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Awake and Alive Tour Hits The Forum

posted Oct 24, 2011, 1:20 PM by Sarah Brehm   [ updated Nov 3, 2011, 5:11 PM ]


The Awake and Alive Tour, headlined by the wildly-successful, Grammy-nominated band Skillet, visited The Forum in Rome, Georgia on October 23, for a night a loud rock and roll and Jesus Christ! Supporting acts included We As Human, Manafest, and Disciple.


The Forum is a very nice venue in the heart of downtown Rome, Georgia. All the staff I interacted with, ticket takers, ushers, and concessions were friendly and seemed to be just as excited as the nearly 2,000 fans, mostly teens and chaperones, were about the show.


We As Human, a relatively new band out of Nashville, kicked off the show with a bang! Though they had a short set, I became a fan; they get added to a long list of bands I’ve discovered at Skillet concerts! With an energetic rock sound, We As Human reminded me of RED. Notable songs included “I Stand” (which isn’t on their EP) and their current single “Dead Man,” which is climbing the Christian rock charts. Keep an eye on We As Human; they’re a band you don’t want to miss!


The Canadian rap-rocker Manafest (and band) started off with one of his most popular songs “Avalanche” off the album The Chase. Manafest spoke to the crowd about fear, noting that he believed it stood for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” He encouraged everyone to let go of fear and follow their dreams. His set included “Impossible,” “No Plan B,” “Bounce,” and ended with “Bring the Ruckus.” And the crowd “brought the ruckus” by jumping around, hands clapping, and fists pumping.


Disciple, a heavy rock band out of Knoxville, Tennessee, has actually been around longer than Skillet—Disciple’s first album What Was I Thinking was released in 1995 while Skillet’s self-titled debut album came out in 1996. Disciple’s current album, Horseshoes & Handgrenades, won a Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year. The crowd got a little more rowdy as they jumped around to Disciple’s strong rock sound. About half-way through their set, lead vocalist Kevin Young mentioned that that morning during church on the bus (they find a local channel broadcasting a service to watch) someone read a verse that reminded him of a situation nearly a decade ago. Without going into detail, Kevin explained, through teary eyes, that he had betrayed a best friend of his. He said he had done evil to this person. And the guilt was eating away at him. The guilt got so strong that he had to confess. He called his friend and told him what he had done. Kevin asked one simple question, “Can you forgive me?” and his friend respond, “You know I will. I love you, man.” He likened it to how God forgives all of us because in the end, He loves us. Disciple played a variety of songs including “Remedy,” “Invisible,” and “Dear X, You Don’t Own Me.” Guitarist Micah Sannan impressed the crowd with a back flip off the drum riser! Disciple is an excellent rock band, but more importantly, they are a group of strong Christians guiding a generation to Christ through music.


Chants of “Skillet, Skillet, Skillet,” erupted from the anticipating crowd sporadically as the tour crew set the stage for the headliner. A big, black curtain, with Skillet’s logo on it, blocked the audiences’ view of the set up.


The lights went out. An ethereal track blared over the screaming fans. Touring members Jonathan Chu, violin, and Tate Olsen, Cello, walked on the stage, in front of the Skillet curtain. They wore white tuxes and elaborate masks as they proved classical stringed instruments belong in rock music. The drums kicked in, then guitars. Lights erupted and the curtain fell!


Skillet started off with “Whispers in the Dark” from Comatose. Practically every voice in the crowd sang along with front-man, and bassist, John Cooper (the only remaining founding member). Cell phones and cameras shot into the air, trying to capture the epicness that is a Skillet concert!


With every song, the crowd seemed to know all lyrics, including the song “Savior” from their album Collide. Aside from this song, Skillet only played songs from their previous two albums Awake and Comatose.


Those of us in the pit danced, jumped, and moshed to “Awake and Alive,” “Hero,” “Yours to Hold,” and “It’s Not Me, It’s You,” among others. Well over half the audience raised their hand when John asked who had never seen Skillet live before it. But there were plenty of “repeat offenders” (like myself) there also!


Their stage set up included moving platforms that elevated Korey Cooper (guitars, keys, and wife of John) and Skillet’s newest member, Seth Morrison (guitars) high into the air. Jen Ledger’s drum riser also rose into the air, and it spun around during her awesome drum solo!


John gave to an intro to the song “The Last Night,” where he explained what the song meant. He said it was about a girl and “She comes to me in this song and says, ‘Look, I just want to say goodbye.’ And that moment, and in this song, I have a chance to tell my friend how special she really is. And I get a chance to tell her that her life is not a mistake.


“Im talking about this story not just so you know what this song is about, but also, because I meet people like her at every concert that we play. And I now there are people out there, standing in this arena right now. Some of guys have thought about suicide. Some of you people have tried to commit suicide. Some of you guys are cutters. Some of you just say, ‘My life at home is so bad, I don’t know how I’m going to make it.’ And if that’s you, I want to tell you something that got me through my hardest nights that just might help a little bit. This is a quote from my number one hero—His name is Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus said: ‘Anyone who is weary, anyone who is heavy-burdened, come to me and I will give you rest.’


“If you need rest tonight, if you need peace tonight, if you just need a reason to wake up in the morning, then from the bottom of my heart, I want to tell you that we are here to tell there is a God. He loves you. If you give Him a chance, it will be the very last night that you will spend alone.”


This is what I love about Skillet—it’s not just about making good music; it’s about making a difference in someone’s life. I am proof of that.


During the song “Lucy” I ran out to use the restroom. When I came back in, a giant monster head with glowing eyes stood in the middle of stage. John stood on top of it singing the fast-paced, explosive song “Monster.” At the end of this song, they walked off stage.


The crowd demanded an encore, which Skillet delivered. The night ended with the song “Rebirthing.”


After the show I had a chance to meet Seth Morrison. He repeatedly used the phrase “It’s been such a blessing” when referring to the past few months that he has been a part of Skillet. Though no official announcement has been made, this veteran fan approves. Seth will be a part of Skillet for years to come.  


I guess it’s time to find tickets for my next Skillet show!
Words by: Sarah Brehm
Photos and video by: Sarah Brehm
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Skillet "Whispers in the Dark" live at The Forum

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