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Stryper Live Show Review

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 12:01AM by Registered CommenterBrian Carvell | Comments9 Comments
This past Saturday, the Stryper tour made a stop at Showcase Live in Foxboro, Mass. I have seen the band a few times before and they have always impressed me, so it was a no-brainer and I made the one and a half hour trek up the show. I had never been to the venue before, but it was large, had excellent lights and sound, was clean and was well run.
 
MASS was the opening band.  I have never heard them before and apparently I am the only one because the place was full of people singing along and going crazy for this band. Apparently, they have been around since the 1980s and are old friends of Michael Sweet. They played a tight set with a lot of energy. They were really good, but just not my style (but again, I was clearly in the minority on that one, and the crowd loved them). MASS did impress me with their cover of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." The band nailed the music and the singer sounded perfect, so much so that it actually made the hair on my arm stand up.
 
Stryper had an early start time, and took the stage at just about 9:00 p.m. I had a spot standing about 10 feet in front of Oz Fox.  As I wrote above, they have never let me down live, but far and away, this was the best I had ever heard the band sound.  They opened with "Sing Along Song," which I never would have thought was a good opener, but it worked perfectly. From there, they pick and chose songs that ran the length of their career, and really, there was not a bad song played all night.  Since they are touring in support of the new album of cover songs, The Covering, they did play a few songs off that album; specifically, "Over the Mountain," "Shout It Out Loud" and "Heaven & Hell." The band played together so well, and Michael's voice is so strong, that you just can not help but get sucked into the energy of the show.
 
I did have a few thoughts and observations watching the show this time around. Regarding Robert Sweet, I have always heard that he is an amazing drummer, and being a drummer myself, I always watch him play. He has always been solid, but has never quite blown me away. That changed this past Saturday night. Robert played with such power and intensity, and in a way I have never personally seen him play before, that I now understand how he earned that reputation.  Another thing I really enjoyed was watching Oz Fox play. Sure the guy is a very talented guitarist and singer, but that is not why he kept drawing my attention. The reason is because, of all the four on stage, he seemed to be the most genuinely excited and happy to be up there playing. You could just get the sense by watching him that he truly loves what he does, appreciates the people that are there to see him, and really cares about delivering a great show every time. In this day and age, when 80s bands just don't put the effort in, it is nice to someone who actually cares as much as he clearly does. That is not meant as a knock at the rest of the band either, as all of them put on a show as well as a performance, it was just that Oz, in particular, stood out to me the most.
 
Finally, I had an observation about the crowd. Everyone knows Stryper is a band with a message, and whether you are there for a combination of the message and the music, or just the music, you know what to expect when you go see Stryper live, and there should be a certain amount of respect for their beliefs (and those of many others in attendance) when you walk in the door. I am not particularly religious, but I, along with 95% of the audience, was respectful of the views expressed. However, inevitably, at every Stryper show, there is always someone yelling out Satan references and sarcastic hallelujahs, trying to either (1) be funny, or (2) get a rise out of the band. For the most part, a Stryper crowd is older, and really should have matured past this level of juvenile humor. Do they really think they are being original by yelling those things out? Do they really think that in 28 years of performing, Stryper have never heard those "jokes" before? I simply do not understand why someone would pay to see a show, only to try to insult the band and ruin the enjoyment of those around them. In fact, I recently read a review of a Stryper show earlier on the tour where the review said he wore a Danzig shirt (specifically Danzig, because they question religion, and not Slayer because Tom Araya is a Christian), and that he got a dirty look from the band's tour manager. Again, why go to the show wearing specific clothes to try to cause a problem.  It is a concert, not a debate, so the band is not going to notice, or quite frankly care, about your shirt. It is a level of immaturity that most leave when they graduate high school, but man, for those 5%....they just can not let it go.
 
One last note is just an observation of a culture clash from that same night. The club was double booked that night, and immediately following the Stryper show was an all-male tribute to Lady Gaga, called Rad Bromance (yes, that is funny). Well, the Stryper show ran a little long, and several of the Gaga fans showed up during the last few songs of their set. There were guys in full-on drag with half shirts, make-up and teased hair. (The irony of which is that such attire was actually typical of the 80s rock scene when Stryper was having their hey day). I even saw one guy in a Native American headdress.  The costumes and effort that they put into their outfits was fantastic, and to see them standing amongst the Stryper fans, mostly in jeans and leather, was great. You have to love it when worlds collide.
 


