Michael Sweet Performs at the Firehouse BBQ and Blues
It’s not often you get to see a talent like Michael Sweet go out on a solo acoustic tour. Sweet and his band Stryper, brought positivity into the early eighties metal scene while not being ashamed of their Christian ethics, paving the way for future Christian rock/metal acts such as Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch. Recently, Michael and his bandmates celebrated the 30th anniversary of their breakthrough album, To Hell With The Devil, and he has been back in the studio with guitar God George Lynch (you know, from Dokken and Lynch Mob) wrapping up a follow up to one of the best collaboration albums ever, Only To Rise by Sweet & Lynch.
As Michael took to the stage, he took the time to tell of the formation and early days of Stryper. He then got the loop pedal going and launched into a Stryper three-part of “You Know What To Do”, “Reach Out” and the massive hit “Honestly”. He then told of how he did miss the hair metal days, days when all the guys looked like girls, especially when he looked out across a crowd from the stage. As a testament to his hair metal history, he nailed a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” before belting out another Stryper tune, “All For One”, Michael told of leaving Stryper, and music for that matter, in the nineties to go to work for the family cranberry farm. Aside from Stryper, Michael has enjoyed a successful solo career and he then played the solo album songs “Someday”, “Real” and “Save Me”. Michael has some of the best vocal ranges of any male singer, but this night he was sticking to his lower registers, something more fitting with the acoustic format of the show.
Here is a tidbit for you, one that I was not aware of, upon returning to music, Michael became a member of the band Boston. In honor of that he began playing the opening to “Amanda” and asked if there were any Amanda’s in the audience. As there were none, he asked a gentleman in the front his name. Howard was the reply and Michael fit that in briefly in place of Amanda. Another Boston classic, “Piece Of Mind” rounded out his tribute to his time in Boston. Back to solo material, he gave a heartfelt rendition of “I’m Not Your Suicide”. Sadly, the only song from Only To Rise was “Dying Rose”. The plus to this was Michael let everyone know that the new Sweet & Lynch album, Unified, would be out November 10.
“Only You” from the solo albums and “Calling On You” from Stryper followed and Michael then let everyone know that Stryper would be going back into the studio this fall. To finish up, Michael started “To Hell With The Devil”, only to stop into the first verse asking if he had messed it up and asked the crowd to verify the lyrics for him. Whether brilliantly staged for audience participation, or a genuinely humble request for help on his part, this stripped down version of Michael Sweet may be the best I have seen from him.