I again had to play chauffeur to my brother and his friends (well, now the "new" girlfriend and her sister who he'd known for a while) and ferry everybody to the station to catch a train to Homebush Bay (of course I was left to work out all the finer details *sigh*). So we got as far as the station carpark when my brother asked if I remembered the tickets. Of course I'd forgotten, and it's not like he made the effort to get them beforehand, so I had to speed all the way home and leave them to buy a ticket at the station (cause it was faster with one person than carting all of them). Well I got as far as the opposite end of the carpark upon my return when I heard the train pull in. I dashed all the way across the asphalt running as fast as I could, including up the hill where I had to actually slow to a walk to be able to breathe again, and I saw the train was still sitting there at the station. I thought it was being considerate. So I ran the rest of the way up the hill, pushing myself to run when my legs felt like they were about to buckle beneath me, and I got within 3-4 metres when they closed the doors. Of course my awaiting companions looked at me like I was half crazy and I collapsed rather dramatically onto my knees on the concrete - mainly cause I really couldn't stand anymore, and I definately needed a whole lotta oxygen. So after the "weird family" comment got thrown around, I hauled myself up using the fence and my legs felt like string - completely unsupportive. So I told the others we had to grab a seat and we went around the corner onto the platform and sat down. We were being pestered by a local who nicely informed us we'd be waiting half an hour (like I could help the fact the doors closed on us - did she not see me run & collapse in her lurking?) and, um, well the other lot were all conversing with each other, and I was trying to breathe and get back to some kind of normal state that didn't require inhaling sharply (and thereby texting original_lie to whine and entertain me).
Anyway it seems that the trains ran more frequently or something at Lidcombe because they not only had the Nickelback concert at the Sydney Superdome, but Telstra Stadium (which was the main stadium for the Olympics) was holding an AFL match - Sydney Swans vs Geelong (um I'll guess Supercats but I'm not sure cause I don't actually follow AFL). Mind you the advantage to this was that there was food located outside the stadium and we hadn't had dinner... but we still didn't eat. We headed straight to the venue only to discover we were having bag checks and you had to throw out all food and drink (yet you could purchase these from INSIDE the venue if you wanted to pay a hefty price and wait in a massive queue for a good hour *rolls eyes*), and of course cameras weren't allowed. Well this proved to be interesting because my brother's friend brought her camera (despite the fact we weren't really sitting that close) so this ended up being stowed away in her younger sister's jacket.
It took forever for Nickelback to come on stage. We were treated to a mass of rock numbers over the loudspeaker (my brother was super excited to hear Audioslave - it was like we were about to watch them LOL, and I was much the same when AC/DC came on but that's sort of because it applies to a few different ppl now). The bass was FAR too loud, it was going right through us and we were towards the back of the venue 2nd row from the back of the first elevation (um, to try and put this into perspective - the venue we were in is where the basketball was held so if u can imagine us being up the other end of the court from the loudspeakers - much like that. Can I also add that the one and only time I was ever in this venue all those years ago I despised it and vowed never to come back? I had to sacrifice that to see Nickelback again, but despite improvements my opinion did not change). The support band was also excessively loud, but that was fine because they were fairly good. They're an unsigned Sydney band called Ultimo. The lead singer was distinctly scottish (well - I actually thought I was listening to Dominic Monaghan and was humouring myself thinking how canadian_turtle would have loved this and pretending they were Driveshaft). It also had a bit of a new-INXS kind of feel to it to.
So, by about quarter past nine, we finally got the boys onto stage. Firstly can I say how much it is pissing me off lately that we've had to pay so much more for concerts only for them to start later and finish earlier? It's really aggravating, and especially for a band like this who have had multiple albums I don't think it would hurt anyone if they played for 2 hours (as used to be the case) and not just for a little over an hour.
They started with a bang (literally) and opened with "Animals". It was good but now we had some other problems rearing their heads. Well, actually, both the guitarist AND Chad sounded muchly off-key, and all of a sudden the music was not as loud as it had been the rest of the night. But I bit my tongue and waited and hoped that they were just getting settled. This is bound to happen sometimes. And I remember how awesome Nickelback was last time they were out here when I went which was why I was determined to go no matter where they were playing this time. Chad, thankfully, got himself sorted out by halfway through the second song. The guitarist, sadly, did not. And unfortunately this made a bad scenario for "Savin' Me" when the guitarist's microphone was up louder than Chad's. The way they structure some of the songs is have the drummer and the guitarist singing along to Chad for certain lines. Well when an off-key someone (who only successfully pulled off the "Hurry I'm fallin'" part which I'd say is his usual part) was more vocal through the front of house speakers than Chad, it kind of partly ruined the performance. I know I was sitting there saying "Someone needs to turn Chad's mike up" cause we could barely hear him :( You would think the engineers would know who the lead singer is, wouldn't you? *sigh*
There were other problems. Chad kept bitching about the airconditioner not working. He was mocking the venue people saying "Here's an idea. Why don't we let 15000 people FRY?" and then he told everyone to check next to their seats for the on button and was chuckling at himself and imitating people from the crowd checking and going "oh it's not next to me". Sad to say, Chad, whilst you were up there wiping your face, up where we were we were still in jackets. I think the lights were more the problem than the aircon.
