This past Friday evening The Foundation Performing Arts Center played host to the yellow and black attack of Stryper as the band made a stop in Spindale, North Carolina on their “God Damn Evil” tour. The performing arts center is located on the picturesque campus of Isothermal Community College overlooking the lake with plenty of free parking. I had never been to this particular venue before and I was impressed with both the beauty of the theatre and the quality of the sound and lights. It’s a top notch facility and I am looking forward to attending future events.

Upon arrival, Stryper fans were already lined up outside the venue anxiously waiting for the VIP Meet and Greet with the band. Stryper tee shirts were everywhere and fans brought everything from cd’s to guitars and even a bowling ball for the band to sign. The show began promptly at 7:30 as local band Beyond The Fade hit the stage for a short but solid set getting the crowd warmed up for the main event.

After a short intermission, the venue lights dimmed and Stryper made their entrance. Drummer Robert Sweet was the first one out standing on his drum kit with his sticks in the air. It would be one of the few times fans could get a glimpse of him as only his head was visible from behind his massive drum set during most of the show. A huge Stryper banner hung behind him and the sides of the drum riser were covered with Stryper’s signature yellow and black stripes. The rest of the band came out with guitarist Oz Fox and bassist Perry Richardson taking their respective spots behind their mics and frontman Michael Sweet taking his spot center stage. Opening up with “Yahweh” from their 2015 release “Fallen,” Stryper was on the attack from the very first notes. Michael took a moment to introduce new bassist Perry Richardson, formerly of Firehouse, and welcome him into the fold. Richardson did a fantastic job and already seemed to fit seamlessly into the Stryper camp. Sweet and guitarist Oz Fox were on fire as they traded licks and leads all night long. The set list was mixed with newer songs from their recent album “God Damn Evil” fitting right in with Stryper classics. Midway through the set the band launched into one of their biggest hits “Soldiers Under Command” which really fired up the audience. They followed it with the title track of the new record “God Damn Evil” which may just be the best song Stryper has ever done. It is a pure rock anthem with a killer riff to open it up and a shout out chorus that had the audience on their feet. Sonically the band sounded better than ever with Robert’s thundering drums providing a rock solid foundation and Michael still hitting those high notes with ease. After a rousing version of “Loud ‘N’ Clear,” they slowed the pace down for a poignant version of fan favorite “Honestly” before capping off the set with “The Way.” As the band exited the stage, the crowd began to chant “Stryper! Stryper!” and the band obliged by returning for one more song. Robert came out wearing a black cap and stood up on the drums as the band launched into the finale “To Hell With The Devil.” The crowd was on their feet as Michael came out to the end of the stage throwing bibles out to the crowd while Oz Fox played the guitar with his tongue.

It was a great ending to a fantastic night of rock and roll. To make things even sweeter, Michael announced that if you purchased a CD to stick around because the band would be signing CD’s only after the show. Hundreds of fans were already lining up for the opportunity to get an autograph as I made my way out of the venue. Don’t miss your chance to see Stryper when the “God Damn Evil” tour comes to a town near you.

 

Set List:

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:

 

To Hell With The Devil

Photo Gallery

 

We would like to thank Brian Mayes from Nashville Publicity Group and Ellena Sweet for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978. My top five live shows ever are: 1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome. 2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours. 3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 - The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked! 4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live. 5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.