Nickelback vocalist Chad Kroeger was clearly enjoying his visit to Liverpool, hollering the city name long and loudly at frequent intervals. This date, one of only two UK shows on the current leg of their tour, came so soon after their last batch of arena shows that I thought they may have had trouble filling the venue. As I was able to get a standing ticket on the night, I expected to find a half-empty hall. However, upon entering the arena floor it was apparent that they had indeed sold well; all the seats looked in use and the floor was already filling up. I can only assume that they had a substantial walk-up crowd on the night, and that those who had bought in advance had elected to go in the seats. The show itself was broadly similar to that given in Manchester last May; the full production complete with pyro, lights and video screen was present and correct, as was the stage ramp with rotating drum kit. They did change the set list around a little, and they displayed a nice touch in performing 'I Ran (So Far Away)' for the local crowd; recognising the fact there's more to Liverpool's music scene than the Fab Four they delivered a much-rocked up rendition of A Flock Of Seagulls' 80s hit.
As with their previous show last year, there was a lot of humour and joking about between songs, both with the crew and the audience, in particular their guitar tech 'Timmy' is getting a following of his own, with five audience members decked out in T-shirts which spelt out 'T-I-M-M-Y' pointed out by Chad Kroeger. It is good to see a band of this stature involving their crew in the show, although Timmy is often seen adding additional guitar and keyboards. It was once again a professional production, this band are not claiming to be the saviours of rock, and it's unlikely they'll be remembered in revered tones in twenty years' time, but they do know how to put on a show, and they do have the songs which make it all possible. For the ten thousand or so who showed up at the Echo Arena, that is more than enough.
Support was from Daughtry, a band about whom I knew absolutely nothing. Their set was shortened, as I learned later, owing to technical problems, but their lead singer (after whom the group is named) had a good strong voice, well suited to the arena-friendly anthemic rock they peddle. They were decent live, but a little bit too polite for me. Their main problem is that there is already one Alter Bridge, and they do this sort of thing much better. That said, although I had not previously heard of them before, there were plenty present who had, and they did get a decent reception from the crowd. They do lack that killer song though, one which will lodge itself in the mind and strike a chord with the public. Nickelback have managed to do that more than once, hence their arena status today. If their openers can come up with something that has a similar effect, they will succeed.