Skillet Brings the House Down at Elitch Gardens Show in Denver (review/re-cap)

Christian rock group Skillet put on a near perfect performance during their set at a recent concert at Elitch Garden’s amusement park in Denver CO. My thoughts on Skillet’s set are going to be quick, pretty much because I have racked my brain over and over trying to find at least one thing with their act that I could gripe about, and I simply can’t, even with reaching.

I have seen over a hundred notable bands live, though this was my first time seeing them, and I don’t think I have ever walked away from a show with literally not even the tiniest complaint. One thing that I thought was strange however, was that they did not save a big ‘hit’ for their encore. I’ve always dug Skillet, but was never a huge fan (am now!) so the only songs of theirs that I knew were the ‘hits’. The ones with regular radio play, which they have plenty of, so the fact that they did not end on one of those, I found a bit weird, but I can’t even really classify that as a complaint.

The show was great, from start to finish. I don’t think there was a single moment where they lost the crowd, and their interaction with us was perfect. The onstage chemistry added to their incredible stage set that included risers, foggers, lights and a giant screen, and the bands core values (being a Christian rock group) never seemed to over shadow or take away from the experience. Their views and beliefs were expressed, but very delicately. Most importantly to me, I could tell they were having just as much fun as all of us were, and that always adds to the enjoyment.

If only the rest of the entire experience of this concert was as incredible. To start, the event was free with park admittance that day, but for an extra 20 dollars, you could be a VIP. Meaning early access and the option to get right up to the stage. I went ahead and upgraded to VIP, but online there was no instructions on how to receive your wristbands, or where to go or even to show up. I reached out to the venue on Facebook to no response, and asked several employees around the park about the details I was missing and they all gave me different (and incorrect) answers. Luckily however, right before the show, there was one gal who was of a lot of help and told us where to go and yada yada but it was still very frustrating running around the park for 30 minutes trying to figure things out.

Aside from that, the venue was pretty cool. I’d never been before so wasn’t sure what to expect. Elitch’s amphitheater is very decent sized with both bleachers for sitting and a large standing room with the VIP section right in front of the stage fenced off. The amphitheater also had several different food truck vendors located inside which made getting refreshments or snacks a lot easier, as opposed to venues that require exiting for that kind of thing.

The last thing I’ll touch on here is the opening act. Opening for Skillet was Colorado’s own Christian rock band Random Hero. I’d never heard their stuff before, but wound up really enjoying it. Their sound is very similar to Skillet, which made this a perfect fit. Their performance however, let’s just say that it was obvious they are relatively new to playing to crowds this big. Though I found their music great, there message was way to over the top and not subtle in the least. Along with an overwhelming message of Christianity, something Skillet didn’t do, instead praising all religions and beliefs, Random Hero had a hard time keeping the crowd. So much so, that at least twice a song, the lead singer would say something like “I wanna see everyone movin” or “Let’s see those hands up”, something that can really add to a performance, or take away if used poorly or too often, like in this case. They weren’t relying on their music to keep us going. Instead, we were constantly being prompted to do so, which was notonly annoying to the show, as it took away from the music, but also ineffective. The crowds energy would only last about 30 seconds, and then we were once again prompted to “Get up and move”.

Random Hero is a very talented group who’s on stage chemistry and skillset almost made up for an annoying performance, but I have no doubt that they will improve their live show as they learn to better gauge audiences. The wear and tear and there stage set, which included raised platforms, really showed their dedication to performing and one day, I believe they will rise up to be a very notable act.

All that griping aside, I still had a blast at this show and can’t wait to both see Skillet again, and return to Elitchs for future shows. Walked a way with one of the best performances I have ever seen in my memory and am an even bigger fan of Skillet than I was before. If you have the chance to catch a Skillet show, I highly recommend to. Don’t be turned off by their label as a Christian band, this show will be enjoyable by everyone, no matter beliefs.-JohnnyK

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