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In Defense of Nickelback [PICTURES]

I’m not a fan of Nickelback. But after meeting the band last night that might change.

Nickelback gets a bad rap. They spent a good portion of their pre-show meeting fans at a backstage barbecue prior to their show at Darien Lake. For people who have said lead singer Chad Kroeger has a huge ego, I didn’t see it. He joked with us, let us raid his booze, answered questions about the band and seemed genuinely engaged.

“I don’t drink before the show, [but] about four songs in, I’ll have my first shot,” he said as he pointed to my Corona and told me how jealous he was. Which prompted guitarist Ryan Peake to crack one open to rub it in to the singer.

Kroeger doesn’t drink until his voice is warmed up. For the record, Chad’s drink of choice is Jager and Red Bull — the dreaded Jager bomb. He told me he’s a pretty energetic guy already, but sometimes he gets a little too jacked when he and his bandmates start doing shots between songs, like they did often during last night’s show.

The strange thing about Nickelback is just how normal they are. I guarantee that bassist Mike Kroeger, Peake and drummer Daniel Adair could’ve gone shopping at the Walden Galleria, and nobody would have blinked. If it wasn’t for those super-cool rock star shirts (I’ve got to get me one of those), I would’ve never known they were in the band. Plus, they’re Canadian, so they naturally dress better than us anyway.

Nickelback gave their backstage guests a copy of the setlist, which was nice for planning out bathroom and beer breaks and knowing when to cover your ears for their massive pyrotechnics. But it was a high-energy show and much different from what you’d expect from a band that is known for their ballads. They did a nice job of balancing the songs to keep the energy up. The Jager bombs probably helped, too.

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