Nelson at the Canyon, Montclair

Having never attended a show at the Canyon, Montclair before, this writer wasn't quite prepared for how surreal an experience it would be. First of all, it's located inside of a mall. Not a strip mall, but a full-on mall with a Macy's, Victoria's Secret, etc. At least that means there's plenty of parking, but it still feels weird when you take an escalator by Macy's and make a turn into a music venue.

Once in the venue, you're faced with a choice between being seated at a table and ordering a compulsory, expensive meal or taking your chances with general access. It's all a bit "dinner theater," and isn't particularly conducive for rock & roll.

That said, Nelson's crowd isn't particularly rowdy. The twin sibling rockers, the children of Ricky Nelson and Kristin Nelson, put on a great show that weighed heavily on their 1990 smash debut After the Rain.

The entire band was in fine form as they blasted through gems like "Fill You Up," and "After the Rain." Guitarist Neil Zaza soloed himself into a frenzy and, despite the seated crowd offering little in the way of energy, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson overcame the odd surroundings and allowed us to recall the days when their flowing blonde locks were all over MTV.

They have a sense of humor about their image; they were selling t-shirts that parody a classic Nirvana shirt -- the iconic smiley face blessed with Nelson's hair. Between songs, they talk about their early days, performing new wave at Madam Wong's club and attracting the attention of punk bands such as the Germs.

But ultimately, we wanted to hear the classics and Nelson delivered. "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" sounded immense, even on this stage. Nelson, it seems, can overcome just about anything.