Album: Comatose Comes Alive
Release Date: Oct 21 2008
Reviewer: Tyler Hess
Unlike so many bands that have been jumping on the bandwagon of live CD/DVD combos, Skillet hasn’t been around four three or four years, they’ve been around longer than some of our readers have been alive. I bring this to your attention not to dismiss those other bands, but to express how these disks have that “at last” feeling to them. The funny thing, however, is that I feel like it was a good thing that they waited. Not only have they matured throughout the years musically, changing their rock style from album to album, but they have also learned how to put on a serious show that only the big boys of the business can claim, as they’re on the brink of a newsboys/tobymac type show. That simply could not have been said February of 2004 when I first saw them, nor in 2006 or 2007 when I would see them live again, but they were improving each and every time. Excellent timing, excellent show.
So how did this particular event go? Well, what apparently followed after opening acts Nevertheless, Decyfer Down and Thousand Foot Krutch was a pull out all the tricks performance that must have left the fans both exhausted and encouraged, while bringing fans like myself something to hold onto for years to come to remind us of some good times.
The show starts out with a surprising live opening of the stringed instruments used abundantly on the Comatose studio album, then a splattering of a light show that is top notch. Most of the music from the night was from their latest release, including eight songs, plus four of the favorites from their previous effort, Collide, with personal favorite Savior being a highlight. One of the things that I appreciated for older fans (myself not really included, I’ve only known of Skillet for about five years) was that they played two songs from “Invincible”, including the worship song “Angels Fall Down” and the encore “Best Kept Secret”. Going back to their self-titled or Alien Youth albums might have been nice, but would be kind of strange considering that vocalist/bassist John Cooper is the only original member on this crew that now includes his wife Korey at guitar/keys/backup vocals, Ben Kasica shredding on another guitar, along with new girl drummer (because what is Skillet without a girl drummer??) Jen Ledger (who showed herself to not be a bad singer when given a moment in the spotlight.
Were there any problems, though? Well, a couple, now that you asked. First, the production is too good in a way. Much like how albums can often be overproduced, losing that raw feeling, the DVD was made with some edits that made this feel a little bit less personal, with effects that might be cool for a music video, but don’t necessarily belong when I want to feel like I’m part of the crowd. Also, Korey’s vocals felt a little week compared to what we hear on the studio albums, which is sad because they work so well with John’s when recorded properly.
One cool thing, however, is that Skillet shows themselves to be an unabashedly Christian band who wants to reach out to everyone. One example was the worship song, the other would be their explanation of the song “The Last Night” (though I always thought it to be obvious) as a song about a girl who is a cutter and how if she accepts the Lord’s invitation into her life then she’ll never be alone again.
Overall, if you have ever been to a Skillet show and had a good time, this does them justice and is a worthy pickup. I don’t personally find anything exciting about live CD’s when they are exactly the same as the DVD when I already own most of the songs with proper studio recording, but the extra songs are a nice incentive, which include a B-side and five acoustic songs.