The major problem though was the video. The band has a video sequence that runs in the background on the little big screens. Well we could tell before the show even started they were having probs with that. But it lasted 2.5 songs before it died - halfway through "Photograph" :( So all the personal photographs they were sharing to go with the lyrics kind of died, leaving us just to watch their images on the big screen (but, hey, they're spunky rock guys anyway so that was all fine). What I did like though in the video was they had managed to throw down these polaroids with different pictures which was EXACTLY what I had pictured the clip to look like. Unfortunately that's where the video stuffed up so I didn't get to see whether my vision had been broadened. I must applaud the video guys though for going to the greatest effort to make it look like there wasn't a problem. Chad didn't even notice until they wanted to do a tribute for a friend of his who was shot on stage playing his guitar at a concert last year (this is what "Side Of A Bullet" was about, and it made more sense and was far more poignant knowing this). With the lights out, Chad was trying to govern the situation as best he could telling us that it "looks like the video's taken a shit" and saying they'd be able to handle it without the video, and adding because he'd spent this whole time talking to us in the dark: "It'd be good if somebody COULD TURN ON THE LIGHTS!!!" They tried to make up for this by having another round of "Beer O'Clock" which is what my brother and I feared from last time - we had been in the first elevation (in a venue slightly smaller than this one) and they had thrown beer to the 2nd row in front of us. We didn't want to be covered in it, hence why we took seats again. Well we were far out of range this time with the ground floor appearing to be the widest reach that could be thrown there. Mind you I was rather pleased to have predicted this would happen again. They also shot out some "free shit" which canadian_turtle tells me were t-shirts from these air cannons. Chad said (in view of his complaining about it being so hot in the venue) that next time he was going to bring water cannons or, better yet, beer cannons. LOL
So apart from those little drawbacks it was all good. I was WAY impressed with the drummer (he's the new drummer who they sniped from Three Days Grace) and OMG he was so awesome. Apart from the fact he looked really cute (loved the little grin on his face and when he was singing *dies* I was so not arguing with the frequent camera shots he got), they gave him a drum solo which just went on forever - and I pretty much didn't mind. He is the best drummer in the universe. Seriously. I thought Vince from Invertigo was good - this guy beats him handsdown. He was playing the double-kick so fast that the movement was a blur. He was playing drums and flipping the sticks over the backs of BOTH his hands and, get this, he was doing it so fast they slowed the video down and you still couldn't be sure if you were seeing right because he was so damn fast.
All in all they missed 4 songs off the new album (which was a shame because 2 of those I REALLY love) and a few of the old singles. They did however play the bigger hits and it was nice that they finished with "Figured You Out" which is one of my favourite songs of theirs (And it was actually my favourite prior to this album when I went to the last concert).
Also I have to note in the hilarity of Chad two more things. He walked up the middle of the walkway and picked up a sign from the crowd saying "Now THIS is how you get someone's attention at a rock concert" Holding up the sign it read "TWINS 4 CHAD" and as he walked away he noted "unless that means you want to have my kids, in which case I'm going over here" LOL And secondly he kept proclaiming how they were going to be in Australia for two weeks and he wanted to get thoroughly smashed cause they were on holiday - and was mocking a whole manager/Nickelback convo where he was being told "First you're going to Germany" (to which he slapped a hand over his face and groaned) "then to New Zealand to do a show with the Rolling Stones, and then you're going to Australia" which he was all happy about and then realised what he said and turned around and said "I hope there aren't any Germans here - are there? I can see you all now, phoning the mother country saying 'we're never going to let them back into our country again'" and he laughed (and might I add his accent there sounded more Irish than German LOL).
Okay I think that's enough. Despite the problems in Sydney, it seems that everywhere else enjoyed themselves, and we did too. Ultimately I was thinking "If this band didn't have the songs to hold them up this show would have just died". It certainly tells you what the meaning of rock 'n' roll is really all about - the quality of the songs.