Skillet and Company Emerge Victorious At the Grove of Anaheim

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

The last time I was at the Grove of Anaheim, it was a month before the pandemic began. It was on February 23rd, and I went with Rabit to cover Skillet who were promoting their Victorious album. A month later, the world shut down and I did not feel invincible or victorious after that, I felt defeated. If there is one thing Skillet is good at, it is lifting rock ‘n’ rollers spirits up with an impactful performance. With tours starting up again and fans heading to venues, Skillet took the opportunity to dust off their instruments and hit the road once again. Dubbed the Aftermath Tour (appropriate title), they stopped by at the Grove once again, this time with Adelitas Way and Eva Under Fire coming along for the journey. It is funny because Skillet was the last group I saw there before Covid hit, and I return to the venue seeing them first. Awake and alive, let us get this show under way.

First up was the Detroit hard rock sensations Eva Under Fire. They have been a driving force in Detroit’s underground rock scene since forming in 2015, and this was their shot to show Anaheim how rockers of the Motor City get down. Frontwoman Amanda Lyberg provides a stellar mixture of metal and pop harmonies into her vocals. She was very powerful on the mic and had a commanding presence on stage. While Chris Slapnix dazzled the fans with his electrified riffs and comedic humor, lead player Rob Lyberg sizzled with his arena style solos. Eva Under Fire wowed the crowd with their combination of alternative rock, pop, and heavy metal. From “Comatose” to “Blow,” “Heroin(e),” “The Strong,” “Coming for Blood,” and “Until Forever,” they were a fun opener to watch. For me, they blew the roof off with their version of the Journey classic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).” Eva Under Fire brought Detroit Rock City to Anaheim, and they did not disappoint.

Fill Eva Under Fire gallery below:

It has been a couple of years since I saw the Las Vegas bad boys of rock in Adelitas Way. Kicking their set off with “What It Takes,” Adelitas Way really blew me away way more than the time I saw them at the Roxy back in 2019. Frontman Rick DeJesus was thunderous on the microphone, putting on a supercharged performance for the rock faithful. Guitarist Tavis Stanley was solid and captivating with the melodies and solos, blazing through each string with such ease. Drummer Trevor ‘Tre’ Stafford wailed and banged on the kit with excitement. The real star of the group that night for me was bassist Andrew Cushing. He is up there throwing out jazz, funk, and metal beats that went hand-in-hand. This man is pure talent on the bass, bringing a lively beat to the mood. For nearly an hour, Adelitas Way conquered the stage with hit songs like “Sick,” “Ready for War (Pray for Peace),” “Still Hungry,” “Last Stand,” “Notorious,” and “Invincible.” I like how their songs try to help inspire people, especially with “Good vs. Evil” as it deals with mental health issues and seeking help. Las Vegas can bring the hard rock to its feet, thanks in part to Adelitas Way.

Full Adelitas Way gallery below:

At 9:00, the stage goes dark, the monitors in the back light up, and Skillet takes to the stage. Beginning with “Feel Invincible,” the crowd is pumped up and are ready to headbang. Frontman/bassist John Cooper has this special connection with crowd as he wows them with not only his passionate voice, but also his monstrous and sick skills on the bass. Devout to his Christian faith, he says just enough to get his message across to everyone while he rocks out. Drummer Jen Ledger keeps getting better on the drums every time she heads to the kit, and she is still sounds angelic when she lends her voice to the mic. John’s wife, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Korey, is a ball of energy as she screeches on the guitar while spinning and jumping with enjoyment. Lead guitarist Seth Morrison really astonishes the crowd with heavy metal licks and bombastic solos. He has established himself as a top-notch player that could rival other guitar greats like Mark Tremonti, Jerry Cantrell, or even Slash. For over 90 minutes, Skillet was on top of their game with a laundry list of songs everyone loves to hear. From “Not Gonna Die,” to “Sick of It,” “Legendary,” “Lions,” “Awake and Alive,” “Back From the Dead,” “Hero,” an acoustic version of “Stars,” “Comatose,” and “Monster,” the group spread their heavy rock faith to the masses. They even played the first single off their upcoming Dominion album (out next January), “Surviving the Game.” After “Rebirthing,” they went backstage, where the crowd plead for one more song. Of course, they obliged with “The Resistance.”

Full Skillet gallery below:

No matter how many times I have seen them, I never get sick of Skillet. They are the kind of group that can wake up the Holy Spirit in you, even if you are not a Christian. They are for everyone, and they will continue their mission to bring heavenly rock ‘n’ roll to the fans. Eva Under Fire and Adelitas Way rocked the stage with their heavy rock fun, and look forward to seeing them again soon enough. Raise your hands, and praise these groups for bringing the Grove back to life. To Skillet, Adelitas Way, and Eva Under Fire, I salute you. Horns up!!!

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