Awake and Alive Tour rocks Rockford

by Reggie Edwards \"\" When I saw the announcement for Skillet’s Awake and Alive Fall Tour, I knew a few things right off the bat. One, I knew that Skillet alone would put on an amazing show. Then throw in Disciple and Manafest with We As Human, and you’ve got one of the top-notch Christian tours of the year. Second, I knew there was no way I was going to miss this show, so I made my way to Rockford, Illinois. I was not disappointed. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. First on the night was We As Human. I wasn’t familiar with them going into the show, but they blew everyone away. Their high energy and solid rock sound made it clear they deserved to share the stage. \"\" After We As Human got the crowd’s adrenaline pumping, Manafest hit the stage. Hitting the stage on a skateboard, his band pumping out the sound of “Avalanche,” Manafest’s set was lively and full of excitement. There wasn’t a dull moment during his set. \"\" He took time to tell the crowd about how God had taken him from a timid, shy person and given him the confidence he needed to be on stage in front of thousands of people every night. After that, he played “Every Time You Run.” Disciple was third on the bill. I knew from Ignite Fest what to expect from them, as I did with Manafest from Cornerstone. Disciple sounded on stage just as they do on record- heavy, fast-paced and outstanding. There’s no doubt the rocked the crowd. I wasn’t sure there would be an audience left standing for Skillet, let alone a stage. \"\" My personal favorite point in their set (besides “Invisible” and “Dear X, You Don’t Own Me”) was when they surprised us with an acoustic Skillet medley…of older Skillet songs from the early days, including “Saturn” from Skillet’s self-titled 1996 record. Toward the end of their set, John Cooper of Skillet ran on stage and rocked out with Kevin and the rest of the band too, which was amazing (especially since he was wearing a Stryper shirt). Then, finally, it was time for the headliner and the reason most people came out to the show- Skillet. I’ve been following Skillet since Alien Youth and this was my third time seeing them so I was pretty amped up and knew what to expect. They put on one heck of a show, even without the fire and pyrotechnics they usually have. As the lights dimmed, a violin player and cello player hit the stage in front of a black backdrop with the white Skillet logo. They began playing a classical version of “Whispers in the Dark.” As they played on, the strong beat of Jen Ledger’s drum kit began to hit accompanied by on-key strobe lights. When the intensity had reached its climax the backdrop fell, unleashing Skillet’s insanity. With smoke machines and intense strobe lights, this was one amazing show, one that proved that Skillet is the premier Christian rock band today. They played every song the fans came to see- “Comatose,” “Hero,” “Awake and Alive,” “Monster” and more. With “Monster,” the lights went down and all we could see were a set of glowing red eyes on stage. Then, as the crowd was getting antsy and ready for more rock, John Cooper’s voice rang through the arena- “Rockford, Illinois, do you feel like a monster!?” As the lights came up and the sound of “Monster” resounded around the arena, John Cooper was standing atop a giant skull- one with smoke machines coming out the sides and with color-changing eyes. \"\" Perhaps the comical point of the night is when Cooper forgot the words to “It’s Not Me It’s You.” As the song started he began singing the second verse and could not, for the life of him, remember the first verse. Luckily, a fan pulled out their phone and showed Cooper the lyrics- a moment he said “Never Happens. I never forget my own words.” He had a great attitude about it and did not let it take away from the show- the sign of a true artist. To cap off the show, Skillet played an extended version of “Rebirthing.” Leaving the show, I couldn’t help but be blown away by the entire lineup. If you haven’t seen We As Human, Manafest, Disciple or Skillet yet, be sure to get out and catch them the next time they come close to you. You won’t be disappointed.