February 2009

Nickelback - Live at Sturgis 2006
Koch Vision KOC-DV-6506
Format: DVD
DVD released: 2008

by Joseph Taylor

Musical Performance **
Recording Quality ***1/2
Image Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

The liner notes to Nickelback Live at Sturgis 2006 assure us that the Canadian band’s appearance at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was "about what Nickelback does best: Rocking!" If that statement strikes you as hackneyed, let me assure you that it is but one in a DVD blurb that is the printed equivalent of pumping your fist in the air. There’s lots of fist pumping and devil’s-horns making in the DVD itself, which documents Nickelback’s large-scale stage performance in front of 45,000 people at an annual event that draws half a million bikers.

Nickelback is widely scorned by critics, and I’m afraid I have to pile on. There isn’t a grunge, metal, or country-pop cliché they won’t employ. Lead singer Chad Kroeger uses the standard onstage rock exhortations, and at times you wonder if these guys watched Spinal Tap and didn’t get the joke. Still, I have to admit they know how to jazz things up onstage with pyrotechnics, flashing lights, and lots of large-screen pics and videos. The songs are performed with precision and energy, and the crowd seems to be having a good time.

Nickelback Live at Sturgis is very well shot in high definition, and I’d be tempted to say the sound was compressed if the band didn’t play anything at full throttle. Director Daniel E. Catullo III places the cameras well, and the lighting throughout the DVD is first-rate. An entertaining documentary about the motorcycle rally and a rather slow-moving one about the band are among the extras.