So… How Was Nickelback’s Big Thanksgiving Performance?


Thursday was not only a day for Americans to get together and indulge in pie and for Lady Gaga to indulge in some ego-stroking; it was the culmination of the Great Anti-Nickelback Movement that gripped the country this month, the day that the embattled band of Canadian brothers would unite as one on the Ford Field gridiron during halftime at the game between the Green Bay Packers and the hometown Detroit Lions. They’d finally, after so many days of sniping and LOLing, face down all those people who sneered at them and signed petitions against them and clicked “dislike” on their YouTube videos in a show of anti-yarling sentiment. So how’d they do? Well, the band may have been tepidly received at first, but all in all they did better than the Lions that afternoon. (Perhaps the home team could have used some interpretive dancers to bolster their on-field performance? At the very least, they might have calmed down Ndamukong Suh a bit!)

The band played their vaguely inspirational single “We Must Stand Together” for the halftime show—it sounds like a cross between U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and Aerosmith’s “Rag Doll,” and it has exactly zero of the latter song’s wink-and-nod overtones—and the song’s platitudes paired well with the United Way sponsorship, although maybe not so well with the flail-happy dancers scattered across the field. Here’s a video from the stands, where you can hear booing at the outset and a higher percentage of cheers at the end, although according to a commenter conspiracy theorist “It’s actually fact that [the Ford Field AV club] played cheering sounds over the pa because they knew there would be a lot of booing”:

After their performance ended, the stage got stuck on the field. It’s almost like there were outside forces that wanted them to play for even longer. Think about that!

Meanwhile, as an alternative to watching the halftime show on TV and instead crowding around a computer, local pianist Scott Bradlee released a cover of “How You Remind Me” that served to split the difference between Nickelback’s nu-metal hooks and petitioner Dennis Guttman’s desire to have Detroit-based musicians on the field between halves. Et voila, the “Motown rendition” of “How You Remind Me,” which at the very least shows that the song that propelled Nickelback to stardom down here all those years ago has quite a few melodic bona fides:


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