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ConcertsStryper at The Chance Theater, Poughkeepsie, NY 3/27/11

Posted on Tuesday, March 29 2011 @ 13:49:20 CDT by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

Christian Metal band, Stryper were always a band that never got much credit. From the fantastic vocals of Michael Sweet to the jaw dropping guitar pyrotechnics from again Michael Sweet and Oz Fox, Stryper has been a very pioneering band since their first EP, The Yellow & Black Attack in 1984. The awe inspiring and completely new guitar tone that these guys developed sent many a guitar player back into the wood shed looking to replicate their nasally, trebly tone as well as trying to cop their twin harmonized lead work. Ahh, the glorious '80's! The music, the clothes, THE HAIR!!

The original lineup of Stryper are back together, out on the road and made a very impactful stop at The Chance Theater and wow'd a solid crowd full of Stryper faithful. Opening with old stand by, Sing Along Song, the stage was set for each and everyone to bask in the talents of one Mr. Michael Sweet (YES..he DID tour with the band Boston!). Sweet's vocals were front and center and I gotta tell ya the guy hasn't lost an ounce of THAT voice! Spot on! And then comes in the fabulous, searing guitars of both him & Oz Fox. How these two have NOT gotten more praise over the years is beyond me!! Next up is the newer tune, Murder By Pride, followed Loving You and Reach Out, and damn these guys were firing on all cylinders. The Rock That Makes Me Roll and the first tune from Stryper's new album, The Covering, surfaces with a very cool rendition of the Ozzy/Randy Rhoads classic, Over The Mountain, with Michael Sweet putting down the guitar to handle the vocals and giving way for Oz Fox to step up and completely NAIL the awesome Randy Rhoads solo. I was hoping to get that song and disappointed I was not!

As mentioned, the original Stryper lineup of Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, drummer Robert Sweet and newly welcomed back into the fold, bassist Timothy Gaines are all intact and sounding better than ever. Also back full on are trademarked Yellow & Black clothes, drums and guitars. For a while there, the Yellow & Black was being down played a bit, but no more and it was great to see. Other show highlights were Free, Surrender, the iconic Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell and of course the Stryper classic, Soldiers Under Command. But the real show stopper was quite simply Michael Sweet's awesome pipes! Not only has he not aged much at all physically, but his vocals sound even stronger, now than in their hey day. I guess serving God has paid off for him (OK, I just had to say it! Haha), but the man is truly blessed. From being the chief songwriter in the band, co-lead guitarist and vocalist, Sweet has been delivering the goods for over 25 years now and has never really disappointed (except for a couple of very SAPPY ballads, sorry Mike!).

With a little more than an hour & 15 minute set full of Stryper's heaviest songs, no one left The Chance let down at all and by most accounts, the people that I spoke to all had the same thing to say…WOW! The band was tight as hell (oops, sorry guys) and played with a renewed sense of something to prove and the people witness to this Sunday night's sermon left quite happy and a few with shiny new Bible's.

I for one am thrilled that a bunch of '80's bands are still out there flying the flag for those of us that never gave up on this type of Metal and showing people how much talent, musicianship and GREAT songs that they have. Whether you believe in God or not is really not the issue, it's about the music and Stryper have always had killer songs, killer guitars and soaring vocals and harmonies. Good is good and Stryper were GREAT tonight!

Butch Jones
Photos by Ken Pierce

Set List

Sing Along Song
Murder By Pride
Loving You
Reach Out
The Rock That Makes Me Roll
Over The Mountain
Calling On You
More Than A Man
Shout It Out Loud
Heaven & Hell
The Way
To Hell With The Devil
Soldiers Under Command

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