Thursday, January 27, 2011

Concert Review: "Winter Wonderslam 2010 Tour/Awake Tonight Tour"

Here is my famous concert review written back in December which was first shown on two blogs-our brother site God Tunes Reviews and Jay's Music Blog.

On December 10, 2010, I attended the TobyMac/Skillet concert during the Awake Tonight Tour presented by Winter Wonder Slam at the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. I went along with my church’s youth group, so I got to go with all my friends.
The concert opened with special guest Shonlock’s performance. Then, after waiting some time, Skillet came on. Their concert started with a large curtain hung up in front of the stage and the entire room grew dark. Out of the loud speakers came a low, growling voice that marked Skillet’s regular intro. The voice finally said, “The countdown begins. 10, 9, 8, 7,…” When it finally reached “1″, the guitar solo for Hero began and John Cooper shouted out to the crowd. Then the curtain fell to the ground and was pulled away and Skillet could be seen and lights flashed! After “Hero”, an eerie music was heard which marked the beginning of “Whispers in the Dark” which was then followed by “Better Than Drugs”. After those first three songs, the violinist and celloist, Jonathan Chu and Tate Olsen respectively, appeared on stage on raised platforms playing a solo together. After this solo, Skillet went into the song “Comatose”, a fan favorite, of course. I really like this song because it has a lot of the strings section in it.

John Cooper spoke to the crowd afterwards, saying, “There is a war going on for our souls.” He explained how the world tries to influence us and say false things about God. “But the Bible says ‘or I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.’” Quoting Romans 1:16, of course. This is the theme of the next song they sang, “Awake and Alive”! This is a newer single but a favorite of mine as it is one of the fewer hits off the Awake cd that has a lot of symphonic rock in it.
After “Awake and Alive”, Skillet moved into a softer tone for the night as they sang “Those Nights,” having the crowd sing the “Waoh! Waoh! Woah! Woah!”s. Then, John Cooper went solo, singing his own version of “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”. He then said he wanted to get a little more serious for a minute. He explained the story behind the next song: A girl John knew had had enough with life. She didn’t think her life was worth anything and had already tried to commit suicide. Her wrists were scarred by cutting herself, and she was just coming back to John to tell him goodbye before she completely kills herself. John’s answer to her is that there is a God who loves her and cares about her and that there will not be another night were she will be alone. All Panheads know what the next song was, and everyone in the arena cheered as “The Last Night” began! I really like the mix of piano and electric guitar in this song, and there is no wonder that it was a fan favorite. Afterwards, Jen Ledger had a drum solo and Ben Kasica had his signature guitar solo in which he played his electric guitar behind his head for part of it!
John told another story after “The Last Night”. This one was about a boy and girl who really liked each other, maybe too much. One day, they found out that she was pregnant. They had to make a decision on what they should do now. First, they chose to buy a gravestone for the unborn baby girl. Second, they paid for a funeral. And third, they needed to name it. And they named it…Lucy. If you were paying attention, this story is, of course, about the song Lucy which the band then sung. Moving from a soft note to a strong note, Skillet went old school, singing “Savior”.
Suddenly, the entire arena went dark. Then, a growling voice could be heard, a growling voice that sounded very familiar to…Sirens went off and a large skull platform could be seen on the stage as its eyes and mouth lit up! John Cooper was standing on it and shouted, “Pittsburgh! Do you feel like a monster???” Everyone screamed as one of Skillet’s biggest hits began, “Monster”! The loud electric guitar could be heard as John sang the lyrics while standing on the skull! I was surprised at just how great of a job Skillet did with this song! It was followed by two solos, one from celloist Tate Olsen and violinist Jonathan Chu.

