Live Review: Skillet and Theory of a Deadman resurrect rock in Gary

Skillet, Theory of a Deadman and Saint Asonia have more history together than people realize. Three Days Grace were one of the first bands to take Skillet out on the road in the non-Christian market and Theory of a Deadman were on a lot of festival bills when Skillet started working that circuit. Needless to say, when the Rock Resurrection Tour got announced a few months ago, things came full circle.  “I really do believe people in this country still love each other,” said Skillet frontman John Cooper from the stage. Before their set, though, Saint Asonia hit the stage for a set that more fans were familiar with than they realized. They breezed through an eight-song list that included nothing but the hits- including two of singer Adam Gontier’s chart-toppers from his days with Three Days Grace as well as the massive hit he did with Apocalyptica- “I Don’t Care.”  With Art of Dying guitarist Tavis Stanley filling in for Mike Mushok, the band was composed of Art of Dying members aside from Gontier (drummer Cody Watkins and bassist Cale Gontier). They sounded great and their cohesiveness couldn’t be denied.  Theory of a Deadman didn’t waste any time, kicking it off with their newest smash hit, “Dinosaur.” From there, it was a complete ambush of Theory anthems and they didn’t leave anything out.  Halfway through the set, singer Tyler Connolly took his seat behind a keyboard with nothing but a spotlight on him, majestically illuminating him while he sang “Wicked Game” solo with no backing band before they joined back with him for “Lowlife.”  Later on, they began singing Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” and, after the first verse, called for Brooks to join them onstage. He didn’t and Connolly joked that this was the third time Brooks had done this. They finished their set up “Hate My Life,” “Rx” and “Bad Girlfriend,” teeing things up for Skillet to finish the crowd off.  As the lights went down and the intro to “Feel Invincible” rained over the speakers, the crowd went insane and kept that energy until the end of the 14-song set. They threw in a few new songs- “Psycho in My Head” (which was also the theme song to WWE’s Elimination Chamber event the following night) and the reimagined version of “Finish Line,” which saw Adam Gontier join them onstage for.  They had as much of the normal Skillet stage production they could pack into the venue, including the CO2 cannons that made John Cooper look like a complete madman during “Surviving The Game.”  Skillet brought their A-Game for their first traditional U.S. headline tour since before COVID and since they wrapped Winter Jam 2022. They didn’t disappoint and made sure to tell the crowd how much they loved them and how much they meant to the band, which they always make a point to do.  If you’re a fan of any of these three bands, this is the tour for you. All three bring the heat and throw hit after hit at you, nailing you in your face and making you fall in love with them all over again.  -Reggie Edwards