Skillet did, as advertised, rock my face off.
It’s going to be a little difficult blogging without a face, I’ll admit, but it’s a small price to pay for last night’s totally staggering concert!
Skillet has been one of our favorite bands for a long time, so when my good friend Alyson told us they were coming to Spokane, we ran right out and bought tickets, even though the concert was still six months away! That gave us just enough time to find a sitter who didn’t mind watching the kids for the eight hours it takes to drive to Spokane, stand in line, find good seats, and jump up and down to four hours of pure, unadulterated awesome.
Our friend Amy came with us, and while standing in line we bumped into another friend, Carrie, who was there with her daughter. Here’s Paul waiting patiently with the other Panheads for the doors to open:
Skillet headlined the Awake and Alive Tour (named after a song on their new album), but they shared the stage with three other bands: The Letter Black, Decyfer Down, and Hawk Nelson. I’d never heard of The Letter Black; they opened the show with a fifteen minute set that thoroughly tested out the power of the amps scattered around the auditorium and showed off the athleticism of the very spunky lead singer, Sarah Anthony (in fact, Paul leaned over to me about halfway through their first song to inform me that he was pretty sure the petite vocalist with the Sarah Connor muscles could kick his butt.)
Decyfer Down was up next, and I was almost as excited for their performance as for Skillet’s. After rocking one of my favorite songs, “Ride With Me”, frontman TJ Harris dialed it back from the edge a bit with an acoustic rendition of “Best I Can” that showed off his grit-and-honey voice in a way that the album recording doesn’t quite do it. I wish they had played longer.
Hawk Nelson was a fun surprise for me. We don’t own any of their CDs, and their upbeat, pop punk style makes them, as their lead singer puts it, sort of the “odd band out” of the tour, but their showmanship was amazing. Right around the time I found myself belting out “Friend Like That”, I realized that I knew a lot of their songs from the radio. They played for about an hour, skillfully working the crowd into a finely tuned frenzy before clearing the stage to make way for the biggest set of the night. It took several minutes for the tech crew to set up the pyrotechnics and hydraulics; the vibration of three thousand people bathed in anticipation was nearly tangible.
And then, at last, it was time.
They were amazing!
Okay, “amazing” doesn’t really cut it, but I don’t have enough ten cent words or exclamation points to put you in my seat as the whole auditorium thrummed and shook with the thunder of heart-rending guitar riffs and three thousand people sang together at the top of our lungs, beating the air with a single wild thought. My barbaric yawp was lost in the glorious noise and all of us were dancing, jumping, fists pumping to the throbbing, relentless rhythm of the drumbeat that went on and on.
I can’t describe how it felt to stand in that press of humanity, all praising God with passion and abandon. In between songs, artists shared their faith, their stories of struggle, their victories in Jesus Christ–and in the audience, we roared our agreement and approval. It was a night of declaration.
I took some video on my iPhone, but that poor little microphone didn’t stand a chance against the wave of bass that washed over everything, so it didn’t turn out. As soon as I got home, I looked everywhere on YouTube for a clip of the beginning of “Comatose”, because I just had to show you the violinist. In case you didn’t get the memo: the violin is officially an instrument of ROCK! This video was shot by someone in the audience the night before our concert. It’s a little shaky, but you’ll get the idea. Watch the violinist; he was an animal!
The crowd went wild (of course), there was an encore (of course), and none of my favorites was left unsung. When the last note of the last song finally sounded, I was hot, sweaty, deaf, and completely exhausted, with a crick in my neck to remind me that headbangers over thirty should probably consider taking it a little easier on the upswing. Wrung out and happy, we poured ourselves into the car, turned up the radio, and made our way back to Coeur d’Alene.
We didn’t get home until well after midnight (picking up the sleeping kiddos from Grandpa & Grandma’s house on our way), but even at that late hour, it was hard to get to sleep with all that adrenaline still coursing around in my veins. I woke up this morning with last night’s songs still ringing in my ears, and wished devoutly that I could go out tonight and do it all over again.
I guess I’ll just have to content myself with John Cooper’s promise to come back to Spokane on their next tour. He said that next time they’d book the Arena. Good move. That will give us a lot more dancing room.