Friday, June 17, 2016

Stryper Rocks The Chance

My love of '80s rock and metal is well documented, from the Thrash it Out podcast I do with Antony Johnston, to the Liner Notes segments that have been featured on Secret Identity for years. I went to high school from '88 to '92, so I grew up in the MTV era and was a teenager during the height of the hair metal movement.

The past ten years have seen a real resurgence of the bands I grew up listening to, and many of them are putting out music today that stands alongside the best stuff they've ever done. A lot of them are also touring again, and are just as great live as they were back in the day.

Stryper is an interesting band because many people dismissed them for their Christian themes and lyrics. As a kid who went to Catholic school through sixth grade, Stryper was the one metal band that my parents actually didn't mind me listening to. And listen to them I did. Stryper was among my favorite bands, and still is to this day. 

Sadly though, I didn't get to see them live when I was a kid, because I was always too young to get into the venues they played at. The first time I actually saw them in concert was in 2009, and they were amazing. 

So it was with great anticipation that I drove down to Poughkeepsie, New York this past Saturday with my pal Matt and my nine-year old son to see Stryper play at The Chance Theater, a venue that has hosted everyone from the Police to Twisted Sister to David Bowie.

Matt is the host of the Stryper podcast, and he interviewed both lead singer Michael Sweet and Guitarist Oz fox before the show. We got to tag along, which meant my son got to not only meet the guys, but to hang out on the tour bus for a bit. It will probably take him a few years to realize how amazing that moment actually was, but he was psyched to meet the band and hang out for a bit before the show.

After a few opening bands, Stryper took the stage and ripped through 22 songs that featured a great mix of old and new, as well as a few covers. I am a huge fan of The Yellow and Black Attack album, and they played three cuts from that one--"You Know What to Do," "Loud 'n' Clear" and "C'mon Rock." Of course they also played hits like "Soldiers Under Command," In God We Trust" and "To Hell With the Devil," a song for which they invited 15-year old Mariah Formica up on stage to sing lead vocals for. She was amazing. You can watch the video of that performance right here.

All in all, the show was great, the night was great, and the memory of sharing it with my son is one I will cherish forever. If you get a chance to see Stryper live, take it. 

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