off of the critically acclaimed "Dark Horse" album released late last year. The crowd went absolutely insane as the boys rocked the packed house. Following this track was probably my absolute favorite Nickelback song ‘Because of You’ from "The Long Road" which I will dare say is metal as fuck! The only slight disappointment to me was that the bands setlist did not differ much from when I saw them in March on the first leg of this tour. The songs they played were mostly from the last two albums and a select few from "The Long Road"” and "Silver Side Up". The highlight of the night was halfway through the set when Chad announced he had a huge surprise for the audience. The band then ripped into the AC/DC classic ‘Highway To Hell’ which featured Austin from Hinder and Jacoby from Papa Roach doing verses as well as legendary Kiss guitarist Ace fuckin Frehley doing a blazing solo which caused one of the biggest uproars in concert history from the audience. ‘Burn it to the Ground’ sounded extremely heavy and it is always great to hear ‘How You Remind Me’, the song that got me into Nickelback when I was a junior in high school. Later in the set Nickelback played the riffs from Metallica’s ‘Sad But True’ while their technicians shot t-shirts out to the audience from rocket launchers. Nickelback always thanks Roadrunner Records before playing that song because prior to its release the bands future was in limbo and when released it went to number one in every country that music can chart in. Roadrunner was in the house tonight to congratulate the band and give them plaques for "Dark Horse" selling 2 million copies in the US. The band ended the night with an encore of ‘Someday’ and ‘Animals’.

I am hoping to hear a different selection from "Dark Horse" next tour, perhaps ‘S.E.X.’, ‘Next Go Round’, and ‘Just To Get High’ as well as some more obscure tunes from “All The Right Reasons” such as ‘Next Contestant’ and ‘Follow You Home’. I will continue to say that as a diehard fan of hard rock and heavy metal music Nickelback is without a doubt in the top 5 bands to see live in concert. They play with such energy night in and night out and put their all into it no matter what. If you simply know of Nickelback because of the ballads and radio friendly hits that you hear on the regular (which I love too) I would suggest checking out any of their last four albums because there is truly some rocking heavy stuff on there. I never thought that being a fan of bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Children of Bodom and Blind Guardian that I would ever be a fan of Nickelback but once I gave them a chance and an honest listen I was beyond blown away and can proudly say that they are one of my favorite bands.

Nickelback setlist:

Something In Your Mouth
Because of You
Figured You Out
Savin’ Me
Far Away
Highway to Hell (w/ Austin Winkler, Jacoby Shaddix, and Ace Frehley)
Gotta Be Somebody
If Everyone Cared
Friends In Low Places (A quick verse and chorus only)
If Today Was Your Last Day
Burn It To The Ground
How You Remind Me
Too Bad

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