The Rock Resurrection Tour Shakes Up Pikeville, Kentucky Review+Photos: Theory of a Deadman, Skillet and Saint Asonia at the Appalachian Wireless Arena 3/8/23
PIKEVILLE, KY- Two times this past week did I witness the Rock Resurrection Tour, featuring Skillet, Theory of a Deadman and Saint Asonia. I took my eldest granddaughter to the Cincinnati, OH show at the Andrew J. Brady Music Center for her birthday on Sunday and on Wednesday at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville, KY. Both shows were just incredible spectacles of hard rock excellence. This co-headlining tour has been selling out during its 25 date run.
The reason I mention the Cincinnati show is simply because of a navigational error on my part, I missed Saint Adonis’s set in Pikeville. So my review will be based on what I witnessed in Ohio.
If you’re not familiar with the band Saint Asonia, you’re at least familiar with their members. Frontman Adam Gontier was the original frontman of Three Days Grace from their inception in 1997, until his departure in 2013. Also in the band, on guitar, is Staind guitarist Mike Mushok. Unfortunately, it was announced that Mike wasn’t going to be able to perform this tour. Filling in for him is their friend Tavis Stanley, from Art of Dying and Adelitas Way. Rounding out the band is Adam’s cousin Cale Gontier on bass, and Cody Watkins on drums.
Saint Asonia stormed the stage with high energy performing the song, “Better Place.” Gontier was phenomenal while performing many standout tracks like “The Hunted,” “Above It All,” and “Let Me Live My Life”. Their 8-song set featured a little piece of all aspects of Adam’s career. The show started and ended with tracks off Saint Asonia’s self-titled debut, as well as a track a piece off of Flawed Design, Introvert, and Extrovert.
The band gave a pair of Three Days Grace songs, first with “Never Too Late,” the majority of which was performed solo by Adam, and “I Hate Everything About You. They performed a cello-less version of the Apocalyptica song “I Don’t Care,” which Adam contributed vocals to. I remember hearing about it from a friend when it was released, I fell in love with the chorus immediately.
They closed out their set with their current single “Devestate” and finally “Let me Live my Life” from their self titled release. Adam’s voice is strong and commanding and the band had great energy and sounded great. I look forward to hearing more from them. They finish out this tour before heading to Canada. You can find all dates and their new EP “Introvert” on their official website: https://www.saintasonia.com/
Back to the Pikeville date for the rest of this article. I’ve seen Skillet 4 or 5 times since the release of their chart topping album, “Comatose” back in 2006. My late wife and I had the opportunity to meet John and Korey Cooper back then when they played at the C28 show in Lake Elsinore back then. Jamie was a budding bass player and felt kindred with Korey. I have a photo of that brief meeting.With an incredible stage show everytime I’ve seen them, they are definitely a must see show. They’re the reason I took my now 12 year old grandaughter to Cincinnati. She’s been to many shows in her life with me, but this was the first where it was a favorite band of hers.
The lights came up as Jen Ledger walked on stage with a bow before heading up to her place behind her kit. As the rest of the band entered the stage, they kicked off their set with the energizing “Feel Invincible” as the drums thundered through the arena, setting the pace of their anthem fueled set. They played songs from all over their discography, which is a treat for all the “Panheads” in attendance. “Surviving the Game” saw John using CO2 hand cannons in the opening verse. He takes the canons off after the first chorus and begins to bound across the stage, engaging the crowd at every stop, shaking hands and really interacting with the crowd.
The production on this show was pure rock show. From the lighting rigs to the video screens to the elevating platforms that Korey and Seth rise and fall over the stage during “Awake and Alive.” This song along with their hit, “Hero” features both Jen and John on vocals, with Jen stage front with the rest of the band. I must say that Korey is the funnest one to watch during the show as she stomps around and lives it up as she plays every song. The band as a unit is a cohesive unit of rock and roll swagger and strut.
A key point to me is when John takes a moment or two to address the crowd, asking “how everyone is doing?” It is also here that he shares his faith in Jesus Christ as savior and king. He doesn’t browbeat or condemn but speaks compassionately to those who may be hurting or dealing with suicidal thoughts, giving a message of hope. (I’ve included video of this moment below) before the band launches into the song “Hero.”
They continue thru their set with hit after hit. Anthem after anthem. There was a drum solo and guitar solo in there somewhere, I don’t remember exactly where? But this is a true statement, Jen Ledger is a monster on her kit and Seth Morrison is a shredder on his guitar. The heavy thumping beat from Jen and John as They perform the song “Finish Line”. The crowd is very welcoming as John reintroduces Adam Gontier to sing the second verse of the song that is on their “Victorious” disc.
