Sound: This Live CD/DVD records Skillet in Chattanooga, TN during their headling 2008 Comatose Tour with openers Thousand Foot Krutch and Decyfer Down. The audio CD alone is a must have for any Panhead, as there are several nuggets of old material improved by live strings (a tour violinist and celloist) that gives the Skillet experience a rawer sound. But the live DVD is the real attention grabber. Pyrotechnics and stage antics abound, John Cooper and company astound the sold-out crowd with their ability to bring their A-game even with one significant line-up change (18 year-old Jen Ledger taking over on drums) and the rest of the crew seasoning the sizzling stage chemistry after 8 years together. Considering the band itself is 12 years old (their 1996 self-titled debut was a Christian grunge effort), this band had a long climb to the top, but now that they're brining their unique sound to the mainstream to garner fans and change lives for Christ, the quality of their music has improved dramatically, and this DVD captures the Skillet live show experience.
The sound quality is heavier than the recording, which is a welcome change for most Skillet fans. The concert innovates using live strings (violinist and celloist) to enhance previously lacking keyboard strings on songs like Forsaken and Collide. // 10
Content: This CD features 8 songs from their soon-to-be platinum certified CD Comatose, 4 from their 2004 breakthrough CD Collide, and 2 songs that are 8-year old material from Invincible. The imbalance of new versus old material, with 3 of their old CDs not included on this tour's setlist, is bound to twerk many fans but the songs chosen arguably make the best concert experience, so it is understandable. All the songs are easy-to-grasp anthems that get the crowd involved (except for the contemplative worship of Angels Fall Down) and demand serious headbanging, or air guitar during Kasica's sultry guitar solos (the addition of a solo on My Obsession being the best display of technical ability Ben Kasica's made to date). Their vast improvements on non-Comatose material are worth the price alone, but seeing classic rock anthems from Comaotse being illustrated live by front-man John Cooper is the real reason to run out and get this DVD.
In addition to the concert, they included 4 of their music videos and their is a photo gallery of the show. I was disappointed the 'Looking For Angels" music video wasn't included, but most fans could live without and those who can't can buy the Comatose: Deluxe Edition. // 9
Production Quality: The camera tricks used on the DVD help enhance the experience, especially on the live intro. The camera also really gets the feel on "Forsaken", "Collide", and the breakdown on "My Obsession". The image quality is professionaly flawless and the camera man knows when to back off and let the show focus on John. While the CD has better audio quality, nothing's missing from the DVD's either. // 9
Overall Impression: This effort is long overdue, and fans have wanted a home experience of Skillet's excellent live show for years. Now that it's finally happened, fans should be happy with the product. It's flawlessly executing, and no efforts were spared throughout the Comatose tour. Some old fan-favorites were regretably omitted from the setlist (A Little More, You Are My Hope, Energy, etc.) but the absolute greats all appear here, and the DVD is perfect for popping in to anticipate your next Skillet show. Personally, I'd like to see a Fan Favorites DVD sometime in the future, but with a new record coming out this Spring by the hardest working band in Christian rock, Skillet is bound to satiate your palate for in-your-face rock & roll for years to come. // 9