F
ormula One is a thrilling sport that’s known for its celebration of sheer
power, speed and pure emotion. When Abu Dhabi hosted its
spectacular F1 event this year, we wanted to celebrate with some music
that could match the phenomenal excitement and thrill of Formula One
racing. That’s why we were ecstatic when we found out that superbly talented
Canadian rock band Nickelback would be playing at the magnificent Du
Arena at a post-race concert.
AlthoughNickelback are one of our favourite bands, we had never seen them
play live before. For us, seeing them perform would be the fulfilment of a
long-held ambition.
Nickelback, who hail from Hanna, Canada, are an amazing four-part band,
led by the charismatic guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger. His immense
ability blends superbly with that of guitarist and back-up vocalist Ryan Peake,
bassist Mike Kroeger, and percussionist Daniel Adair.
Nickelback’s astonishing levels of musical skill have justifiably made them
phenomenally successful. They have sold more than 50 million albums
worldwide and were the 11th bestselling music act of the 2000s. In the United
States, they were the second best selling foreign act (only behind the legendary
Beatles) for the 2000s.
When superstar Kroeger took to the stage, dressed entirely in black, the
audience – including us – could not contain our excitement. We joined in
with the passionate cries of, “We love Chad!”
The music kicked off with just drums and bass. The music gradually got
louder and more intense as Nickelback got into their stride. The thrilling
band were playing some tracks from their latest albumHere andNow. These
songs were incredibly exciting, and were performed with utter virtuosity.
However, it was when the group broke into classic hits such as Rockstar and
How You Remind Me that we really knew we were watching something
special.
Each of the musicians in the band was contributing his all to create a
mesmerising performance. We love listening to these songs recorded, but
when you see them performed live, the passion and soul come through so
much more strongly. This was more than a musical performance: it was an
emotional journey.
Nickelback’s amazing music has variously been described as alternative rock,
post-grunge, alternative metal, and pop rock. I’mnot surprised that the critics
have had somuch trouble placing them in a box. After all, genius is impossible
to categorise. It doesn’t matter what label you put on it: this is pure class.
Nickelback’s story is a heart-warming and inspiring one of a rise to the very
pinnacle of their field through pure talent. They began playing together in
the nineties, and their awesome performances were soon recognised by the
record industry. They signed a deal with EMI and Roadrunner Records in
1999.
The release of the brilliant album The State – still one of our all-time
favourites – followed in 2000.
On their following albums, the band simply went from strength to strength.
Silver Side Up, released in 2001, contained the glorious song How you
Remind me. Of course, we were familiar with this, having played it endlessly,
but when we heard it live here in the stunning surroundings of the Du Arena,
it was like experiencing it again for the first time. I must admit that I was
choking back a few tears!
Many superb Nickelback albums have followed over the ensuing years.
Listening to songs from their latest release Here and Now, it’s clear that they
have lost none of the ability, nor the emotion and drive, which has taken them
to the very top.
Nickelback now has an unrivalled musical reputation, but their name looks
back to their very earliest days when they were still making their way. It arose
because band member Mike Kroeger used to work in coffee chain Starbucks,
and when giving customers change he would often say “Here’s your nickel
back".
I think it’s because the band are still in touch with their humble origins that
their fans can so readily identify with them. Their musical ability is
undoubtedly exquisite, but they retain an easy and beguiling charm.
Lead singer Chad Kroeger has spoken movingly of his recent engagement to
his fellow Canadian, the singer Avril Lavigne.
You might think that these two high-flyers would have found it hard to keep
the relationship a secret – but it was easier than one might think. He explains:
It’s not that hard. Just don’t tell anybody, you know. Go hang out in other
countries where they’re not going to photograph you. Make sure that, you
know, while she’s wearing the ring that it’s flipped around anytime we’re
travelling from a car to a restaurant and, you know, it’s not that tough to do.
Plus we were working together. So, it was a great excuse to be in each other’s
company without seeming like there was anything going on. So it wasn’t that
hard.”
Chad says that he is really looking forward to the’ tying the knot’: “It’s going
to be quite the wedding,” he says. “She’s got some very cool ideas for the
dress. She’s got some amazing ideas for the ceremony, the reception. I mean,
this is going to be one very unique, very cool rock
´
n
´
roll wedding.”
However, the groom-to-be confessed that he would be taking a back seat
regarding the preparations: “She’s the boss when it comes to that stuff,” he
has said. “I mean, you know how that is. Guys don’t really come in and say:
This is what I want for the wedding.’ That would not go over well.”
Kroeger also charmingly revealed how he proposed to his sweetheart,
managing to incorporate it into her work on a scrapbook:
When we were in the studio ... she had been working on the scrapbook the
entire time. So she was taking pictures and – I got the ring. I took a picture of
myself holding the ring. And I put it in the last page of the scrapbook. And I
put: ‘Will you marry me?’ She walks into the living room of the studio and
Nickelback: peerless talent
with the human touch
The charismatic Canadian fourpiece excelled themselves at the Du
Arena, with a searing performance of immense passion and verve.
Credit: Jonathan McEvoy/Daily Mail/The Interview People.