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Reviewed by David
Gullbrannafestivalen, Halmstad, Sweden
Venue: Skeppet
Date: 08 July 2006
Stryper setlength: 60 minutes



Last time Stryper was in Sweden in 1992 and 1993, singer Michael Sweet had already left the band and guitarist Oz Fox handled the singing. I didn't see them then, which made this the first time. I'm glad that I saved myself for the real thing. Actually I did not have that high expectations - another comeback band living on their reputation from the 80s. The new record is not as bad as some say, but it's nowhere near the classics of course. But Stryper is doubtless the most famous and legendary band in christian hard rock, so this time I would not miss the opportunity to see them.

After about half an hour's delay it started okay. The band marched in to Battle Hymn Of The Republic and opened with Sing-Along Song. Maybe a bit too soft and slow song to get the crowd started, but it seemed like the pure look of the band made everyone going. Even if not as extreme looking as in the 80s, the band made a quite nice impression with their (of course) yellow and black outfits and instruments. Drummer Robert Sweet as usual sitting with his right side against the audience. They continued with a few songs that most of us recognised, but of the kind that falls just under the line to be called classics. When the riff to Free sounded out the whole thing was taken to a new level. Then Loud 'n' Clear, from the debut album The Yellow And Black Attack became the peak of the whole evening. They even managed to sneak in the new song Open Your Eyes, so nicely that no-one even got the idea to protest.

Then it was time for the legendary moment that should be a part of every Stryper gig, when Robert Sweet handed out bibles to the audience. A couple of more tracks from the band's finest hour, To Hell With The Devil, followed and secured the high temperature that was achieved in Skeppet. But when the band left the stage after More Than A Man, I though it was a joke. When they returned, I was sure that they would play at least three-four more songs. We hadn't heard Honestly or anything at all from In God We Trust or Against The Law yet. But we got (an excellent version with the crowd singing along) Soldiers Under Command, and that was it. "Unfortunately we have a plane to catch", Michael Sweet excused, and after a short prayer the band rushed away after less than an hour.

What seemed to become one of the best concert I have ever seen, somewhere in the middle (or rather what was going to be the end…) of the set, ended quite abrupt. I would say that I prefer a compressed one-hour show before one where the band does a lot of solos and talking between the action. But this time I was expecting more since Stryper was the headline of the whole festival and many of us had travelled a long way only for them. Anyway, I went from "I must see this band once since I listened to them in the 80s" to a fan that want to see them soon again. Musically it was as tight as ever and the band really kept the steam up on stage, making the audience come along. Michael Sweet's voice is still unique and strong. A couple of more songs played and it would have been close to full point.

8 chalices of 10


Intro (Battle Hymn Of The Republic)
Sing-Along Song
Rock That Makes Me Roll
Reach Out
Calling On You
Loud 'n' Clear
Open Your Eyes
The Way
To Hell With The Devil
More Than A Man
Soldiers Under Command

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