Creed/Skillet Concert Review

Posted: September 4, 2010 in MUSIC/CONCERT REVIEWS

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by Sarah St. John

After nearly a decade hiatus, Creed is back, and they have come “Full Circle” as their newest album title suggests, coming back to their harder rock roots reminiscent of their 1997 debut release “My Own Prison” rather than their mellower follow up records: 1999’s “Human Clay” and 2001’s “Weathered.”

Creed headlined for a packed, but not quite sold-out, show on Friday night at Superpages.com Center.  Even after all these years, Creed still garners attention from its dedicated fans,  but is it because their fans still adore them or because, as was in my case, it is hard to pass up such cheap tickets to a band you once loved and wanted a stroll down memory lane with? Tickets were $20 or $10 hence the double entendre of their “20-10 Tour.”

Openers included Theft and Skillet. Theft had a surprisingly short set, but that makes sense given the band only has a three-song EP currently available.  Their performance might have been more enjoyable if Superpages.com Center had a better sound system, and one could actually understand the band’s lyrics. Also, their stage performance was lacking in entertainment and creativity. But, they are a new band, probably with a low budget, so we’ll let that slide. However, I have to admit that the second opener, Skillet, put on a show so entertaining that Creed had a lot to live up to in order to top it. I have seen Skillet in concert before, but they have most definitely kicked it up a few notches since then. They have added a violinist and cellist to their live performance versus using a laptop or synthesizer to make the sounds come alive as in the past. Besides the fact that they have a chick drummer such as myself, the band is stunning live: flashing LED lights and a stage that rises and lowers are just the beginning.  All in all, Skillet gave everyone a run for their money and was arguably the highlight of the night, but only by a smidgen.

Creed caught the audience’s attention from the moment they hit the stage. They opened with heart-thumping, foot-stomping and chair-banging “Bullets” set to pyrotechnics. Very quickly into their set, they played the title track to their debut album, “My Own Prison” which got the audience pumped, as if they weren’t already. Throughout the evening, Creed enchanted the audience by getting the crowd to mimic the band by putting their index finger in the air during “One” and waving their lighters (or cell phone for the non-smokers) during fan-favorite “With Arms Wide Open.” Creed closed the night with a two-song encore including “One Last Breath” and their most colossal hit of all time, “Higher.”

Lead singer, Scott Stapp, hasn’t changed much in the past few years, other than sporting a shorter haircut.  S.S. (as one audience member shouted out during the concert) is still his energetic-fist-pumping-throwing-his-head-back-and-spreading-his-arms-out self.

But, what stood out the most wasn’t so much the songs Creed sang or how much they were able to engage the crowd. Heck, it wasn’t even the flashy LED lights, video screens and pyrotechnics. It was their message. As most Creed fans know, the band believes in God and isn’t afraid to express it through their music or their words. There were several occasions where this was apparent, but one that stands out is when Scott Stapp explained that they were offered a lot of money to have their hit-song “Higher” be the theme song in Miller High Life commercials, but they turned it down because they didn’t want to degrade a song that is about Heaven. Also worth noting is the band’s recognition to our servicemen and women as they dedicated “My Sacrifice” to all the military heroes fighting for our country and our freedom.

The band played a mix of songs from all four albums, but fans were more enthralled with the older songs than the newer ones which makes one question the success and likeability of the new album. After all, last year’s “Full Circle” has not even hit the half million mark on copies sold to date.

Clearly, Creed’s fan base has dwindled from their late 90’s mega-fame, but that is to be expected after such a long sabbatical. One thing is clear: the fans that Creed has still managed to captivate after all these years are in it for the long haul.

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