For over twenty years, Skillet has been rocking out all around the world, changing lives with their positive message and kind hearts. Fans all around the country have commented on the nature of Skillet; their years of practiced skill, and unique performances.
This was the fifth time I have seen the band, and I will never forget the first performance I witnessed from them. They had set up a lift for the drummer, strapped them in, turned them 180 degrees, then spun them around for an entire song. Every time I have seen them since has become more of a tradition, as they released new music and continued to impress me with their signature blueprint of hard rock and uplifting lyrics. They have always been a band that you need to see live; not just listen to through their recordings.
The last time I saw Skillet was in August, and I had mixed reviews. The setlist they had offered in Seattle seemed to be suggesting a new era for the band that I had grown to know and love over the last fifteen years. It has begun to transition into something modern, including more electronic elements than ever. Maybe I was simply caught up in the nostalgia of the era where albums “Comatose,” “Monster,” and “Rise,” had taken the Christian rock world by storm.
Skillet really knows how to play for each audience. With Sacramento being capital of rock music, they fronted the setlist with their heaviest rock songs, old and new. In Seattle, dare I say, no longer a rock capital, played their hits, and transitioned into their newer, more electronic songs. Seeing the band in a new location shed light on what happens behind the scenes as artists prep for shows that fit the culture that they are playing for, and they make sure that no matter who these people are that it is a show to remember.
I could feel the breeze of the ice-cold smoke cannons as John Cooper, the vocalist, shot them out into the crowd. Korey, his wife on guitar, ran across the stage, gritting her teeth, and jumping on and off the platform with ease. Jen Ledger on drums provided backup vocals and a heavy-hitting beat. And each time I see them live, I am more impressed by their practice, skill, and level of performance.
The band started its 2020 tour of the latest album, “Victorious” in Europe, continuing in the US this week. On Thursday night, the fans of Sacramento showed up bright and early and packed the venue shoulder to shoulder. I was amazed at how different the audience was from when I saw them in Seattle. Families brought their children for their first shows, planting the seed of experiencing live music. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic, as I was one of those kids, fist pumping and headbanging during my first rock show.
And Skillet makes it known every show that they want to inspire hope into others. Music makes you feel just a little less alone, and through pushing through that process of being alone, being isolated and in a bad place, you could immerse yourself in an environment a musician creates and get lost in it. John Cooper, the vocalist, made notes of this throughout the show, about how music impacted his whole life. “That’s what rock and roll is for, man! Music is one of the best things in my whole life. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was get home, get to my room before my dad would see me, so we didn’t have to fight and argue, put on my giant headphones, turn on my cassette tape player, and listen to The Introduction, by Metallica. After those eight minutes, all my problems would go away like magic. It’s what rock and roll does for people. Music made me not feel so alone, and not so invisible, and it made me feel so much better. It felt like the only person who understood what I was going through, who I was, was whoever was singing that song.”
This message is quite a familiar one for me. As I grew up, going to a Skillet show was a reminder that I wasn’t alone, no matter how bad things felt, or what I was going through. Seeing Skillet again inspired me again, and it encouraged me to know that a band that had been around for so long managed to keep the same message. The next time Skillet will be in my area, I will be there.
- Helana Michelle
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