It’s late October and I’m walking through Disney Springs in Orlando, FL to the House of Blues for the Victorious War tour featuring Alter Bridge and Skillet. It’s the second of two nights the tour is here and the last night of the tour altogether. I make my way through a shoulder to shoulder crowd trying to find anywhere I can stand and have a decent view without ruining someone else’s. Being 6’4” I ruin the view of most people I stand in front of. Crazy enough, there’s a spot I find that’s almost as if it was just waiting for me; back of the room (so I’m not directly in front of anyone), yet only 30 or so feet from the stage. It’s on a step too, so my vantage point over the crowd is absolutely perfect.
The wait for the transition from the opening band to Skillet isn’t a very long one and the band takes the stage, kicking off their set with “Invincible” off their last album of the same name. It’s a good way to set up the rest of the set (setlist posted below) that follows, and the night is off to a pretty good start. The band keeps the energy high most of the night, setting up and knocking down selections off albums going back to Comatose, playing fan favorites like “Whispers In The Dark” and “Monster” to songs fresh of the new album, “Legendary” like…”Legendary” and “Save Me” (a personal favorite).
If you’ve ever seen Skillet live, you have something of an idea of what to expect. If not, indulge me for a moment as I share the experience with you as best I can. First and foremost, regardless of whether you prefer the old material or the new, or wherever you may find yourself on that scale, the energy the band puts out from the stage is palpable and undeniable. I’ve seen them numerous times throughout the years and have yet to even question whether or not they’re giving it their all. They throw down and you know it.
Secondly, the sound that emanates from the stage is huge. You feel it go right through you every time. Now, bear in mind, in my own experiences over the years, I’ve only ever seen Skillet in outdoor settings, with one exception, and that was in an arena. So there has always been a lot of space for that sound to go before it hit me in the past. Not so here. The House of Blues is most certainly a smaller sized venue and if I’ve felt the sound before, you can bet I was feeling it on a much grander scale here; no complaints.
There are several things the band does on stage that are designed to grab and hold your attention, whether it be fog/steam (?) shooting from the hands of John Cooper as he sings out “Legendary”, small platforms lifting the guitarists during another song, well-timed pyro, or a live cellist playing the string parts, it’s clear that Skillet has a good handle on their performance and what it takes to entertain an audience. In times past, I’ve even seen them have a huge robotic monster head make its way to the stage as they readied to perform “Monster”.
Whereas I can draw comparisons all day long to a large outdoor show to a more personal, intimate setting like the House of Blues, there are some pros and cons to each. In the outdoor events, the pyro has a far greater capability, as do the rising platforms, fog, etc. So in that particular regard, some parts of the show only stood up to my previous experiences so much, but then, that’s to be expected. I really would like to see them dig a little deeper into their library to albums like “Collide” and “Alien Youth”, but they sound as good as ever live and haven’t lost any steam over the years.
The thing I love is that after close to 20 years now, I’ve been able to go see Skillet and not only does the live show look and sound as good as ever, but their love for the Lord and their boldness to share Him from the stage hasn’t waned in the least bit. That is an extreme rarity to see in a band that has seen the level of success Skillet has.
If you find that Skillet is going to be passing through your area on tour and you have the opportunity to see them, try and make it out. It’s an experience you won’t forget.