SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nickelback started their show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Monday night running through a string of early hits before relying on their later songs to fill the core of the set. In the end, they had plenty of familiar tunes to keep the 12,000-plus on their feet throughout the concert.
Front man Chad Kroeger has a strong, coarse voice, and gave us his full range, from the softer “Photograph” and “If Everyone Cared” to the more aggressive “Feed the Machine” and “If Today was your Last Day.”
“Let’s call an audible,” he said midway through the set, announcing “Because of You,” which he claimed they hadn’t tried since last winter. “I feel like doing a rocker . . . with a heavy guitar riff.” The version was strong and tight: Maybe it was an audible, maybe it wasn’t.
For all his gruff singing, he spoke between songs with the clarity and inflection of a game show host, telling corny jokes and stories and talking too often. Before “Where Do I Hide,” he explained that his childhood friend Cory repeatedly broke out of detention centers, counting on Kroeger and friends to hide him somewhere in his hometown. This was one of their heavier, hard-driving tunes, which he called a deep cut for “the 11 hardcore fans.”
After polling the audience about who bought their latest record, he sang a few from it, including “Song on Fire.” This didn’t have the pulse of their heavy stuff, or the melodic hooks of their pop hits, but it was decent.
Kroeger likened Nickelback to the drink Jagermeister, stating: Some love it or some hate…
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