Monday, September 22, 2014

STRYPER: "Live At The Whisky" (DVD/CD)

Rating: Live
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The yellow and black attack is back. Stryper - rocking since 1984 and still a force to be reckon with. Performing at their home turf, the famous 'Whisky A Go Go' on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The same place and dressing room where they first met Kevin Dubrow (Quiet Riot) as he kicked the door open and told them to stop using so much hair-spray. Poor Kev must have been jealous of all that hair (R.I.P.). I guess they were using too much hair-spray anyhow.

Recorded live in October 2013 during the "No More Hell To Pay" tour and album, which featured all the original band members for the first time since Against The Law. Indeed. Watch all the serious riffing courtesy of Oz Fox, the thumping bass of Tim Gaines, and the visual timekeeping of Robert Sweet (drums). The latter, no longer sideways as he's facing the audience like the rest of them. The trademark harmonies and soaring voice of Michael Sweet, still flying across the room and set (just like an eagle) and may not have lost that much in quality and strength in the last/past 30 years. But let's face it. Some of the Alvin & the chipmunks like harmonies (Calling On You, Free, etc.) are difficult to recreate and handle live on stage. Nicely done though.

Starting up the concert with the massive-riff and head-banging of "Legacy". The yellow and black are coming across more like Barren Cross than Stryper actually. They are definitely "Marching Into Battle" with a blunt axe and a thrashing melody. "You Know What To Do" certainly gets the crowd and melodies going. I'm surprised to see exactly how much of the lead guitars are down to Michael as I always thought that Oz did most of them? The sound is "Loud N Clear" even if the drums and bass could need the extra fat and beef. The stage banter goes through the routine of 'how many of you has/hasn't seen us before live' and M.Sweet's comment and reply of 'Why, man?' 'You just figured. I'll wait 30 years and catch them when they're old'. Well. Here's your chance to catch them when they're old on DVD. They are still tossing out bibles into the audience (see Robert prance around like a tosser) and they are still providing a jolly good time. What ever happened to all the ballads of the past? Not a single one of them (Honestly, Lady, etc.) and at least one of them were one of the most requested songs on MTV when you could still give them a call/ring.

Bonus material DVD: The videos of "No More Hell To Pay" and "Sympathy". Plus the short interview (Nashville All Access) when they (Michael actually, the rest are just standing there) speak about their latest album. 'It feels like we're at our peak'. All the tears, blood, sweat, and prayers that went into the effort of recording. Their fans. 'We have some of the best, if not the best fans in the world. They're so die-hard and they've been there since day one'. I also noticed that Frontiers has managed to screw-up the track list order (simply replace 'The Rock That Makes Me Roll' from #9 to #12). It's otherwise the nice experience of the no-longer-quite-as-much yellow and black and it's 16 tracks of christian hair-metal at its peak. And remember, "when things are going wrong you know who to blame"... sigh.

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