Reader Comments (9)

Great show I was there and agree Stryper was on that night.
Do yourself a favor and buy the first 2 Mass Cds if you like Styrper you will like Mass.
If your from New England I dont know how you never heard of Mass they have been around since the late 80s and thats why the crowd loved them and knew all there lyrics.
March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSleaze Rocker
Hey Brian I was probably standing 5 feet from you haha. I was right in front of Oz Fox and had a KISS shirt on. I was the guy who the roadie handed the drumstick to after MASS finished up their set.
March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
Wow, man! It really looks like you guys caught a helluva show, as ironic as that may sound.

Stryper are absolutely unreal! My ex-lead guitarist and I took our eye off the ball and stupidly missed 'em when they slipped into Baltimore with little fanfare and proceeded to obviously blow the roof off the Bourbon Street Theatre just a little over a week ago or so.

Judging from this clip, they must have been completely KILLER! Let's hope they continue touring The States after their jaunt to Europe, though somehow I doubt it, since they have nothing scheduled.

Still, one can only hope. I'd probably fly somewhere to catch 'em, they're so amazing!
March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Hey Brian I was also there with my buddy and our wives. The wives just go with us because it's something to do but my friend and I are die hard 80's fans. It was our first Stryper show not because we were too young but we just never had the chance before. I agree with you 100% that it they put on a great show and they still sound great. My friend turned me on to the fact that not only is Michael a good singer but also a good guitarist. I'm glad you've seen the venue and like it. I have been raving about it for a while now and have also been trying to get the word about it that it is a great place to see any live show. My friends and I are excited to have a place near us that is hosting 80's bands. In case you are wondering, Jackyl is shceduled there and also Kip Winger solo will be there. I also have inside info (my wife works for the parent company of showcase) that they have been talking to cinderella. Drop me a message if you ever need info about Showcase Live or go to www.showcaselive.com.
Hey are you going to see Kix for free at the wolf den (mohegan sun) april 9th' I'll be there also.
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRich
PLEASE.PLEASE!!!!go get the MASS cds!! The best melodic rock ever,why this band never got famous is beyond me..REVERE, MA BOYS ROCK!!!
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjimbo
@John, if you were that close and rocking a KISS t-shirt, I'm sure I noticed you there (I'm a diehard KISS fan).

@Rich, that was a great venue. Any place that cares about the sound like that obviously do is a great venue to catch a show. It's a bit of a drive for me, but if they get Cinderella, I WILL be there. I'm on the fence about going to see KIX. They put on a good show, but I'll be seeing them the following month at M3.

Maybe I will have to pick up some MASS cds. Clearly, they have a following (and when it has been built over 20+ years, there is usually a reason). The thing I couldn't figure out, is how the drummer kept that top hat on for the entire set. I play drums as well, and I once just tried playing an outdoor daytime show with some sunglasses on, and that wasn't even do-able....how did that thing not fall off???
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C.
Brian..Joey Vee's top hat is stapled to his head,,I saw Louie and Gene hold Joey down backstage as Mike did the duties,,wasn't pretty,but the show must go on!
March 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjimbo
I'll be at M3, Brian!

As for MASS, boys, I almost bought their first CD last year but passed cuz I couldn't get past the whole Christian Rock trip.

Still, if you are tellin' me it's the best Melodic Rock band ever, Jimbo, I will pick something up from them. Oh, and Jimbo, if you were to pick one album by them for me to start with, what would it be?
April 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Metalboy....MASS are NOT a Christian band the way Stryper is,,more secular. They are all Revere born and bred,,Revere is a city north of Boston,on the ocean, where the population are Italian Catholic.If I were to list the cd's in order of my faves,well here ya go:
1.Voices in The Night (Produced by Micheal Sweet,with unreal back up vocals,,great CD!!hooks all over the place)
2.New Birth. (this is the one with their hit Do You Love Me..great cd!)
3.Best Ones (greatest 'hits',,hard to find)
4.Sea of Black (latest one,,still rocks,but modern rock sounding,,unlike the others which are more mid 80's style)
5.Fighter (original demos,just released)
6.Take you home.6 song killer ep)

ENJOY bro,,check you their website for more inro,,massrocks.com

jimbo
April 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjimbo

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