Speaking of monsters, John once again addresses the crowd before breaking into the chart-topping song “Monster.” It’s a favorite of my grandchildren, including the 3-year-old who sings a baby version of the chorus chant. This is followed by my favorite Skillet song, “Rebirthing” from the Comatose disc, which features John and Korey on lead vocals. After the first verse and chorus, John gives his wife a smooch before continuing the song, which is a musically extended for a jam.
The crowd is going insane when they come to the final song of their electrifying set, “The Resistance”. They brought all the rock show you could ask for and more. Like I said, it’s a must-see show. After the Rock Resurrection tour, they head off to Europe for the Day of Destiny tour with Like a Storm and Eva Under Fire. Then back here to the states for a few more dates thru July. You can see all dates and purchase their latest album from their official website: https://www.skillet.com/?frontpage=true
After a quick set change, it’s time for the headliner of the evening, Theory of A Deadman, the band consists of Tyler Connelly on lead vocals and guitar, Dave Brenner lead guitar, Dean Back on bass guitar, and Joey Dandeneau on drums and backing vocals. As we would see thru out their set. The band has a wicked sense of humor both lyrically and whilst addressing the crowd.
They begin by warming up the crowd with the Neil Diamond favorite, “Sweet Caroline,” and the crowd acquiesced to the familiar lyrics and bom bom boms we have all come to know and love. As the tape distorts and the lights go down, we wait with serious anticipation for the band to take the stage.
Dave walks on stage playing the opening riff to “Dinosaur” from their upcoming release of the same name. The album is set for release on March 17th and can be preordered here. https://theory.lnk.to/dinosaur Dean and Joey join in with a catchy beat that gets the crowd headbanging right from the start. The music cuts and it back to Dave’s riff with Tyler joining in on vocals for the opening verse.
Tyler, playing a chromed-out telecaster wearing a black trench coat and a Elvira T-shirt, walked out to the mic with a dark red light casting overhead. The song “Dinosaur” had a cool little riff that builds as the song progresses. The lighting during their set, especially how it played with the tiered platform, with Joey up on a high drum riser, gave an interesting feel to the overall stage, which was a fairly open concept as the band certainly likes to move around on stage.
They waste no time by diving directly into the classic “Bitch Came Back”, a jaunty tale about a wonderful young lady. At this point Tyler and Dave converse briefly about the next song, which they claim is “the first time we’ve played. But we played it last night too.” With that they broke into “Two of Us (Stuck) which is a play on Grover Washington Jr’s “Just the Two of us”. For me, anytime I hear that chorus now, I think of Dr. Evil and Mini Me’s rendition from Austin Powers. “Ambulance” is another new track from the new album they played in the set.
Throughout their 15-song set, the band dipped into almost all their albums plus a few well placed covers and musical pieces of covers, giving fans both rockers and ballads which showcased the diversity of their catalog. They played one full cover, “Wicked Game”, with a Tyler gloomily lit by an overhead spot whilst playing on the keys, with the full band coming in about halfway through the song.
The band likes to have fun on stage and interact with its audience. They played a short rendition of “Friends in Low Places” When the song is over, Tyler teases the crowd saying, “joining us on stage now is Garth Brooks!”. He turns as if waiting for someone to come out, then says, “this is embarrassing. One of these days I am going to announce Garth Brooks and he will actually join us”. This draws laughter and cheer from the crowd. The whole set was full of good ole rock and roll tunes that Theory is known for. They begin playing “Angel”, The slow beat has the crowd waving their arms in the air as white lights swirl through the arena like a mirror ball.
Tyler talks to the crowd again about the daily annoyances of life. Things that get in the way like traffic, work, relationships, etc. He tells the crowd they wrote a “little song” about it as he sings the opening for the 2008 hit “Hate My Life”. They follow up with “RX (Medicate)” as Tyler whistles the introduction like an old western movie. By now the audience is at a fever pitch.
They tease the audience with intro licks to “Paradise City” (GnR), “Walk” (Pantera), and a Tenacious D riff. The final song of the night is their smash hit “Bad Girlfriend”. Tyler thanks the crowd for coming out before breaking into the opening riff. Tyler paces back and forth engaging everyone in the front. They end in a raucous extended ending which leaves the crowd screaming their appreciation for the performance they just saw.
They finish out the Rock Resurrection tour before heading to Canada and then back to the states for some festival dates and then the UK in September. You can check out all dates and pre-order the new album “Dinosaur” on their official website: https://www.theoryofficial.com/