A Night With Skillet, Disciple and Manafest NRT Contributor Mary Burklin share her thoughts and photos from the November 4th stop of the Awake and Alive tour in Stevens Point, Wisconsin featuring headliners Skillet and guests Disciple, Manafest and We As Human.
Mary Burklin: "The artists took the stage not only to sing songs and get a crowd moving, but to proclaim and affirm the raw truths that so many audiences desperately need to hear."
Every few years a tour comes along with such perfect musical chemistry that it would be worth any effort to catch just one show. As a longtime dedicated fan of both Skillet and Disciple, the Fall 2011 branch of the Awake and Alive Tour was that way for me. Because the short and fast-paced run of shows was mostly confined to the northeast, I had an excuse to leave my native Texas for a weekend in Wisconsin to catch some of the final evenings of the tour.
On November 4 the Awake and Alive Tour drew a sold out crowd to the University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point. We As Human, recently signed to Atlantic Records, opened up the night. They used their short set time to pour out hard-hitting tracks from their still somewhat limited discography, offering tracks such as “Sever,” “Double Life,” and “Dead Man” from their recent EP. Their incredibly solid and well-crafted performance promises great things to come from their upcoming debut album and their run opening on WinterJam next year. They left a crowd warmed up and ready for Manafest.
The hip-hop artist was a bit of a deviation from the overall musical mood of the evening, but Manafest’s infectious and shamelessly energetic stage presence has an ability to break down barriers. Manafest drew heavily from his fast-paced 2010 release The Chase, but he broke it up with the raw “Impossible” and the rapcore-influenced “Bounce” (both from 2006’s Glory). Manafest took time before the poignant “Every Time You Run” to give a piece of his testimony and encourage the audience not to give in to fear. Disciple came on stage carried by the blistering riffs of “The Wait is Over” from their 2005 self-titled release. The packed room was slow to respond at first, but as guitarists Micah Sannan and Andrew Welch carried the set into the heavy, chugging “Watch it Burn” the crowd started to engage.
Exclusive Skillet/Disciple/Manafest Live Photo Gallery (58)
They followed up with “Invisible,” an urgent song of hope that became the framework for a moment of worship. That led into “Remedy,” one of the softer songs from last year’s release Horseshoes and Handgrenades.
Few bands manage to throw themselves so completely into their songs regardless of the punishment that might come as a consequence. Throughout the brutal anthem “Shot Heard Round the World” and the confident proclamation of “Battle Lines,” the band approached their set with their signature no holds barred attitude. Before playing their recent successful track “Dear X,” lead singer Kevin Young took some time out to discuss the meaning of the song and what it looks like once we no longer have to serve sin as our master but can choose freedom through Christ. Disciple finished strong with “Rise Up” (complete with Micah Sannan’s onstage backflip) and “Scars Remain,” throwing in an extra surprise by adding the 12-year-old Disciple song “Big Bad Wolf” into the mix.
Christian rock heavyweights Skillet took the stage next, exercising their taste for the dramatic with a violin and cello intro courtesy of Jonathan Chu and Tate Olsen. They opened with their bold and gritty track “Whispers in the Dark” from 2006’s Comatose. Throughout the evening the band touched back on a lot of material from the now gold certified album, mixing it with the most successful cuts from 2009’s career-defining record Awake.
After the unconventional worship song “Better Than Drugs” Skillet launched into the electric “Comatose” which blended appropriately into “Awake and Alive,” both tracks infused with the clean signature strings that have made the tracks stand out for audiences in both Christian and mainstream markets. A semi-acoustic rendition of “Yours to Hold” slowed the night down, followed by an acoustic introduction to “Those Nights” before the full band picked it up again. The anthemic, tongue-in-cheek “It’s Not Me It’s You” lifted the paced even more before introducing “The Last Night,” a haunting, heartfelt duet between husband and wife team John and Korey Cooper. “This is a quote from my number one hero. His name is Jesus Christ,” John said as he prefaced the track to a quiet crowd. “Anyone who is weary, anyone who is heavy burdened, come to me, and I will give you rest.”
Exclusive Skillet/Disciple/Manafest Live Photo Gallery (58)
A very solid solo first from recent guitarist addition Seth Morrison and then drummer Jen Ledger served as the transition into the oldest track Skillet played that evening, the raw, powerful track “Savior.” They finished off the evening with the poignant ballad “Lucy” followed by their hit song “Monster” (complete with a monster rig for John Cooper to stand on as he belted out the lyrics). A final 2006 track, “Rebirthing,” finished off the evening on a note of recharging as the audience left the venue and started their long drive home.
The evening was a steady flood of passion as the artists took the stage not only to sing songs and get a crowd moving with the throb of the kick drum, but to proclaim and affirm the raw truths that so many audiences desperately need to hear. Whether they’ve had a few years or a few decades on stage, all the bands that evening gave the performance their all. The songs were sung as kickstarts for our heartbeats, reminders of what it is to come alive.
Posted November 15, 2011 | Mary Burklin is a college student who loves Jesus and seeks to echo His love in everything she does. She loves art in just about all forms, but music is her passion and where she feels most at home.