MGF Reviews Nickelback – Live at Sturgis [DVD]


Nickelback – Live at Sturgis [DVD]
Roadrunner Records (11/28/08)
Unrated
90 minutes

Love the band or hate it, Nickelback has become one of the biggest rock acts of the new millennium, and the group’s new DVD effort, Live at Sturgis, aims to show audiences, fans and non-fans alike, exactly why that is.

Recorded live at the Sturgis bike rally in 2006, Nickelback’s performance is part of the Rockin’ the Rally show. The set was recorded with a plethora of high-definition cameras and offers up a fair chunk of hits, but there are a few issues preventing this from being a perfect release.

The show

Arguably all of the band’s biggest hits are on here, but they stick to three of their five (at the time) albums: Silver Side Up, The Long Road and All the Right Reasons. From the ballads (“Far Away” and “Someday”) to the power-rockers (“Side of a Bullet” and “Animals”) to the biggest hits (“Photograph”, “Too Bad” and “How You Remind Me”), it’s all on here. Longtime fans will miss some of the better, more obscure content off those albums, or even something like “Leader of Men” (off The State). This becomes a more glaring issue when the concert really clocks in at slightly over an hour, and the band only does a single-song encore.

Presentation

The concert footage looks fantastic, presented in high-definition with amazing direction. This is probably one of the best-taped shows, in terms of visuals, that I’ve ever seen. The sound defaults to a 2-channel surround (?!) but is also offered in various 5.1 mixes (CircleSurround, multichannel and DTS). I watched the show in DTS and it sounded pretty solid—the band is spread across the speakers with the crowd noise pushed low in the overall mix. The only complaint, and it’s a small one, is that there are a couple of occasions where the distorted mic for the backing vocals kicks way too high into the mix, actually overpowering Chad Kroeger.

Bonus material

In addition to the concert, there’s a short behind-the-scenes documentary on the band featuring a lot of footage from another concert from the tour; there’s a “photo gallery” that looks more like screen caps from the main show; there’s a short infomercial on Sturgis and Nickelback; and there’s a video for “Rockstar” (how was this song not on the main set list?).

Censorship

This is a rock show at a biker rally. No one should be surprised that, between songs, a couple of choice words are thrown out there. For some reason these words are either dropped off the mix or overtly bleeped out. It’s especially disappointing when it’s done during “Woke Up This Morning”.

The decision was also made to digitally cloth topless women in the crowd during the many audience pans (there are more than a few moments when the cameraman zooms in and focuses particularly on females). I’m not saying topless women would make or break the show, but given the number of cameras filming the proceedings, it’s pretty certain a version of this show, sans nudity, could have easily been stitched together.

It’s especially troublesome when the band takes a brief break and Kroeger compliments the females in the crowd, with the accompanying camera pans, and the women and language needs to be censored. Why even include the exchange at that point? It was a moment that could have been easily cut.

It’s a rock show at a biker rally… what did you expect?

In closing

This is one hell of a show and, albeit a little too short, is both visually and sonically impressive. The bonus features don’t really add too much to this collection, but fans of the band will absolutely love this. All of the radio hits are on here, so even partial fans will have a good time. And parents can feel safe their kids’ minds won’t be warped by nudity or bad language, though the censorship might tick off a good chunk of diehard fans.

Rating:

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