Stryper : April 14, 2023 @ the Arlington Music Hall in Arlington, TX

Stage lights are visible and in focus through the lenses of prescription glasses. Photo by Brian McLean

Bands seem to be touring more often, appearing in markets several times within a year. Pre pandemic, that didn’t seem to be the case but there’s been a noticeable change post pandemic. For the rabid fans, that’s a good thing. Fans who may have missed a date don’t have to wait that long for redemption. 

In September, Stryper played a pair of dates in Texas. One of those dates being at a venue in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas which was a sellout. 

Now, seven months later, Stryper returned to the DFW area Saturday night bringing their Final Battle Tour to the historic Arlington Music Hall.

The Stryper legions turned out early for the band Meet and Greet with the line reaching around the corner. Once the doors opened for the Meet and Greet, fans continued to arrive.

Fans wait for the doors to open for the Stryper Meet and Greet. Photo by Brian McLean

As with the September date, the Arlington Music Hall show sold out that night.

The billing may have looked familiar for the faithful and or causal Stryper fan. 

Local power metal outfit Millennial Reign served as support for the band who are no strangers to the Stryper following. Millennial Reign also served as support for Stryper in February 2020 on a Dallas date.

Millennial Reign recently completed festival appearances at the Elements of Rock Festival in Switzerland and the Exodo Fest in Mexico.

The band turned out a solid 40-minute set that did include a new song from an upcoming release. 

Millennial Reign (L – R) Dave Harvey, Tiffany Jean Galchutt and Neil Bertrand. Not pictured, drummer Steve Nichols. Photo by Brian McLean

There was some downtime though as guitarist Dave Harvey took a moment for dialogue with the crowd. In addition, band members also needed to catch their breath as traveling from the festivals was catching up with them.

With a healthy roster of releases throughout their career, Stryper compiled a strong set list for the night. 

Fronted by Michael Sweet, Stryper flawlessly blew through the night. Even though the band’s debut, Yellow and Black Attack was released in 1984, years on the road will take a toll on the voice. This doesn’t apply to Sweet though. It’s literally amazing how strong and spot on Sweet’s voice still is to this day. He sounds amazing live. It’s an experience every concert goer needs to have for their ears.

Stryper guitarist and vocalist Michael Sweet. Photo by Brian McLean

Stryper is touring on The Final Battle release, yet the band only pulled one song, “Transgressor” from the album. It is though a heavier selection with a driving double bass fast tempo. The inclusion of “Transgressor” had Stryper hitting the stage fiercely, quickly increasing the adrenaline level.

Five songs from Stryper’s To Hell with the Devil represented the majority of album representation. “More than a Man,” “Calling on You,” “Free,” “Sing – Along Song” and the title track transported everyone back to 1986.

Soldiers Under Command, In God We Trust and No More Hell to Pay and G*d Damn Evil all saw two songs each.

The Stryper lineup through the years has been consistent. Three members from the 1984 debut remain, Sweet, his brother / drummer Robert Sweet and guitarist Oz Fox. Perry Richardson (Firehouse) joined the Stryper ranks in 2017.

Stryper bassist Perry Richardson gets intense during “Transgressor”. Photo by Brian McLean

The consistency of the Stryper roster is evident and it obviously shows. When the band rolls through town, there’s no guessing, the approval rating will be ten plus. 

For the parent or older sibling who wants to take the younger kiddo to a rock concert, Stryper is it. There’s no negativity or bad influences present. A Stryper show is the perfect rock concert cherry buster for the youngster. They will sincerely want to be there and it will be a big deal to them. With that said, any of the Stryper tour dates in May will be a great first or starting point.

Stage lights are visible and in focus through the lenses of prescription glasses. Photo by Brian McLean