With Stryper hitting The Route 47 Pub And Grub (formerly Pickle Park) for a wonderful, intimate show, I can say this, the show was fantastic! The sound that this venue has is great. Food, drinks…not bad either. Trying to move around to get a drink, head to the bathroom or move to the other side of the stage? Horrible. Note: this is not uncommon in smaller venues, The Cabooze is just as bad. If the crowd is packed in here, prepare not to move for the rest of the night; otherwise, your spot will be gone and it’ll take you 5 or 10 minutes to get out. Like I said, this place is wonderful, only lacking in a designated walkway (or at least one that is kept clear and enforced).
Once the opening band Arena and the venue got the sound straightened out, everything went off without a hitch, although I think one song by the opening band was rather tacky(This was a song full of cussing) being played on this night. Remember, headliner Stryper is a Christian band, and this song just seemed extremely out of place.
Everything about Stryper’s show was pretty good, if not great. One thing lead singer Michael Sweet doesn’t seem to do is interact with the crowd, he did a little bit, talking about the days when MTV actually played music videos, that is really the only shortcoming from the lead singer. Michaels strong points are (obviously) his superb guitar playing and his voice. While quite a few of the 80’s band’s lead singers have lost some range in their voices, not Michael. That voice of his is as strong as it’s ever been, and still able to hit all the notes from the Current album God Damn Evil or any of the previous hits including songs “Soldiers Under Command” and the ever-popular ballad “Honestly“.
The twist this time around is Stryper brought in Perry Richardson (from the band Firehouse) to take the place of the recently departed Tim Gaines. He absolutely rocked the spot and wasn’t too bad on vocals either. Seemed a little strange with a different guy behind the bass since Gaines and Stryper parted ways.
The rest of the night belonged to the hits including “Loud N’ Clear,” “Surrender,” “Lady,” and the band finished the night out coming back for the Encore with “Abyss” which lead into the final song of the night, and probably their most popular song, “To Hell With The Devil.”
Not bad for a band who many called a gimmick band when they first came out, saying no way can a Christian Hard Rock Band make it next to all these other bands promoting the normal Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. Funny that was almost 35 years ago.