Nickelback Niagara Falls

Nickelback hit the OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino like a whiskey-soaked freight train, leaving subtlety and shame in the dust. Chad Kroeger, the gravel-throated ringmaster of this radio-rock circus, led his band of merry misfits through a set that was equal parts nostalgia trip and middle finger to the haters. The air was thick with the smell of beer, sweat, and hair gel as the Canadian rockers proved why they’ve outlasted every snarky critic and internet meme. This wasn’t just a show; it was a goddamn reckoning. For 90 minutes, Nickelback turned that casino into a temple of unapologetic, fist-pumping rock, and it was beautiful chaos.

Speaking of beautiful chaos, the band is also out there promoting their new Netflix biography. “Hate To Love: Nickelback” is the 90-minute confessional we never knew we needed. Director Leigh Brooks strips away the memes and the mockery to reveal the flesh-and-blood rockers behind the hits. It’s a celluloid cocktail of never-before-seen footage, raw confessions, and A-list cheerleading from the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. The Kroeger brothers, along with Ryan Peake and Daniel Adair, bare their souls and their battle scars, proving there’s more to this band than just photographing this graph. It’s the kind of rockumentary that might just convert the haters – or at least make them think twice before changing the radio station.

 

From the moment the first chords of “San Quentin” ripped through the air, it was clear this wasn’t going to be your average casino gig. Nickelback, often maligned by critics but beloved by millions, came out swinging with the confidence of a band that’s weathered two decades of both adoration and derision.

Chad Kroeger, his signature rasp in fine form, prowled the stage like a lion in a denim jacket. Ryan Peake’s guitar work was razor-sharp, while the rhythm section of Mike Kroeger and Daniel Adair provided a thunderous foundation that had the crowd’s collective pulse racing.

The setlist was a greatest hits parade, with “Savin’ Me,” “Far Away,” and “Animals” eliciting massive singalongs. It was during “Someday” that the band’s tight musicianship really shone, with Kroeger and Peake’s harmonies soaring over the casino floor.

However, this rock ‘n’ roll rodeo wasn’t without its hiccups. The show, clocking in at just under 90 minutes, felt surprisingly brief for a band with such an extensive catalog. The absence of pyrotechnics, a Nickelback live staple, was noticeable, leaving some fans yearning for that extra visual punch.

What the show lacked in length and pyro, it made up for in sound quality. The mix was impeccable, allowing each instrument to breathe while Kroeger’s vocals cut through with crystal clarity. “Figured You Out” and “This Afternoon” benefited particularly from this sonic precision.

The night took an amusing turn during “Photograph” when Kroeger flubbed the lyrics. In a moment of rock ‘n’ roll camaraderie, his bandmates forced him to down a “shot of shame.” It was a humanizing moment that showcased the band’s self-awareness and ability to laugh at themselves.

The highlight of the evening came during “Rockstar,” when a fan named Randy was invited on stage. In a twist worthy of a Nickelback song, it turned out to be Randy’s third time performing with the band. The crowd ate it up, chanting Randy’s name as they exited the venue.

“How You Remind Me,” the song that catapulted Nickelback to superstardom, served as the main set closer. It was a reminder (pun intended) of why this band has sold over 50 million albums worldwide.

The encore, featuring “Gotta Be Somebody” and “Burn It to the Ground,” felt almost like an afterthought, perhaps a casualty of the show’s truncated runtime. Nevertheless, it sent the crowd home satisfied, if not entirely satiated.

Throughout the night, Kroeger’s banter was heavy on inside jokes and playful jabs at his bandmates. While endearing to die-hard fans, it occasionally threatened to derail the show’s momentum.

Opening act Owen Riegling, hailing from nearby Mildmay, Ontario, proved to be a pleasant surprise. His rootsy, boots-in-the-dirt authenticity drew a enthusiastic response from the local crowd, setting the stage nicely for the headliners.

All photos by Dan Savoie

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Owne Riegling:

 

 

 

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