Prior to Stryper taking the revered stage at House Of Blues Chicago to perform the Grammy-nominated album “To Hell With The Devil” in its entirety, front man Michael Sweet narrated a fascinating mini-documentary accompanied by photos and video clips from a time when the hair was high, the spandex was tight and the dudes looked more like ladies. While some of the crowd surely recalled the days of dialing up MTV to request the chart-toppers Free” and “Honestly” (or the #2 tune “Calling You”), the expansive highlight reel also educated those who were too young the first time around to fully visualize the nearly overnight jump from clubs and theatres to arenas.
In addition to all that the platinum-plus familiarity (which also included “The Way” and “Sing-Along Song”), Stryper dusted off “Holding On” for the very first tour since ‘86, along with the almost as rarely performed “Rockin’ The World.”
Though the Halloween night venue was much more intimate compared to Stryper’s stomping grounds 30 years ago, the entirely original group that also includes guitarist Oz Fox, bassist Tim Gaines and drummer Robert Sweet brought their A-game, tons of production and even those signature yellow and black outfits. And in honoring the promise to play the landmark project from front to back, the guys kicked off the show with four of their most enormous melodic metal hits (“To Hell With The Devil,” “Calling On You,” “Free” and “Honestly”), all of which helped set the tone for the rest of the thunderous two hour set.
In addition to all that the platinum-plus familiarity (which also included “The Way” and “Sing-Along Song”), Stryper dusted off “Holding On” for the very first tour since ‘86, along with the almost as rarely performed “Rockin’ The World.” The band went on to wrap that first set with the power ballad “All Of Me” and the monstrous “More Than A Man,” all but erasing the ensuing years thanks to Sweet’s sky high screams and the rest of the group’s seasoned showmanship.
Stryper also made sure the night extended beyond purely nostalgia thanks to a handful of newer tunes such as “Yahweh” and “Revelation,” which echoed the hard rock/heavy metal blend from those glory years, but never at the expense of sounding dated. The band also temporarily assumed the identities of Black Sabbath come “Heaven And Hell” and Van Halen during “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” further showcasing a reputable musical foundation that continues to be seamlessly integrated within everyone’s faith-fueled lyrics.
Other fan favorites followed, including “Surrender” and “Soldiers Under Command,” though after faithful refused to leave, an encore came in the welcome form of “Reach Out” (which was requested via an interactive app). Though it may have been the last Stryper song in Chicago’s memory bank for quite some time given the recent announcement of an impending hiatus, the devil-spearing foursome left on fire for the rock that makes them roll.
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For additional information on Stryper, visit Stryper.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at the House Of Blues include Yellowcard (Nov. 3-4); Saul Hernandez (Nov. 5); The Pretty Reckless (Nov. 11); Sneezy (Nov. 12); Somo (Nov. 15); Machine Gun Kelly (Nov. 16) Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band (Nov. 17); Andra Day (Nov. 18); The Fab Faux (Nov. 19); Howard Jones (Nov. 23); Pigface (Nov. 25); Children Of Bodom (Nov. 26) and In Flames with Hellyeah (Nov. 30). For additional details, visit HouseOfBlues.com/Chicago.