When thousands of teenagers and 20-somethings suffer hearing loss later in life, they'll point to May 14, 2010, as the evening that started it.
Four bands at Intrust Bank Arena on Friday night played music that echoes through the chest and makes floors of solid concrete rumble. Even the slow songs.
Sick Puppies, Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin set the stage for Nickelback, which owned the marquee but shared affection from the packed house that cheered wildly for all four bands and left with ringing ears.
Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger said it best when he told the crowd, "Ninety-nine ... percent of you don't have to do anything tomorrow except take a couple Advil."
Australian trio Sick Puppies began playing around 6:15, and played for about 20 minutes. By 7, the arena was nearly full, even though the main act was nearly two hours from taking the stage.
That's because Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin have loyal followings of their own. Shinedown lead singer Brent Smith set the tone early in the set by ordering everyone in the building to stand throughout the rest of the show. Nearly everyone did.
Those on the floor had no choice, because there were no chairs. Hundreds packed tight to get as close to the stage as possible. The fans in front mostly avoided mosh pits and crowd-surfing.
The noise of overwhelming electric guitars and violent drumming often drowned out the vocals, especially while Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin played. That didn't detract from their overall sound, though, and Smith's impressive vocal range was still evident.
Both bands rocked hard, and kept their stage sets simple, with basic video screens and some laser lights.
Nickelback enjoyed all the perks of a headliner. Before the opener, "Burn it to the Ground," fireworks exploded around the stage, and during the song fire frequently emanated from behind drummer Daniel Adair. The stage also featured a large video screen that alternated between shots of the performance and of the crowd.
Nickelback's set included hits from the band's nine-year run, including "Photograph," "Flat on the Floor" and "Far Away" and broke formula with a verse from Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places."
Touring with Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin brought a broader audience, but Nickelback ruled the show, with rock songs that produced a memorable evening — and a funny feeling in the chest — for thousands.