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Live Review: Stryper – Brisbane 2023


This review will be a little different for me as I want you to understand the history and my love of the band that I grew up with. The experiences that led me to last night where I witnessed a band that had a very positive and life-changing impact on me.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. The year 1987 I was 15, my first trip solo to see a rock band! From a country kid from Tassie this was big deal! I met my cousin Sandro (parents gave Sandro strict instructions to look after me!!) who escorted me to Flinders St station where Stryper were doing an instore and signing for Metal for Melbourne.

The scenes were chaotic for a band who were a hot topic at the time, you almost had to cordon off the street due to the hysteria and the event was called off due to the MFM windows shattering. I thought to myself this is what it was all about I was blown away yet somewhat disappointed not to meet my idols but managed to add a “Reason for the Season” picture disc to my collection!

The show at Festival Hall on 20th June 1987, 5 days after my birthday was truly incredible. I ditched the chaperone and started headbanging with some random (come to think of it I’m sure he was next to me last night as well?) and felt truly caught up in the moment. I missed that bible but hey what a time and what a memory.

I keep thinking to myself that a band that has been so dedicated to the message and what they stand for even in the face of diversity is truly remarkable. I remember my “To Hell with the Devil” backpatch on my faded denim jacket that I wore proudly. The message was never for me but the image, the “Stryper” sound, the magical drums, the powerful vocals, and the fact the band were so humble and real really resonated with me.

Fast forward 2nd March 2023, Last night I had the pleasure of working with Andrew and the Hear2Zen team to relive that moment that I seemed to be longing for after a 36 year wait.

Our evening started with a series of random events where we were trying to find a park we ended up looking at two churches and went down a street called “Merton Rd” I think someone was trying to tell me something? As well as the random photo of Jesus that appeared as a Facebook memory?!?!?! “Jesus!” literally….

The venue looked amazing and the refurbishment of the Princess Theatre incredible. Walking in to a red lit “Stryper” logo and massive array of armory on stage I knew right then we were going to be in for a treat. We met with the local legends Dane and Otto, legends! We chatted about metal and gigs and how old we all are and shared our love of music. Always a pleasure catching these lads!

Robert Sweet graced the stage, gave the Brisbane crowd a bow, tickled the cymbals and assumed the position as the “Visual timekeeper” joined by Oz Fox, Perry Richardson and the incredible Mr. Michael Sweet. I must admit I was kind of curious what the opening track would be expecting “Transgressor” but pleasantly surprised with “In God We Trust”.

From the opening track you could feel the vibe that was going to be played out for the evening. The Band we flawless in every way and portrayed that sense of humility and respect that was reciprocated as well as received.
If you have watched the Hear2zen podcast, please do it. Michael explains the difficulty of creating a setlist that spans over a 40-year career and a multitude of albums and songs. But I really believe that the set last night was on the money and arranged in a way that flowed beautifully.

Like the old cliché like a fine wine Stryper just seem to get better with age. Michael joked with the crowd for those who have not seen a Stryper concert why did you wait until we are so old! Mentioning that he is saving money on makeup these days and spandex should not be worn! A true showman taking the time to chat with the audience and really showing what a truly remarkable human, he is with such integrity and respect for everyone present.

Smashing out classics “Always there for You”, “Free”, “Calling on You” and “To Hell with the Devil” my night would have been complete the songs that bought back those memories were played with a tactical precision and craftsmanship that was second to none.

The relationship the band has with each other on stage is obvious with an outstanding display of dueling axes from Mike and Oz which were an absolute pleasure to witness as this really has to be seen to be believed. The class of Oz was impeccable and flawless in every way. A credit to his spirit and courage after a hard few years of treatment.

It was great to see you Oz and a pleasure having you back 100% and in fine form.

You cannot discuss class without mentioning the visual Timekeeper Robert Sweet who along with his partner in crime Perry Richardson held such a powerful backline and rhythm section that to be honest almost destroyed the beautiful renovations of the Princess Theatre. Rob is outstanding in every respect, creating such a visual display that is unique, his energy is infectious.

Highlighting the rhythm machine on “Sorry”, “The Valley” and “Divider”

Perry held the bottom end perfectly and so effortlessly, providing such a powerful sound and backing vocal range that matched Michael and Oz perfectly. No longer the new kid on the block Perry has truly concreted his role in the band with a clear influence on writing and direction yet showing respect to those songs that remain etched in Stryper history.

The song seemed to keep coming with a mix of old and new “I Believe in you”, “Yahweh”, “Soldiers Under Command”, and a simply flawless display encore of “Sing-along song” that bought such a wonderful night to a close.

Thank you Stryper for coming back regularly to Australia. Thank you for being so humble and respectful to your fans. You were amazing! I truly hope that you enjoy the rest of the tour. I can only suggest that everyone who is remotely interested and has never seen this band live, seriously you need to buy a ticket and you will witness an outstanding display of musicianship and a night of pure entertainment.

Thank you to all those behind the scenes making these events happen. As always support the band, buy the music and see the shows!


Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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