October 9, 2014 Stryper capture the soul of New York City 10-4-14
It is common knowledge for New Yorkers, to stay as far away from Times Square and 42nd Street at any and every time of day. For a Saturday, that feeling is tenfold, but an exception had to be made on the evening of October 4th to see California based Metal band Stryper headline B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in the middle of it all on West 42nd Street. The doors opened at 7:00 PM with fans of all ages filling up the floor, excited to see Stryper return to NYC for the second time in 2014 as they continue to support their 2013 album No More Hell to Pay.
Providing support for Stryper for the second time this year was Long Island based band Saviour. Rocking for three decades, Saviour has established themselves around the tri-state area as they play shows regularly to dedicated followers; offering up heavy guitar oriented Metal with dueling guitar solos that had their fans cheering. Through their forty-five minute opening set Saviour showed why they have been rocking as long as they have and continue to garnish respect. Be sure to check them out as they continue to play the Long Island Rock club scene.
With energy flowing from the back bar to the front of the stage, everyone was completely amped up to see Stryper. Formed back in 1983, the band became a force in the Metal scene among the leaders with top selling records Soldiers Under Command (1985), To Hell with the Devil (1986), and In God We Trust (1988). Parting ways in 1993 to explore other projects, the hiatus finally came to an end in 2003 when lead vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet, drummer Robert Sweet, bassist Tim Gaines, and guitarist Oz Fox came back together once again. Now as strong as ever and touring year after year, the band stimulate broad fanfare while still producing some of their best music with each studio album. Graciously introduced by radio personality and host of VH1’s That Metal Show, Eddie Trunk, the crowd went wild waiting the band to hit the stage.
Jump starting the night with new song “Revelation,” they quickly mixed things up with older pieces “Loud and Clear,” “Reach Out,” and “Calling on You.” Michael’s voice soared high while his guitar playing glimmered along with Fox ripping up and down the fretboard as well. Melodic Metal masterpieces like “Free” and “More Than a Man” had everyone’s hands in the air and kept the adrenaline pumping loud and proud. With Robert’s powerful stick work behind the drum kit and Gaines providing a thick bass line to each track, it was as if the audience had been transported back in time to relive each song as crisp as the days they were created. Michael, a humble man, gave off positive vibes all night long; making eye contact with fans and reaching note after note vocally.
As the night moved along and more new songs made their way into the set, including title track “No More Hell to Pay” and “Marching Into Battle,” no one’s interest waned as they kept their eyes fixed upon the stage. Offering their electrifying covers of Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son” and KISS classic “Shout it Out Loud,” everyone sang out-loud to the point of exhaustion. After tossing a few bibles to fans in the crowd, they threw in a surprise performance of 1998’s “In God We Trust,” before other favorites like “Honestly” and “Soldiers Under Command.” Whistling and applauding for more, the hour plus set came to an end with mega hit “To Hell With the Devil” and not a soul was disappointed with the show.
There is a reason why the men in Stryper have continued success from the time they started to present. Regardless of one’s religious sanctity, Stryper’s overwhelming zest for life is inspiring. They are a wonderful live band, full of energy with songs so well meshed together musically. Sweet still has it as a singer after all these years belting out those high notes. No doubt Stryper, and their music, has stood the test of time.