Nickelback goes for over-the-top thrills for its fans

06/06/2012 5:00 AM

06/07/2012 3:54 PM

Imagine everything you know about Nickelback’s concerts, multiply that by two, and you’ll have the Canadian rockers’ new tour.

“I don’t think this even compares to anything we’ve done before. It’s so over-the-top,” lead singer Chad Kroeger said. “We’ve got this flying stage that comes down and picks us up. And it takes us across the arena and starts spinning.”

He’s not joking.

“We’re trying to focus, trying to remember the words, playing our part and looking cool while we’re doing this,” Kroeger said. “But we’re trying not to fall over, and this thing starts spinning. It’s absolute insanity. And we’ve got this massive screen that splits in six sections, and conveyor belts that transport us to other parts of the stage.”

It seems that Nickelback, whose latest album is “Here and Now,” is subscribing to the idea that concert audiences need more and more. The band performs tonight at Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena.

“There’s only so big we can actually get before we get to a certain point where everything just won’t fit in an arena,” Kroeger said. “There’s so much eye candy and stuff going on, and I’m like, ‘How is it going to fit?’ ”

Kroeger points out that the band is still able to keep ticket prices on the lower end as the production continues to grow.

“With everybody seeing everything on YouTube, and everyone’s been to Vegas before, and everyone’s seen every gag before, it’s tough to be able to bring something new,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’re still coming to hear the tunes. So we have to balance that at some point.”

In the new show, Nickelback is performing “Here and Now” songs for the first time, while also mixing in older material and reintroducing songs that had been dropped from the set.

“The new material went over great,” Kroeger said. “And I think I realized how hard it is to sing some of the old stuff. We brought back ‘Never Again’ from ‘Silver Side Up.’ We took out ‘Too Bad.’ We took out ‘Saving Me.’ We put in ‘This Means War.’ ”

On “Hear and Now,” Nickelback was looking for balance, so it’s never just a dozen hard-driving rock tunes or a dozen power ballads.

“It just ebbs and flows all over the place,” Kroeger said. “That’s the only thing we really focus on: making sure there’s lots of different stuff on there. It shouldn’t sway too far in any direction.”

The album won’t get the critically maligned band any closer to winning a Grammy Award, though Nickelback has been nominated several times.

“The only Grammy we would ever win would be a lifetime achievement award: Thanks for sticking around longer than anyone else.”

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