support Skillet
author PP date 13/11/13 venue Forum, Copenhagen, DEN

Attending shows at Forum is always an interesting experience because the size of the bands playing here usually dictates that large portions of the crowd are made up of not music enthusiasts, but of people who treat going to a concert as same type of throwaway entertainment as going to the cinema: they've probably heard a few hit singles on the radio, but ask them to name a few albums by the band in question and you'll be met with blank stares. As such it's not surprising to look around and find people yawning, not just because Nickelback are playing, but because they've merely been dragged here by their boyfriends or girlfriends because they wanted to do something fun together. I guess I'll never fully appreciate these types of shows. Either way, let's look at Skillet first, whom Nickelback had brought along as support tonight.

Skillet rocking out


Although Skillet haven't really hit it big on this side of the pond despite having released nine albums since 1996, back home they are a thriving mainstream rock band and have been nominated for a Grammy twice for the best rock gospel album (2005 and 2007). Their vocalist has a slight papa roach vibe going in his delivery, as does their music on a few occasions, although we're quite a bit more in radio friendly American chart rock territory. To spice things up they have a violinist and a cello player who are both moshing on stage for "Awake And Alive", which complement's the band's rock'n'roll energy nicely. Their vocalist has lots of charisma and has difficulty standing still, so he is predictably drenched in sweat just a few songs into their set as he's all over the place on stage. Most male eyes are probably fixated on their rather attractive looking female drummer, who puts on an impressive performance herself as depicted by the giant video screens on both sides of the stage. "You people over here are awesome", singer John Cooper says, pointing at a section in the crowd that's apparently singing along to Skillet songs, before referencing rock'n'roll on multiple occasions during his in between song banter. In general, Skillet's performance is what Nickelback's should've been, an energetic celebration of arena sized mainstream rock.

Nickelback's elaborate light show


Like any arena rock band of their size, Nickelback's production on stage is worthy of a mention of its own here. They have three enormous LED video panels behind them, which feature everything from live video of the band playing, shots of the audience at the front rows, lyric content, and pre-filmed video to suit whatever song they are currently playing. Likewise, the light show is elaborate, with plenty of technology used to send lights flashing like we're clubbing in Ibiza. As an intro, the video panels depict a radio that's being tuned between different stations, all of these of course playing excerpts of Nickelback hits, this being the greatest hits tour and all. And then, here we go, a hit parade that should make everyone sing along, and the haters to admit that even though the songs are superficial, at least they are catchy.


Except that never happens. Instead, even songs like "Photograph" receive a very mild sing along with fewer than 1000 people singing along to the chorus by my rough estimation, out of the close to 9000 people present tonight. This is a surprising trend tonight where only a couple of songs receive hall-wide sing alongs ("Someday", "How You Remind Me"), but even these feel oddly deflating compared to what we should be expecting to hear from a crowd this massive. But I guess when you stand still on stage doing pretty much nothing out of the ordinary that would justify paying money to attend a live show rather than just popping on a CD, it does tend to have that kind of effect on the crowd.

"Something In Your Mouth" sees lyrics projected onto the screens, which felt like scoring an own goal as the lyrics to this song are laughably terrible ("I love the way you dance with anybody / And tease them all by sucking on your thumb / You're so much cooler when you never pull it out / 'Cause you look so much cuter with something in your mouth"). During "Savin' Me", the panels display a movie-like video, which is at least better than the lyrics video like presentation just before.

Nickelback's giant video screens

In between songs, Chad Kroeger does spend some time in banter, mostly referencing a guy called Bradley, calling out his name, after which he would appear from somewhere with a few drinks in his hand for the band members. But otherwise Kroeger sounds like he is on autopilot, and in general their entire set just feels uninspired and bland in a way that should be impossible at what is meant to be a rock concert. This is as commercial as it gets, boys and girls, and Nickelback make damn sure to not excite anyone in particular tonight, not even themselves.



  • 1. Animals
  • 2. Woke Up This Morning
  • 3. Photograph
  • 4. Something in Your Mouth
  • 5. Savin' Me
  • 6. Far Away
  • 7. Too Bad
  • 8. Someday
  • 9. If Today Was Your Last Day
  • 10. Rockstar
  • 11. When We Stand Together
  • 12. Gotta Be Somebody
  • 13. Lullaby
  • 14. Figured You Out
  • 15. How You Remind Me
  • --Encore:--
  • 16. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (Elton John cover)
  • 17. Burn It to the Ground

Photos by: Peter Troest

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