The Granada Theater is such a historical venue. It was built-in 1946 and has undergone many infrastructural changes throughout the decades. The exterior of the building is pretty much the same as it has been throughout its history. It has basically been gutted of seats and has become a concert hall for the masses.
Enter the most known Christian rock band in history…..STRYPER!
The band consists of Michael Sweet on vocals/guitar, Robert Sweet on drums, Tim Gaines on bass/background vocals and Oz Fox on guitar/background vocals. Since their inception in the 80’s there have been only a few changes within their infrastructure over the years. Tim left prior to recording To Hell With The Devil and returned shortly after to the joy of the fans. Right after the Against The Law album in 1992 Michael decided to leave the band. I will not go into details here but you can read it in his book Honestly by picking up a copy on Amazon.com.
Reuniting for a 25th Anniversary tour in 2003 they realized that the anointing of the Lord was still there and that they were not finished with what the Lord had called them to. And since then, except a brief stint Michael had with the band Boston, have been rocking for Jesus with a renewed focus! And to me better lyrical content especially their newest album No More Hell to Pay..
This concert will be my thirteenth time to see Stryper live. My first show was in 1985 in Dallas at the Bronco Bowl. I caught my first Stryper Bible at that show and then gave it to someone who said he did not have a Bible of his own. Caught my first guitar pick from Michael there too. It was their first tour outside of California and man was it awesome. They were one of the, if not the tightest bands I have ever seen. But what got me hooked was not the music. I know, that is a scary thought for many. It was the after show event that stuck with me and said there is something special about these guys. It was their passion for the lost..the unsaved person..the one that does not know Jesus Christ as Lord of their life much less as their savior.
Now granted as their success grew those moments diminished. Not from a lack of caring but they just had too many fans. I mean come on they began selling out show after show and selling millions of tapes, eight-tracks (yes, I said eight-track), Cd’s and albums.
I remember the guys hanging out after the show sharing Jesus with any fan who wanted to hear about Him. I saw Michael and Robert both pray with several teenage boys that night. I remember seeing tears stream down their faces as I looked on in utter disbelief because this just didn’t happen ever day. I mean a “celebrity” caring about their fans to the point of sharing the gospel of Christ with them. THAT is what got me hooked! But what got me hooked does not take away anything from their musicianship. They are awesome. Their harmonies, in my opinion, can only be matched by Queen. The dual guitar attack of Michael and Oz is a work of art I tell you. Those two were and are created by God to be in ministry together. Robert has become known as the visual timekeeper. And it is true! And Tim is an amazing bassist.
You bring all that to today’s time and in such a historical venue and it is magical to say the least! This show rocked from the opening song God to the closing encore with To Hell With The Devil. Dare I say they have gotten better with age? I tried hard to remember my favorite part of the show but really could not pick a favorite as the whole show was awesome. I don’t know maybe hanging out before the show and checking out everyone Stryper shirts..that was cool. There were a lot I had not seen in years. The ONLY let down for me was they did not play enough songs off No More Hell To Pay, but I did get to see them play All For One, Caught In The Middle and God live for the first time. Here is their set list from the show:
- Loud ‘N’ Clear
- Reach Out
- Calling On You
- More Than A Man
- No More Hell To Pay
- Marching Into Battle
- Carry On Wayward Son
- Shout It
- In God We Trust
- Always There For You
- All For One
- Caught In The Middle
- The Way
- Soldiers Under Command
- Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love
- Sing Along Song
- To Hell With The Devil
- Prayer by Michael to end the show.
Now, it is rumored that they will not tour next year. And I believe, in my most humble opinion, that this will be a mistake for the band. They are on a new high. One not matched since the 80’s. After seeing them in Dallas at the Granada I know the Lord is not finished with the band by any stretch of the imagination. His hand is still upon them. His message still needs to be proclaimed via Stryper. But I know that God’s will will be done in this, as it always is!
Here are a few photos from the show taken by myself, Dave Bannister and Tom Hanson.
Michael though widely known as the vocalist for the band is an amazing guitar player in his own right.