Nickelback Celebrates Frontman Chad Kroeger’s Birthday With Toronto Club Show

Nickelback singer-guitarist Chad Kroeger celebrated his 48th birthday with 2,000 adoring strangers at Toronto’s History last night, the year-old marquee venue Drake opened in partnership with Live Nation.

Kroeger was chatty between almost every song, unscripted, funny, with off the cuff remarks and tales, some imagined, about everything from taunting U.S. border guards with “marijuana’s legal” in Canada to how you’d defy your parents in the 1980s by testing what would happen if you put metal in the microwave.

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Of course, there were lots of Jägerbombs brought out to the frontman for his birthday, lots of audience singalongs to hits like “Rockstar” and “How You Remind Me” — plus “Happy Birthday” — and lots of mentions of wanting to go party for his birthday. But the night was actually in celebration of something else.

The rare club show was to mark the release this Friday of mega-selling Canadian rock band’s first album in five years, Get Rollin’, Nickelback’s tenth studio record. It was also their first “real show” since 2019’s pre-pandemic Rock in Rio.

And while Kroeger; his brother, bassist Mike Kroeger; guitarist Ryan Peake and drummer Daniel Adair didn’t mention it onstage, earlier in the week came the announcement that Nickelback will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next March at the Juno Awards in their home province of Alberta. The honor — decided on by the music industry association CARAS — shows how the band formed in the tiny town of Hanna has become a respected rock ‘n’ roll force, with sales over 50 million worldwide, 23 hits singles and streams over 10 billion.

But the History show wasn’t about history — it was about getting back out there, after COVID derailed touring. “We get to knock the dust off and remember what it’s like to play in front of all these beautiful fuckin’ people” — that’s how Kroeger put it to the pumped-up crowd who had snapped up the tickets in under 10 minutes when they went on sale last month.

They kicked off the 90-minute, 14-song set with their first-ever live performance of Get Rollin’s first single, the aggressive rocker “San Quentin.” The only other new song they played was the latest and lighter single “Those Days,” the 80s-item-filled nostalgia lyric that led to the singer’s comment about metal and “the magical box,” the microwave.

Instead, it was all about past hits: “Savin’ Me,” “Photograph,” “Animals,” “Leader of Men” (“We wanted to do something for you guys that we’re not going to do south of the border. We thought we would go waaaaay the fuck back,” he said of Nickelback’s first single in Canada), “Someday,” “Far Away,” “Figured You Out,” “Rockstar,” “When We Stand Together,” “Gotta Be Somebody,” “How You Remind Me.”

“There’s two-thousand people in here. This sounds fuckin’ better than most arenas on a Tuesday night. It feels good. Feels so good,” he said. “Let’s do one last tune here. I wanna get a bottle of champagne in my hand and something fuckin’ burnin’ in the other one.

And with that they went out with the incendiary “Burn It To The Ground.”

He will likely still be on the road for his 50th, wrapping up the cycle for Get Rollin’. A global tour will be announced in January.

In March, to coincide with Nickelback’s induction March 14, Calgary, Alberta’s National Music Centre — Canada’s version of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — situated inside Studio Bell, will open a new exhibition on the history of Nickelback, on display into early 2024.

Meanwhile, two other “underplay” shows take place in the U.S.: Nov. 18 at Starland Ballroom in New York, and Nov. 20 at Premier Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

The band is expected to headline their usual-sized venues starting in June — arenas, amphitheaters with a few festival dates mixed in over the summer, including June 17 at Tailgate N’ Tallboys in Bloomington, Ill. and the just-announced stop at the Boots & Hearts music festival on Aug. 13 in Oro-Medonte, Ont.

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