Ichthus clocked in with the Battle of the Bands at 9:30 a.m. making this year's opening day seem more like a Friday or Saturday.
But like those years, the audience still had enough gas left in the tank to for a big night, and if any band was got to get folks to rally, it would be Skillet. They had a teasy, but very cool opening with a countdown that made you think they were going to explode onto the stage. Instead, violinist Jonathan Chu took to one of the risers to mesmerize the audience, and through Skillet's set, he continued to make vital contributions. I had never really considered how much violin was in Skillet's music.
It was a solid set with a very coherent John Cooper out front introducing a stream of hits including Last Night, The Older I Get and the grand finale Savior, complete with smoke and pyrotechnics. We'll post this conversation tomorrow, but John talked to us Thursday about how he believes in putting on a show. Skillet sure gave us one, and they weren't even the closers.
We caught a few numbers in what was looking like a solid set but then wandered over to the Edge Stage for Fireflight. As big as Unbreakable has been the past six or nine months, it was a little surprising to see Fireflight on a secondary stage. But it gave an enthusiastic crowd a chance to get up close and personal with the band doing songs such as Forever and that iconic hit. They also got a guest appearance by Day of Fire's Josh Brown.
Josh is, of course, the man we started the day with emceeing the Battle of the Bands and eating a cicada. We'll see if he is as ubiquitous a presence tomorrow, what the skies bring, and if Tobymac will keep us all going with that late starting time.