The yellow and black attack are back after last gracing out shores in 2018, they have made their return and the fans couldn’t be happier, the unending line snaking up and around 170 Russell in Melbourne a testament to the numbers waiting to get in. As I made my way down the stairs it was clear there was a b-line for merch knowing it sold out last time Stryper were in town. So after a quick stop there I got my spot up close to the stage so I didn’t miss a minute of the action.
Opening the nights proceeding were Crosson, delivering a set almost reminiscent of a theatre show, complete with dancers, costume changes and a few rocking tunes in-between. They have been around for quite a while so it must be working for them, and they had the crowd starting to warm up by the end of their set. Followed closely by Sydney’s Panik who gave a flat-out thrash set, for a threesome these guys packed a punch and had 170 rocking with big riffs and high kicks. They left the punters well and truly ready and left me well impressed.
The heavy metal tunes were pumping from the speakers, the fans were singing along getting their voices warmed up, could any compete with Michael Sweet? definitely not, but we all like to think we could. The Marshall amps were stacked across the stage ready to be put to the test with Robert’s kit perched on top in his trademark sideways style. The lights dimmed the tension palpable, we have been waiting out the last few years to have Stryper back in Australia, and we were more than ready to rock out with them.
After touring as a trio last time due to Oz’s ill health I am happy to report that all four members were here and looking sharp. As they took the stage the fans erupted, it was clear they had brought their singing voices and weren’t afraid to use them. In God We Trust got the party started followed by Revalation and More Than A Man. Constantly engaging with the crowd Michael Sweet exuded happiness to be touring again and to be back in Australia. After having his own health issues of late we were delighted to have him here as well. While the set list wasn’t as extensive as Stryper’s last visit there was lots to love as Surrender and Calling On You rang out. Free was up next, the boys smashing out the songs with gusto,
Oz and Michael shredding skills both exemplary, as always the solos were hit to perfection showing the room just how it is done. The booming drum intro to Sorry from the ripping album God Damn Evil had everyone up and about, and while it was apparent Robert had been having a few technical issues with his kit he didn’t let this stop him hitting the gritty depths of the wicked groove. The hits keep coming with All For One, Always There For You and the amazing Divider which was explosive in its delivery and had the fans singing along.
The Valley ripped the venue a new one, it was loud, and it was heavy, just how we like them, then followed by the one we all wanted to hear Yahweh! Styper bibles were at the ready, randomly thrown out to the crowd over the course of the evening. While one grazed my hand, sadly I didn’t get the coveted keepsake, maybe next time, as Michael promised they would keeping coming back for as long as we would have them. Perry Richardson was magnificent, dazzling us all night, his smile as wide as the stage, loving every minute. The fans loved right back as Soldiers Under Command rang out, the punters losing their minds as this epic song played and 170 sang along in loud voices keeping them primed for To Hell With The Devil a classic Stryper hit and one we all happy made the cut.
As the night drew to its conclusion, we were hopeful for just one more song and through the higher powers our prayers were answered with the boys returning for Sing-Along Song. This took the crowd to celestial heights, we were drained nothing left in the tank but we screamed out hearts out as they boys came to the forefront giving them the applause they so deserved. Robert threw not drumsticks but his stack of bibles to the hungry crowd, and still they remained elusive to me. Next time I will have my bible catching hand on point! Final waves and thanks were given, and we were left to recover from a night of hot sweaty, godly rock, that can only be described as angelic.
Stryper were the preachers, and we were their congregation, spellbound by their words, captivated by their songs, we were disciples schooled in the church of heavy metal, and didn’t we love it!