Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Yellow and Black Attack Return to Seattle - STRYPER Event Review! 11/6/18


El Corazon
Seattle, WA


It's been a minute since I covered a rock/hard rock/metal show for Eclectic Arts. When I saw that Stryper were returning to Seattle I knew this was one show to put on the calendar for sure.

Having grown up listening to and learning Stryper songs in the 80's, I had missed the band each time they played El Corazon (which was either two or three other times over the last decade or so) for one reason or another. I have great memories of both the "Soliders Under Command" and the "To Hell With The Devil" shows I saw at the Paramount Theatre back in the 80's so I was definitely looking forward to this show on Tuesday evening!

The intro to "Yahweh" came on over the PA as Robert entered the stage followed by Oz, Michael, and Perry. Due to some monitor issues, they restarted the intro before launching into the song. The packed crowd at El Corazon went nuts (which these days means hands went up in the air with smart phones) as the band tore through the tune and went right into, "The Valley".

With the inbetween song banter from Michael, the classic songs from "To Hell With The Devil" came next. "Calling On You", "Free", and "More Than A Man". The band sounded tight as expected. The tunings have been dropped which is also to be expected after playing for over thirty years. Michael was under the weather but he gave it his all. I honestly didn't know he was until after the show was over via his Tweet.

There was a nice mix of newer material like, "Revelation", "Sorry", and the title track off their newest album, "God Damn Evil". The newer material sounds good - something that is somewhat of a rarity with bands that have been around as long as Stryper. Many times the new material doesn't quite resonate with me. Stryper are the exception to that along with a few other bands of the era.

I liked that they aired, "All For One" from "Against The Law". I know they've played "Lady" on parts of the tour as well but not in Seattle.

The one two punch of, "In God We Trust" and "Always There For You" sounded good. I wasn't too much of a fan of that album when it came out in the 80's but they worked for me all these years later.

For me - the tunes from "Soliders Under Command" were some of the best - "Surrender" with Oz handling a verse and "Soldiers Under Command" sounded amazing.

The obligatory hit, "Honestly" was played as well. Their biggest hit in the MTV era of the 80's, I honestly could of done without it. I like the song but I'd rather hear it in another way - perhaps acoustically or some other arrangement. But I'm only nit picking.

"The Way" and "Sing Along Song" ended the main set.

With much cheering from the El Corazon audience, the band returned to end the night with, "To Hell With The Devil". Recently they've played "Take It To The Cross" from the new album but that tune wasn't aired in Seattle.

The lights went up and the lengthy show was over. All in all they played a great mix of songs in the set last night. You'll never please everyone with the song selection. I would have liked another tune from "Soldiers Under Command" in place of the set heavy songs from "To Hell With The Devil". I definitely would of liked to have heard one song from "The Yellow and Black Attack" as well, but, again, I'm only nitpicking here. I enjoyed the set.

I liked Michael's sense of humor inbetween songs as well as his genuine positive comments to the audience. The band after some recent bumps in the road seem to be back on track and that was a great thing to see.

I love the fact that Robert is back to playing a large kit and is facing stage right again just like in the old days. His constant headbanging while playing was definitely a throwback to the classic era of the band.

Perry never missed a beat with his 5-string bass holding down the bottom end all night. Oz looked and sounded great. As all fans were concerned for his well-being, he's taking it a day at a time and not overdoing it. But, if you didn't know about his health concerns, you never would of known based on how he performed last night. One constructive suggestion would be for Perry and Oz to switch sides every now and then during a song. They're wireless so it would be easy to walk over to opposite sides of the stage and play to other parts of the room.

Michael hit the notes when he needed to and played guitar as well as always. That unique Stryper tone was evident as soon as they started, "Yahweh". He and I discussed that in our phone interview (see link below). Several people around me were saying, "whoa" many times when he hit a high note in a song. Again, he wasn't feeling well last night so that's a testament to his professionalism and performance.

I don't think anyone left El Corazon disappointed Tuesday night. I know I didn't. I'm hoping the band make it back to Seattle in the next few years, hopefully booked at a club with a bigger stage to accommodate all their gear with room to spare.

Thanks for coming back to Seattle. Portland - you're up next. Are there any "Soldiers Under Command" in PDX?

All the best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Special Thanks: Brian for the credentials and Ellena for the constant communication setting things up - thank you very much for the opportunity! I sincerely appreciate it!

(Audio Interview w/Michael Sweet - 10/31/18)

After Show:

(Photo Courtesy:  Neil Lim Sang)

(Phone Photo)

(Phone Photo)

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