So, I was all set to write about my evening with STRYPER last week but during one of the few moments I wasn’t rocking out like a madman I looked over and saw my concert buddy Hannah (one half of A&GS’ Wonder Twins) all wide-eyed and totally into it. Ryan from Ardent Owl Media, whose shots you see here, (and HERE) was also caught up in the excitement. So then it hit me: Why not get a write-up from the point of view of a first-timer? Even better, one who wasn’t around for the early days? And as you can see below, she did a bang-up job! So, expect to see more from her, both on her own and co-writing with yours truly. SO without further ado, I give you STRYPER Live, through the eyes of Hannah:
When I first met Damian (aka The Maestro) at THE WINERY DOGS concert in May, learned about the upcoming STRYPER show and agreed to go to in June, I wasn’t entirely aware of what I was in for. Metal Glam Band from the ’80s, of course I’d be game for it, however I hadn’t really heard much from them lately.
Jump forward to June 20 and Damian, Ryan, and I were lounging against a non-operating bar waiting for Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Tim Gaines, and Oz Fox to take the stage. The opening act was lacking, leaving us just that much hungrier for STRYPER. As 10:30 pm rolled around and the side screens at Granada Theater finally started closing down, the anticipation and intense excitement throughout the crowd boiled up into loud applause.
They opened up with “God” from the 2011 album The Covering. Michael Sweet’s voice is so strong and piercing, and this song is a perfect showcase for it. For a girl who thinks being able to feel the music in her chest is one of the greatest feelings ever, Robert Sweet’s thunderous drumming was absolutely epic, not to mention the tones Michael and Oz were getting! Now, now, don’t forget Tim Gaines.This dude can produce some hardcore bass riffage!
Their mad skills don’t stop there, though! My eyes were wide as they showed off their awesome vocal abilities about halfway through the set on a cover of KANSAS’ “Carry On Wayward Son.” The harmonies were spot on! It’s so wonderful to hear a band that not only understands the concepts of a harmony, but can also pull it off!
These guys play well to the crowd too! Unfortunately that seems to be a dying trait among bands these days, but Sweet kept throwing guitar picks to loving fans, and calling out certain ones (like the group of screaming girls off to the left of the stage). And don’t forget the flying bibles! You don’t see that at every metal show! They ended their set with “Soldiers Under Command” with a lot of crowd participation. For the encore the boys came back to treat us to a couple of songs, starting with a cover of VAN HALEN’S “Aint Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”, and ending with “Sing-Along Song.”
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!!
Aren’t we missing something? “They still haven’t played ‘To Hell With the Devil’” Damian explained. The family in front of us apparently didn’t know, or didn’t care, because they left at this point, but most of the audience was on the same page as us and were not about to leave until they got what they wanted!
With the stage dark and the cheering from the crowd not subsiding, red spotlights lit up the stage as the guys broke into the much anticipated title track from the beloved ’86 album. The fans definitely got into this one, giving the band a wonderful end to a fantastic evening. After the song, Michael Sweet asked the audience to share in a prayer with him before they bid us adieu for the last time that evening.
All in all it was a fantastic show. II will definitely be seeing them next time they come to town. Only complaint I have is the merch. Next time, please, please, PLEASE have shirts with tour dates on it! ~hw
That last part was for me, as I was highly upset at the lack of tour dates on the shirts both at this gig and last tour as well. Hey, I just wanna represent! Other highlights of the night included “Caught in the Middle”, “The Way” and “No More Hell to Pay”. As far as covers go, the band did a terrific job on KISS’ “Shout It Out Loud” as well. We really, really got the best out of STRYPER that night. It was my fifth time seeing them, and I’m so glad I got to share it with The Wonder Twins!! ~dc
LIVE REVIEW: HANNAH AND THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: ARDENT OWL MEDIA