Finally, my favorite song was next! The cello and violin began and as the audience cheered and screamed, Skillet began the finale and final song, “Rebirthing”!!! Fire was shot out on stage and at the beginning of the last chorus, fireworks were even sent off! Skillet proved that they know how to put on a great show! And I was disappointed to see it end. As the members of Skillet-John, Korey, Ben, and Jen-walked off the stage, Jen threw her drumsticks into the Mosh Pit. How I wish I could have gotten one of those sticks!
A thirty minute intermission was taken place between Skillet and the next concert. When it was finally over, a countdown began on the large screen behind the stage. Then, the music began and Toby appeared on stage with the spotlight around him singing “Tonight, tonight.” Then, with a “Let’s go!” from Toby, all the lights turned on and the entire Diverse City Band could be seen! As Toby was finishing the first verse of “Tonight”, John Cooper ran on to the stage and began singing with Toby! This was the moment I had been waiting for! John stayed for the rest of the song and then left as Toby went into “I’m For You” and “Showstopper”, two head-bobbing songs.
TobyMac kept the excitement going with the songs “Catchafire (Whoopsi-Daisy)” and “Diverse City”! Toby went into a softer tone for a while too, singing slower songs like “Lose My Soul”, “Hold On”, and “Gone”. He also sang the bridge of “O Come, All Ye Faithful”.
What I really liked about TobyMac was that he spent time talking about God to everyone and even prayed while on stage. He also surprised everybody by pulling out a Terrible Towel, the towel of the Pittsburgh Steelers, saying that he was cheering for Pittsburgh in the Playoffs this year since his own team, the Titans, were not in it anymore!!! This made everyone like him ten times more, of course.

With “Get Back Up” and “Made to Love”, Toby brought the speed back up! He also sang “Boomin’” which was awesome because, if you have seen the music video, a rap solo by Shonlock replaces the Mandisa ending. They did the same thing in the concert. With a few backflips and some other cool moves, Shonlock went into his solo and gave people near the stage high-fives.
Then Toby shouted to the crowd, “Are you ready for some Funky Jesus Music?” A funny video was played on the big screen during this song. The video featured many different people singing the song including Michael W. Smith, Mac Powell, and Bart Millard. It was really hilarious as some of them were acting goofy in the video!
Then, the room grew dark, and on the screen was the Charlie Brown Christmas scene where Linus tells Charlie Brown the true meaning of the Christmas. Afterwards, Toby sang “City On Our Knees”, and it seemed as if the concert was finally over. I was disappointed as I expected Toby to end on a high note, but as it turns out, I was wrong about it being over! tobyMac sang Jesus Freak, and it was cool seeing him sing the rap parts! Then he said, “We’re not done yet! Merry Christmas, Pittburgh!” With that, white confetti that looked like snow was sprayed over the crowd as tobyMac and the Diverse City Band sang Toby’s own version of “Winter Wonder Land”-”Winter Wonder SLAM”!!! John Cooper came back on stage to sing one of the verses and Toby made a great ending of the concert!
I really enjoyed this concert! Though there were a couple things I missed from it.
1. TobyMac’s concert started to lose its excitement eventually and I began to get tired. This may be due to the fact that Skillet was just before it and I was jumping and yelling the entire time and it was now getting late. It may also be because Toby’s soft tone of the concert dragged on for too long, in my opinion. However, once he got back to the upbeat songs, I was wide awake again!

2
. I kept waiting for TobyMac to sing “The Slam” and/or “Christmas This Year” but he never did! Even the radio commercial advertising the concert played the song “The Slam” during it! It is one of my favorite songs, and I am really dissapointed that he didn’t sing.

3
. Skillet was good over all, though I wish they sang “Forgiven” and more songs off the Collide record, but I understand that they didn’t have as much time as they would like since they were sharing the concert time with TobyMac, so they get off the hook.

Overall, this was an awesome concert! The downsides can be overlooked and if concerts had ratings, I would definitely give this one a 5 star rating! It was the best concert anyone could go to!

Concert photos courtesy of David Holzemer of Newreleasetuesday.org.

2 comments:

Josh said...

Awesome review I read it before and it was real good :)

Justin Morden said...

Thanks a lot, Josh!