Live From Sturgis (DVD)
Coming Home Media, 2008
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/07/2009
To be clear, I am a Nickelback fan. I find their music interesting and well-played. There are some songs I like better than others, but that's true for any band. The one question I have is just who is Nickelback? I’m not talking about the obvious answers, like who the band members are or how many albums they’ve released or even where they came up with their name.
Rather, the real answer is whether they are a band for adults or are they targeting a younger generation in order to generate record sales? In the same setlist where they play songs that target the younger generation, specifically “How You Remind Me” and “Someday,” they also play songs that clearly target the adults, specifically “Figured You Out” and “Animals,” both of which are blatantly about sex. Nickelback markets themselves as both a kid-friendly band and a lewd rock ‘n’ roll band.
Still, this DVD gives me no true answer. Nickelback decided to record their Sturgis Rally concert for release. Grand idea. They play the aforementioned four songs and get a lot of applause. And yet, the PG version of the band seems forced. Vocalist/guitarist Chad Kroeger’s f-bombs are bleeped and girls lifting their shirts in the crowd only receive the oppressive black bar.
So, again, just who is Nickelback? It’s a question that applies to other bands who enjoy commercial success, ranging from Motley Crue, Metallica, and others. An image is presented to the mainstream media to generate record sales, but their concerts are different. Listening to all of Motley Crue’s records, for example, you’d have no clear indication that you will hear a lot of f-bombs in concert.
Yet when Kroeger feels the urge to curse -- the cheapest way to get a crowd to respond apparently is still popular -- it’s censored. Now, I’m not advocating that Nickelback should have not edited their curse words. I am saying that it confuses the message. If you're going to curse on stage and record a concert DVD, then you cursed. Why try to change history?
The overall setlist on this DVD is compelling. The band is rocking hard during the tribute to Dimebag (Pantera's guitarst who was murdered) during “Side Of A Bullet” and explosive during the emotional “Never Again.” It captures what looks like a magical show. Kroeger is dead-on in his vocal delivery, and the crowd obviously knew they were being recorded so they were extra loud. For me, being a Nickelback fan, I think this is worthy of a viewing or two. I believe Nickelback is in it for the long haul and will be around as long as they want. A bonus is that the star-studded video for “Rockstar” is included as a bonus feature, along with a documentary about the Sturgis rally.