Nickelback fired up for North American tour
Getting on a "flying stage" and performing confidently isn't as easy as it seems. Just ask Nickelback lead singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger, whose band accomplishes the feat on its North American tour.
The band's stage for its current tour features a clear, circular stage that lifts upward and floats out above the crowd (with a little bit of help from cables).
"We were in pre-production for -- I don't know -- a week to 10 days just practicing everything, knowing where we're supposed to stand, so, you know, one of our legs doesn't get blown off," Kroeger told journalists during a recent teleconference with guitarist Ryan Peake.
"And we had never taken the thing up to show height. So we get on. And, we're like, 'OK, we've got this down. You know we've rehearsed a lot. We know everything.' Then all of a sudden, we're like twice as high as we've ever been in pre-production and we're way up there.
"We're trying to play our part and look cool while we're doing this," Kroeger explained. "I'm trying to not fall over and this thing starts spinning. It's just absolute insanity."
Nickelback -- which also includes bassist Mike Kroeger and drummer Daniel Adair is touring behind its album "Here and Now," which has spawned the hits "Lullaby," "When We Stand Together" and Bottoms Up." It's an ambitious album with an equally industrious tour.
"I guess the mindset that I've always had is, 'Come on guys, bigger, bigger, bigger, better, better, you know, more, more everything," Kroeger said.
When the band finally saw the completed stage, there was "so much eye candy and so much stuff going on, it was incredible. But I'm, like, how are we going to fit fire and explosions and the whole 9 yards into this as well?"
Sure enough, the pyro team came along and it worked. Kroeger admitted, however, that the crew scaled back a couple things because the show was so "production intensive."
"But it's served us well," he said. "We keep trying to keep our tickets lower than everyone else and bring more of a show. And with this day and age and everybody seeing everything on YouTube and everyone's been to Vegas before. And everyone's seen every gag before.
"It's kind of tough to be able to bring something new, you know? But then I'll turn to Ryan and Ryan will be, like, 'At the end of the day, dude, they're still coming to hear the tunes.'"
On the tour, those tunes are a mixture of old and new. Kroeger said the "Here and Now" material is going over well, judging from opening night in Moline, IL.
"And I think I realized how hard it is to sing some of the old stuff," he said. "So, we brought back 'Never Again' from 'Silver Side Up.'
"We stepped far way back in the set. We took out 'Too Bad.' We took out 'Saving Me.' And we put in -- what's off a new record? -- "This Means War." That one's no picnic to sing either. 'When We Stand Together,' 'Bottoms Up' and 'Lullaby' off the new record and those ones seemed to go over really well. I think 'Lullaby' was actually one of the high points of the night. Everybody was definitely screaming along to that one."
Touring alongside Nickelback this time around are Seether, Bush and My Darkest Days through June 26. (Bush is the sole opener afterward.) That's a lot of music for one evening, Kroeger admitted. But, he said, "we've got a great package."
"We even shortened our set up. It was usually about two hours. And we got off stage in about an hour and a half, just because that is a lot of music. You don't want to bombard somebody.
"Our weekend sets will probably get a little longer. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, people aren't looking at their watches so much."
19 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
21 - Montreal, Quebec - Bell Centre
22 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
24 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
25 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
27 - Hartford, CT - XL Center
28 - Worcester, MA - DCU Center
30 - Washington, D.C. - Verizon Center
2 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
4 - Orlando, FL - Amway Center
5 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Bank Atlantic Center
15 - Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place
16 - Calgary, Alberta - Scotiabank Saddledome
18 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Credit Union Centre
20 - Fargo, ND - Fargodome
22 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Center Omaha
23 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
25 - Milwaukee, WI - Bradley Center
26 - Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center
29 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
30 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena
1 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
2 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
5 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
7 - Tulsa, OK - BOK Center
8 - Wichita, KS - Intrust Bank Arena
10 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Energy Solutions Arena
15 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
18 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
20 - Nampa, ID - Idaho Center
21 - Portland, OR - Rose Garden
23 - Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Dome
24 - Spokane, WA - Spokane Arena
26 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Rogers Arena
14 - Hershey, PA - Hersheypark Stadium
18 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center
20 - Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
21 - Noblesville, IN - Klipsch Music Center
24 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
25 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
27 - Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
28 - Virginia Beach, VA - Farm Bureau Live
30 - Raleigh, NC - Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion