Theory of a Deadman and Skillet at the Fillmore in Detroit, MI

Theory of a Deadman and Skillet bring their co-headlining Rock Resurrection Tour to the music lovers of the mighty Motor City.

Sure the big mitten might be a bit frigid and crispy amidst an unrelenting February ice storm, but nothing can defrost those Detroit doodle-berries like a smokin’ hot and fiery rock concert from your favorite band… or even better yet, your two favorite bands! BOOOOOM!!!!! Skillet and Theory of a Deadman have arrived, and they are here to serve out a heapin’ hunk of hard rockin’, molten metal music to the shivering souls of Mid-Michigan’s Motown. These frosty fans have traveled across the state, enduring sub-freezing temperatures, rain… sleet… snow, and a massive, MASSIVE, down-the-street line to gain access to this heated musical oasis, also known as the iconic Fillmore of Detroit. Rows and rows of ticket holders eagerly pile into this historic venue to claim their space for tonight’s duel headliner/sold-out gala. Fast forward to game time…

Round One:

The Memphis-born, Christian rock band Skillet is first to take the Fillmore stage this evening. They fire up the troops right out of the gate, as they open the night with the driving, crowd-pleasing anthem “Feel Invincible.” Energies are nearly combustible as they pour into the slammer “Rise,” and frontman John Cooper has stage techs help him strap on a jet pack with double-barreled hand cannons. Cooper proceeds to open fire with the apparatus, blasting the crowd with a steamy dose of  rock and roll fog that gets those in close proximity giddy with goo (including the photographers!). “Rise” is followed by the newer track “Surviving the Game” which makes it quite clear what a HUUUUGE auditory footprint Skillet has (and buddy, they can grind out the crunchy with a capital K!). The husband/wife Cooper combo (guitarist Korey Cooper and bassist John Cooper) show they still have mad hops and get some air time while gettin’ jiggy with the jumpin’ jam.

“Legendary,” the soulful track “Awake and Alive,” and then the multi-platinum hit “Hero” come next. Stage risers come to life and begin to elevate team Skillet up into the air like levitating rock gods and our crowd joins in to sing along with their chart-topping hit. “Not Gonna Die,” “Whispers in the Dark” and the banger “Psycho in My Head” roll out next. Guitarists Seth Morrison and Korey Cooper have an incredibly thick tone that’s the grit and the goodies at the core of the Skillet sound. Drummer “Smilin'” Jen Ledger and vocalist/bassist John Cooper work that rhythm section with great and surgical synergy, rocking the night’s groove deep into the pockets of soul. Skillet pulls out “Comatose” and a new version of the tune “Finish Line,” featuring Adam Gontier of Saint Asonia. Skillet then performs their three-times platinum, (and 3,000,000,000 streaming,) mega-hit “Monster” and the crowd goes ballistic, singing along with the tune word-for-word. Skillet brings their powerful set to an end with “Rebirthing” and closes the night with an XXL version of the thought-provoking tune “The Resistance.” Well played team Skillet!!!

Round Two:

The Canadian rockers from the North Delta, Theory of a Deadman (TOAD) take to the Fillmore stage next. At 9:35 PM sharp, TOAD sets the house speaker system ablaze with their bold new face smasher, “Dinosaur.” The fans love the thunderous backbeat and fist pump to this infectious groove. The lyrics are the type that get stuck in your head … “Tonight we’re going out, going out like the dinosaur!“ Frontman Tyler Connolly greets the Detroiters and says how nice it is to be back. He then explains the first time Theory of a Deadman played in Detroit, it was at that “other” famous club called Harpo’s (and the crowd cheered in acknowledgment). They segue into “Bitch Came Back,” and our frenzied fans frolic to the famed fable as Conolly shoots that Elvis Presley-style smile as he delivers that oh-so-famous chorus line.  “Not Meant to Be” and “Blow” roll out next in the set.

Bassist Dean Back and drummer Joey Dadeneau keep this rhythm section tight and on point, with guitarist Dave Brenner’s tone icing the cake of this powerful quad. TOAD plays the deeply relevant and a sign of the times tune, “History of Violence.” This track takes us on a cerebral journey through the problems of domestic violence, politics, and societal angst (which pretty much sums up today’s goings-on). The night presses forward with the new track “Ambulance,” and it is received well by this hungry crowd. 

A mid-set treat is afoot and the stage lights dim as Theory performs an instrumental and spot-on version of Alice In Chains’ “Nutshell.” Connolly begins to speak during the soul-stirring jam… “We’ve been doing this now for quite a while, since 2002… 21 years, it’s crazy. 21 years, and we still look good doing it (laughs at his own joke while throwing guitar picks into the audience). We’re gonna go waaay back to 2005. We had a song about being in a better place, a warmer place with palm trees and beaches. Sometimes you wanna get the heck out of here… Well, we’re gonna take you there right now! This one’s called ‘Santa Monica’ and it goes like this…” Connolly leads the squad into the crowd favorite, and it’s quite clear that everyone in attendance knows every word, as they follow TC‘s lead. The last notes of “Santa Monica” ring out as the venue lights grow dim.

Tyler emerges from the shadows and slides into the seat behind the keyboard that is on a center stage riser as the stage lights begin to glow a cool blue. TC launches into a piano-only version of the Chris Isaak classic “Wicked Game.” Michiganders immediately pick up on the ultra-famous crooner and begin to pipe along with Tyler‘s tasteful rendition. TOAD follows this up with “Lowlife” and another good time classic, the Duane Blackwell cover made famous by Garth Brooks, “Friends In Low Places.” The crowd joins in, kinda giving the complete drunk and sing-along vibe, along with arms around each other swaying back and forth while chanting the lyrics back to Connolly.

The band changes up the ambiance by launching into the tune “Angel,” followed by “Hate My Life,” and the deeply lyrical “RX/Medicate” (a song referring to our societal epidemic of prescription drug use). Theory of a Deadman brings this epic night to a stellar close with an extended play version of their mega-hit “Bad Girlfriend.”

The Rock Resurrection Tour, featuring co-headliners Skillet and Theory of a Deadman is underway now… AND is a Loud Hailer recommended concert-going experience. Be sure to check both bands’ official websites for upcoming dates, details, and touring news. Also get on over to Skillet’s official and grab the newly released Dominion: Day of Destiny and then finish that digital shopping trip off with a stop at Theory’s official to pre-order their newest studio offering Dinosaur, due out March 17. 

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About Jay Dunbar 54 Articles
Jay Dunbar is a professional photographer that enjoys wearing a multitude of hats. He is active in the commercial and stock photography arenas and currently owns and operates a Detroit based investigations firm and photography agency. Despite his many endeavors, Jay can frequently be found in attendance at your favorite concert venues, capturing breathtaking images of live performances of many genres of music. A skilled author and photographer, he could be described as a " Serial Music Journalist." Carrying the photo bug for nearly thirty years, Jay enjoys all styles of photography, testing new gear, and helping aspiring photographers, artists and models to develop their skills and learn their craft.