Every year, during the first week of August, the quiet town of Sturgis, South Dakota plays host to one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. Hundreds of thousands of hogs, choppers, cruisers, scoots, and springers congregate to this otherwise unknown piece of upper-Midwest real estate for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. It was amidst this backdrop of booze, chrome, and leather that Nickelback, one of the world’s biggest bands, filmed their latest live release, Live at Sturgis 2006.
Here we are in ’09, and we are just now getting our first look into this polished and pyrotechnically pleasing live performance. Nickelback is a group known for wowing their audience, and this DVD delivers (although spending nearly two years in post-pro doesn’t hurt).
The four post-grungers waltz onto a stage erected in front of a 35,000 strong sold-out audience and chug out two powerful pieces before the crowd even knows what hits them. And really, it’s the beginning of the set that is so stunning. Only ten minutes into the performance and one can already smell the stench of stale beer, sweat, and gunpowder.
Holding close to a formula that has obviously served them well for years, Nickelback’s set ebbs and flows with a mastery suited for more seasoned performers, such as Metallica and AC/DC. The dynamics are what really make the performance, as each piece is specifically chosen to compliment the one preceding and following, while giving the audience exactly what they want: a powerful menagerie of 12 beasts of rock radio pieced together precisely to elicit the elation of an audience hell bent on singing every line and pounding their fists to every beat.
And, might I say, vocalist Chad Kroeger is a man who knows how to whip his audience into a frenzy. These guys are not your shy and gentle rock introverts. They enjoy what they do and they do it very well. Between almost every song, Kroeger roams the front of the stage, mic in hand, taunting the crowd to reciprocate their energy in louder and louder vocalizations. Though, being a biker-crowd, they need little encouragement to engage in animated behavior, as the already scantily clad women become even less clad prior to the fourth song.
This being an exclusive Wal-Mart release, however, the breasts are masked by added shadow, which I think is intended to look like natural clothing.
As the set comes to a close, we are treated to an encore of “Figured You Out,” the band’s ode to a rock act’s most precious commodity: The Coked Out Groupie. This quickly translates into Nickelback’s own special way of saying goodbye, which is a pyrotechnic power-punch to the face choreographed to mirror the surprisingly tight big rock ending.
Although it can be hard to tell if the polished quality of the DVD can be attributed more to post-production or their flawless delivery, any fan of Nickelback will surely be pleased with this very well-produced live recording which showcases the band’s primary strengths: their ability to rock, their ability to talk, and their crowd’s inability to keep their clothes on.