Case Number 17595: Small Claims Court

NICKELBACK: LIVE AT STURGIS 2006 (BLU-RAY)

E1 Entertainment // 2008 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // October 29th, 2009

The Charge

Chad: "I would like to ask you all one question, and please answer as honestly as you possibly can: ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A F***ING GOOD TIME?"
[Audience loudly applauds]
Chad: "Perfect!"

The Case

Love them or not, Nickelback has become one of the biggest rock bands of the past decade. Hailing from Canada, the band formed in 1995 and hit it big in 2001 with the release of their third album, Silver Side Up. Next, they recorded The Long Road, and their success exploded in 2005 with All The Right Reasons. Not only did five of their songs make the Top 20 but also, to date, the album has sold over 11 million units worldwide. In late 2008, they finally got back in the rock swing with Dark Horse. Despite receiving waves of negative criticism over the years, the 35,000 individuals who attended their show at the 2006 Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota didn't listen.

E1 Entertainment released the show on standard def DVD earlier in 2009. There was some mild controversy regarding this release in terms of censorship. Apparently, two versions were thrown on the market, one censored and the other with colorful language and booby shots in the crowd. Thankfully, E1 corrects this by releasing Nickelback: Live At Sturgis 2006 on Blu-ray completely uncensored and with some healthy bonus features. The concert was filmed with high def cameras all over the place -- including one from a helicopter! -- and features 12 tunes, running just over an hour in length. Here's a list of songs that were played at the concert and the album it originated on:

"Animals" -- All The Right Reasons
"Woke Up In The Morning" -- Silver Side Up
"Photograph" -- All The Right Reasons
"Because Of You" -- The Long Road
"Far Away" -- All The Right Reasons
"Never Again" -- Silver Side Up
"Savin' Me" -- All The Right Reasons
"Someday" -- The Long Road
"Side Of A Bullet" -- All The Right Reasons
"How You Remind Me" -- Silver Side Up
"Too Bad" -- Silver Side Up
"Figured You Out" -- The Long Road

Quoting former Judge Ryan Keefer on the standard-issue DVD, "As performers, they've got a long way to go before they do something that borders on original." As a moderate Nickelback listener, I'm inclined to agree with him, as many of the songs have that recycled aura that constantly goes back to the same themes of sex, drugs, and rebellion. Still, it's difficult not to identify with the nostalgic force of "Photograph" or the long-distance love spark of "Far Away." One must credit them for finding an accessible mix of the hard and soft, raw, and sensual, something that undemanding audiences can respond to. Their music has drawn an equal amount of male and female fans, which is an accomplishment unto itself. I don't see them winning Grammys any time soon, but for the time being, I'm ok with them.

The concert, however, is kind of uninspired. There's really nothing here you've never seen before, from lead singer Chad Kroeger's audience asides, to the recurring shots of the other members strumming the guitar or pounding the drums. The pyrotechnics and back screen images -- which I've never been crazy about -- -are frequent and overblown. The language is never excessive, and the mosh pit action is practically nonexistent. As for the breasts, well, they bounce up and down and the director enjoys cutting to them every 10 minutes or so. According to other reviews I read online, the censored version had digitally placed bras over them, which is rather moronic. (I just have one question: do people have jobs doing this crap?) When all is said and done, however, Nickelback fans should have nothing to complain about.

Moving on to tech specs, E1's presentation is nothing short of outstanding. The 1.78:1 1080p widescreen transfer is so sharp you can see the beads of sweat going down Chad's face as he croons. The red neon lights during the opening number and the blue ones during "Photograph" are exceptionally vivid. Black levels are solid as hell and the flesh tones are -- ahem -- as natural as they can be. The only downside to the visuals are the monochrome shifts and color enhancements, flourishes provided by the director.

I also couldn't be more pleased with the sonically awesome, uncompressed DTS 5.1 Surround track. Pulsating through my speakers as if there was no tomorrow, there was equal attention paid to both the performance and crowd noise. No distortions or background noise were detected. Chad's dialogue was discernible and came through crystal clear. An optional 2.0 Stereo track was provided. No subtitles or closed captioning. As one should expect from high def, the A/V components were equally kosher, resulting in a fabulous Blu-ray presentation. Yet, an upgrade is really only necessary if you're a die-hard Nickelback fan or if you accidentally purchased the censored version.

As for extras, we start with a 17.5 minute "documentary," which is actually a combination of behind-the-scenes footage and band interviews on their concert tour. This piece is amusing, if also rather inconsequential, as it really doesn't come off as being rewardingly informative. Next up is the 5-minute "Sturgis 101 Vignette," which gives some interesting background on the Bike Rally and how the band acquired their name. A photo gallery is also provided; take a wild guess as to which song plays while you view it. Finally, we have a music video of the band's song "Rock Star," with a succession of people -- -one of whom is Gene Simmons -- -singing each of the lyrics. This is a nice batch of bonus features, but I, for one, have always wanted something on these concert DVDs that talks about the history of the band.

The Verdict

The concert isn't really anything special, but the exquisite Blu-ray presentation provided by E1 forces me to find the band and disc not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2009 Christopher Kulik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile
Studio: E1 Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Documentary
* Featurette
* Music Video
* Photo Gallery

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1103166/combined

* Wikipedia: Nickelback
http://en-wikipedia.org/nickelback