Stryper have a lot to be excited about... a new album GOD DAMN EVIL, a new bass player and a brand new tour... bringing the music to the masses!!!!
Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing Stryper up close; having fun on stage, enjoying each others company offstage and providing yet another amazing show and providing the faithful with a show for the ages!!!! The show was at the Mixx 360 in Malden, MA,, a club that brings in some great music, has excellent sound, features a very intimate stage area... but NO place to take pictures. But... that was my problem...
Hitting the stage, Stryper flew through a well balanced set that was heavy on their 'hits', heavy on their roots and mixed in some newer songs including four from GOD DAMN EVIL. Stryper may not have been aware on stage, but the new songs they played; the title track, Sorry, The Valley and my favorite new one, Can't Live Without Your Love went over so well with the crowd they are now part of their/our history. Many times, new songs bring a bit of curiosity that results in quiet... but not here!
Opening with the recent epic Yahweh, Michael Sweet took center stage, grabbed hold of the crowd and never let go. Always given credit for his voice and guitar playing, Michael is an incredible front man... talking to the crowd (not at them) and making everyone feel like a part of the show. His stage banter is situational, feeding off the audience and things he sees while performing. Guitarist Oz Fox is the same now as he has ever been; insanely talented and doing whatever he needs to do for the songs whether its providing solid rhythms or a blistering solo, he is as much the Stryper sound as anyone else. Behind the kit, Robert Sweet is one of the most underrated drummers of his era! He plays hard but with a sense of melody that carries the music to the next level. On record, Robert is solid but live... he is a presence!!! With everything going on you need someone who can not only hold it all together but make it a bit heavier, and that someone is bassist Perry Richardson. Playing only his seventh show with Stryper, Perry is not only an amazing bassist, but he is also an incredible singer, giving the songs that much needed vocal push!
As far as the set (see complete set list below) it was a solid as it can be. Sure, they didn't do about 100 songs I wanted to hear, but they only have so much time to play. For me the highlights were; All For One and Always There For You. The first is from their underrated AGAINST THE LAW album that sum up so much of what the band is all about. The second, from IN GOD WE TRUST is a song many fans have a love/hate relationship with because it was very commercial. I LOVE this song and when played live it becomes much heavier and so much cooler. Much like KISS' I Was Made For Loving You, the years have been kind to it and on stage it is given a whole new feeling and sound.
It was also so much fun seeing the guys after the show, giving them UFO books to read while on the road and seeing how relaxed the backstage area was. Smiles and laughter all over the place. This is why I got home at 4 AM the next day, but I do need a note from Michael, Rob, Oz and Perry for my wife, to explain where I was and why I was so late!
Stryper are just a few dates into their 2018 world tour and I implore you... go see them if you get the chance! They were and continue to be one of the best bands you will see live and always play play this way because they don't know any better!
Calling on You Free
More Than a Man
All for One
In God We Trust
Soldiers Under Command
God Damn Evil
Big Screen Lies
Can't Live Without Your Love
Always There For You
Loud 'N' Clear
To Hell With The Devil
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.