The fact that Nickelback is becoming a repeat visitor to Wichita isn’t lost on the Canadian hard-rock foursome.
After the band performed two songs at Intrust Bank Arena on Friday night, frontman Chad Kroeger addressed the energetic crowd of 10,000.
"It’s been a long time since we’ve been here," Kroeger said. "A little too long if you ask me."
As part of its Here and Now Tour, Nickelback made its second trip to Wichita. The band last performed here in 2010.
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Much of the crowd cheered when Kroeger asked who had previously been to a Nickelback concert, suggesting that many were in attendance two summers ago. But while Nickelback offered several past hits, Kroeger belted several songs from the band’s newest album, which the tour is named after, to keep the show fresh.
The performance began with a bang, as an explosion preceded the opening notes of "This Means War" from the 2011 album. Kroeger and his three bandmates continued rocking while fire shot behind them, delivering earlier hits "Something in Your Mouth" and "Never Again."
The group followed Kroeger’s address to the crowd with an impromptu ode to country music followed by two power ballads, "Photograph" and "Far Away," which were Top 10 hits in 2005.
The band returned to its comfort zone after that while transferring to an elevated, rotating, circular stage at the center of the lower level. They performed "Bottoms Up," followed by "Animals," before returning to ground level to play the 2006 hit "Rockstar."
While some of the songs performed by three opening acts featured heavy guitar that drowned out lyrics, Nickelback found an optimal balance. Kroeger played acoustic guitar for "Rockstar" and the familiar words were clear from him and from fans who sang along.
The openers, though, provided a difficult act to follow.
My Darkest Days set the tone with a short but loud set, and Seether, formed in 1999, dipped into its decade-long catalog during its 45-minute performance.
Bush, which performed third, provided several highlights. The British band fronted by Gavin Rossdale hit it big in the 1990s and re-formed two years ago.
Bush started with perhaps its most well-known hit, "Machinehead," made popular in 1996, and later played the Beatles’ “Come Together” as Rossdale made his way through the crowd. The band’s closing song, "Comedown," was also met favorably.
Though the tour is named after its new album, Nickelback’s songs from it were sporadic. It closed the portion of the set from the circular stage with the No. 2 hit from 2002, "Someday." The band returned to the main stage for "Lullaby," released this year, after eager fans were shot beer from a T-shirt cannon.