The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular returned to the Amalie Arena last weekend, selling out the 20,000-capacity venue. From dubstep to metal, the event definitely challenged what someone like myself (a fan of secular sounds) expected to hear from “Christian music.”
The first performers we caught were Family Force 5, the pop-slinging boy band of the tour who came replete with flashy outfits and swooning girls. Their synchronized trampoline dancing to the dubsteppy “BZRK” confirmed this wasn’t one of those church basement bands that used to get dragged to see when I went to private school.
Francesca Battistelli was exactly what I used to get dragged to see when I was in private school. A pretty, happy, quirky singer whose cover of American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life” — accompanied by a giant bubble machine — was was saccharine sweet.
A final prayer break followed, during which a preacher advised occupants of the packed venue that the tour didn’t have enough money to make it to their next stop in Sunrise, and passed around collection buckets while Veridia's Deena Jakoub performed an acoustic set.
Finally it was time for the main event. As I mentioned before, I went to a private Christian high school and I've seen my fair share of Christian bands. But I have never seen anyone like Skillet. I'd been told by a friend — whose advice I trusted to the point of going to a Christian concert with her — that they had a great stage show. She wasn’t kidding.
Skillet are definitely a rock band. and not a Christian version of a rock band, either. They’re the real deal, complete with guitar solos, a drummer on a spinning platform, and fire. Lots of fire.
In all, while not my usual thing, I had a great time broadening my Christian music horizons and definitely recommend checking out Skillet, whether you’re into God, no god, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose Noodly Appendages touch us all...