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STRYPER In Houston, TX With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, June 7, 2018 @ 12:33 AM


Band Rocks The Hell Out Of Proof Rooftop Lounge On May 31

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All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

STRYPER is back! The undisputed kings of Christian Heavy Metal have cranked out six studio, live, covers and re-recorded albums just in the current decade alone and the release of the most recent, God Damn Evil, has shown once again that these God-rockers are far from calling it a day. With some calling the album the band's best, heaviest yet, the yellow and blackers borught their metal circus to Houston on May 31st for a 'free' show at the Proof Rooftop Lounge. I say 'fre'' because obviously someone has to pay for the band, but it wasn't the fans who were given the opportunity to reserve free tickets with the option to purchase a VIP upgrade if they so desired. At any rate, as one might expect, the place was packed for the show, as has been the case for every STRYPER show this reviewer has seen of the past 10-15 years.

When the band played Houston last on the 30th Anniversary of the To Hell With The Devil Tour the opener for both the Dallas and Houston gigs was Dallas-based progressive Christian rockers MILLENNIAL REIGN. For this go 'round MILLENNIAL REIGN once again secured the opening spot. I mentioned in my review of that previous show that this band was the prefect complement to STRYPER and their appearance this time only reinforced to me what a great band this really is, even when you take into account that the band this year bore little resemblence to the band from the 2016 show. MILLENNIAL REIGN sported a completely revamed lineup, with only guitarist DAVE HARVEY remaining from the band's last album, 2015's Carry The Fire. Vocalist Travis Wills (INFIDEL RISING), drummer Steve Nichols (ex-SOLITUDE AETURNUS) and bassist Neil Bertrand were all brought on board within the past year or so to record The Great Divide, an album that was released the week prior to this show. The release of The Great Divide shows that no matter which members are involved, the core spirit and sound of the band remains as potent as ever.

MILLENNIAL REIGN kicked the extremely hot and humid Houston evening off with the title track to the new album and played a very solid, kick ass set of material. Of the nine songs played, 6 were from the new album and the other 3 from the Carry The Fire release. For those not familiar with the band, the best description for me would be a QUEENSRYCHE/FATES WARNING/DREAM THEATER hybrid, with the familiar tempo changes and soaring vocals courtesy of Travis Wills. The first single from the album, "Break The Tide", which was obviously performed this evening, has an accompanying video which you can check out on KNAC.COM HERE. Give this band a listen, you won't be disappointed!

Setist:

  • "The Great Divide"
  • "Millennial Reign"
  • "Till the End"
  • "Break The Tide"
  • "Way Up High"
  • "More than Scars"
  • "Men Stand Alone"
  • "Wounds in Hand"
  • "Imagine"
And what can you say about STRYPER that hasn't been said already? Like a fine wine this band seems to only get better with age and if the Houston night was already hot, the band made it that much hotter. Opening the show with the lead track "Yahweh", from the previous album Fallen, the band was in top form. Leader and vocalist Michael Sweet sported a gruff, unshaven look as if maybe he'd lost his razor at the prior show in Tulsa but thankfully it certainly had no impact on his vocals, which remain to this day one of the most iconic, well-kept chords in the business.

The band as you would expect focused on the new album, playing 4 cuts including the title track, "The Valley", "Sorry" and "Can't Live Without Your Love". They included 2 tracks from the oft-overlooked 1990 album Against The Law, "All For One" and "Lady", which I had never seen live before, and at least one song I had not seen performed live in about 30 years, "Always There For You", from the In God We Trust release. New to the band, bassist Perry Richardson of FIREHOUSE fame, seemed right at home and was a fine addition to the harmonious vocals that made STRYPER a household name back in the day. The band played a total of 20 songs in their set, which included staples such as "Calling On You", "Free", "In God We Trust", "Loud 'N' Clear" and the hit ballad "Honestly" as well as fan favorites "Soldiers Under Command", "The Way" (complete with Michael's signature scream at the end) and set closer "The Abyss/To Hell With The Devil".

I've lost count of the number of times I've seen this band going back 30 years, but not once has it ever been a disappointment. Go see them when they come near you or live to regret it!

Setlist:

  • "Yahweh"
  • "The Valley"
  • "Calling On You"
  • "Free"
  • "More Than A Man"
  • "All For One"
  • "Lady"
  • "Revelation"
  • "In God We Trust"
  • "Sorry"
  • "Surrender"
  • "Soldiers Under Command"
  • "God Damn Evil"
  • "Big Screen Lies"
  • "Can't Live Without Your Love"
  • "Always There For You"
  • "Loud 'N' Clear"
  • "Honestly"
  • "The Way"
Encore:
  • "The Abyss/To Hell With The Devil"
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography


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