Pyrotechnics aside, Nickelback turned in a somewhat subdued performance in Detroit on Thursday for its buzzed-about National Football League halftime show.
Bursts of fireworks blasted from the stage as the Canadian rock quartet performed its song When We Stand Together, from its recently released seventh album Here and Now, during the halftime break of the U.S. Thanksgiving Day match between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
Though the field announcer's introduction of the band reportedly drew a smattering of boos from those at Detroit's Ford Field, the crowd behaved itself during the relatively tame performance, which lasted less than four minutes.
A controlled group of fans ran out onto the field surrounding the stage to cheer Nickelback on, while drummers, dancers and flag-bearers also performed a choreographed routine.
Originally formed in Hanna, Alta. but now based in Vancouver, the divisive rockers inspire venomous reactions from a vocal swath of critics, but have also sold nearly 50 million albums, routinely play packed arena shows (including in Detroit) and have received various music world accolades.
A Michigan man's online petition railing against the band's performance on Thursday has drawn more than 55,000 signatures, sparked widespread media coverage and even spawned a similar effort for the rock quartet's upcoming halftime show at Sunday's Grey Cup in Vancouver.
The band poked fun at the controversy and its "most hated" reputation in a recent web video posted on comedy site Funnyordie.com.
United Way defends band
Nickelback is not being paid for performing Thursday's halftime show, which was sponsored by the United Way. The band is currently participating in a campaign supporting United Way education programs and the charity's officials have defended the choice of the Canadian rockers.
"We're grateful to Nickelback for generously donating time and resources to this effort," United Way director of publicity Sal Fabens said in a statement earlier in November.
"This is a nationally televised show that historically has featured artists from many locations, such as Indiana's John Mellencamp [and] New York's Mary J. Blige ... For the past two years, we featured Motown artists and Detroit's own Kid Rock, but the performers have never been limited to those from Detroit."
Nickelback released its latest album, Here and Now, on Monday and is expected to announce details of an upcoming 2012 tour in support of the release. The band's single Bottoms Up has hovered among the top songs on the active rock chart compiled by America's Music Charts and Here and Now has also been a top-selling album this week.