In 1986 I got to see Stryper perform at the old West Hartford Ballroom in CT. Not only did I see an amazing show but I pierced my ear there just so I could buy a Stryper earring. Almost 30 years later I got the chance to see the bands frontman Michael Sweet... with that same Stryper earring in tow!
Arriving at Connect Fest 2015 I went up to Michael's dressing room (with my pal and photographer Bryan Grenier) and met his wife and family and had a great chat with Michael that lasted about 20 minutes or so. We discussed everything; Stryper, cranberry farming, WASP, and the new Stryper cd that will be released the second week of October. Michael even corrected me on a Bible verse...that was embarrassing! A few hours later Michael took the stage for a one man acoustic set that was not only powerful... but a nice trip down memory lane.
Michael's set covered his career; classic Stryper including 'All For One', 'Honestly', 'Always There For You' and a sing along version of 'Calling On You'. Michael laughed and made comments about the audience not knowing the song and made everyone sing it until we got it right! His solo career was represented by 'All I'm Thinking Of Is You' and the emotional 'I'm Not Your Suicide', made even more so gut wrenching stripped down to just guitar and voice! Fitting the moment, Michel broke into a haunting version of Bon Jovi's 'Living On A Prayer' and made it his own... but the favorite moment of the set was Boston's 'Piece Of Mind', a song he got to perform as a member of the band in the early 2000's. He finished the set with the rally cry song 'To Hell With The Devil'... and y'kow what? To Hell With The Devil!!!!
After the show Michael joked if I was going to put the show at a 3 out of 10. I told him he would have to wait until my write up, but add seven to his three and you are more accurate! I don't think Michael's voice has lost anything, in fact I think he sounds better than he ever has.
It's awesome to find out the guys you thought were the good ones turn out to be great ones. Thank you Michael, his wife Lisa and press guru Brian Mayes for making this all so much fun and a day to remember.
To find out more go to www.michaelsweet.com and/or www.stryper.com.
Stryper's latest album FALLEN hit's stores in two weeks!