Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, October 5, 2005

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman


Although many thought it has been years since Stryper made a pit stop in Columbus, OH to play a gig, it has actually been only about a year since the band played the Al Rosa Villa. But the major difference this time around is Stryper is promoting a new studio release, the first on over a decade. Although 2003 and 2004 saw the release of two Stryper records, a greatest hits and live record respectively, 2005 is the year of the rebirth of the band as studio performers.


Aptly titled Reborn, Stryper brought their religious rock to the Newport Music Hall complete with trademark yellow and black stage gear. Although the band isn't clad as a spandex version of a bumblebee as they were when gold records were normal for the band, Stryper took the stage with more presence today than perhaps in their heydays. Starting with hand-held emergency lights, the band took the stage by parading from the back of the venue, making their way through the small crowd while their make-shift light show gave the stage the look of a police scene under the investigative eye of a few helicopters.


The set, which lasted just under two hours, began with much of the bands new material, and it wasn't until the crowd was settled in and the band comfortable on stage did the hits of the 1980s break their way through the PA system.


What Stryper did was a testament to themselves as people. Although it may have been easier to dig the old uniforms out of the closet and try to relive their glory days, Stryper, led by brothers Michael and Robert Sweet, grew up, became more mature, and are trying to sell itself as is are today. Too often, band return from the grave and tour to make money first, and in doing so, lose the creativeness that made the band so popular in the first place. For Stryper, 2005 is the beginning of a new generation for the band, and whether people come to the show and join in the army yet again remains to be seen. As the title of the record suggests, Stryper has been Reborn with this record, and are going through the growing pains just like any new band; or just like they did when The Yellow and Black attack was released back in 1984. It proved it by leading the show off with new material and almost forcing the fans of the past to become fans of the new, versus staying stuck in the 1980s. For that alone, Stryper should be commended, and as a live act, Stryper is sill on target with very solid grooves over beautiful signature-Sweet harmonies.

Michael Sweet
Michael Sweet
Oz Fox
Tim Gaines
Michael Sweet
Robert Sweet