It’s NOOOOOO secret how much The Maestro loves his live albums. So when I first learned of STRYPER recording a show at the world famous Whisky a Go Go for a live record I was on Cloud Nine waiting. And after catching them live last June the wait became even more excruciating since they’re much better onstage now than they ever were. Not gonna lie, I screamed like a girl when Live at the Whisky arrived in my mailbox from Frontiers Records. What can I say, man? I still get excited and that’s never gonna change. In and among my various other studio reviews I’ve been playing this one like crazy and having a ball with it.
16 tracks spanning a thirty year career are on display here, with songs from latest studio album No More Hell to Pay right alongside ones from debut The Yellow and Black Attack. “Reach Out”, “Legacy”, “You Know What to Do” and “All For One” from Against the Law all show STRYPER at the peak of their powers, especially lead singer/guitarist Michael Sweet who, for the fiftieth time I’m gonna say it, is 50 years of age and just getting up there and destroying singers half his age. His brother Robert on drums, Oz Fox on the guitar and Tim Gaines on bass never sounded better either, and this is coming from someone who saw them back in 1988.
Some of my favorite cuts in their live incarnations are the aforementioned “Reach Out”, “No More Hell to Pay”, “More Than a Man”, and “Calling On You”. Each one has a slew of memories attached to them, some from my teenage years, and some from the night I spent out with the Wonder Twins over the summer, watching their awed expressions at the sheer majesty of STRYPER live. These types of albums can be tricky. If the energy isn’t there in the room, that’s exactly what comes across on tape. That is simply NOT the case where this band is concerned. You can feel the good time vibe in the air, coming through your speakers.
One of the tunes that really jumps off the page is “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” with its riffage and energy. But the real kicker on this record comes in the triumvirate of megahits that close out the show. First up is one of the heaviest, ballsiest songs in their arsenal, “The Way”. This one still makes me wanna do 80 in a 55 even now as a supposed “adult”. Then of course, comes “To Hell With the Devil” and if THAT’S not enough, how about a little “Soldiers Under Command” to dot the “i” and cross the “t” on this killer set from one of my favorite bands on the planet?
Live albums are supposed to be a souvenir for the people who were there that night and also a way for those who couldn’t make it out to feel what it was like to take part in a rock and roll ritual. Well STRYPER manages to capture both of those feelings with Live at the Whisky, and this is another must-have piece for your collection.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “No More Hell to Pay”, “Calling On You”, “Reach Out”, “More Than a Man”, “The Rock That Makes Me Roll”, “The Way”, “Soldiers Under Command”, “To Hell With the Devil”