Narrows Center for the Arts
Fall River, Massachusetts
June 2, 2017
To hell with the devil. It was a Friday night and we were going to the Narrows Center in Fall River, Massachusetts to catch a solo, acoustic performance by the front man of Stryper. Michael Sweet was on the bill that night for an intimate acoustic performance in front of a room full of rock n roll, Stryper and Sweet faithfuls. The night kicked of with Massachusetts based band MASS.
The Narrows is a great place to see a show. Set on the third floor an old turn of the century, industrial revolution factory building. The building had been renovated and turned into a beautiful art gallery by day and performance center by night. It is lined with old church pews and sprawled seating through the decent sized room. Its also BYOB. It’s like having a small party with your friends and favorite rock stars for close intimate performances. As of the time of this show, it had just been announced that the Narrows Center would be purchasing the building, which would expand seating capacity, bringing in more rock shows of larger variety and performance size, sponsored by Limelight Magazine and JKB Entertainment Group.
Louis St. August (vocals) and Gene D’Itria (guitar) of Mass took the stage. Played their songs that have spanned more than three decades. Both interacted with the crowd in a lightheaded fashion, even joking about how long it took them to get to the show with the terrible Massachusetts rush hour traffic. Mass has a very faithful local following. They were low key and comedic. But serious with the music. In addition to their songs they did a bang up job acoustic version of Led Zepplin’s Kashmir that brought on the howls of the crowd. Louis and Gene told the stories behind their songs, including the time they played with Stryper and Hurricane for several shows out west back in the late 80’s. MASS finished off their set with “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who.
Massachusetts resident and Stryper founding member, vocalist and guitarist took the small stage and belted out a number of Stryper hits in a chronological fashion. In addition to several from his solo collection. Michael Sweet is not only the voice of Stryper, he is a solo artist and has been involved with other projects with a George Lynch (Sweet & Lynch) and had played a brief stint with Boston.
Obviously Michael is not a man who can sit still musically. At any of his live performances he displays his passion for playing and making new music. It was a night comparable to MTV Unplugged. That night’s show was being filmed for a DVD release of this show. Based on the performance that night, the upcoming DVD is something to keep an eye out for, as it will be an amazing piece for Michael Sweet’s and Stryper fans.
Naturally you might expect that Michael would sound great live. Here’s the thing. It was better than that. You know that feeling when you hear a someone sing a song and you get “that feeling”, energized, the chills, or whatever you want to call it. That it what happened that evening. As soon as Michael sang his first few lyrics it was very powerful. You could feel the electricity grow in the room and the excitement in the crowd when Michael started off with his first vocal notes. Fans could be heard awing at how great he sounded in the room that night.
Michael Sweet has a tremendous fan following. Just check out his Social Media pages and you will see his fan base is worldwide. A fan even came all the way from Madison, Wisconsin, along with his daughter dressed up in yellow and black with Stryper hat. Michael even brought them up to the stage, although this young fan was shy, she seemed enthusiastic and to be happy to be at this show.
The music chronology was underway. First up was a brief chat and introduction with the audience. Starting the night off from the 1984 Yellow and Black Attack EP, “You Know What To Do” and “Reach Out” from the 1985 Soldiers Under Command album. In between songs, Michael told a backstory to each song and time in his career. You’ll just have to get the DVD to hear all the great stories Michael shared that night.
Next up we moved to 1986 with “Honestly” from To Hell With The Devil. Then “Always There For You” from In God We Trust from 1988. Moving up a couple years to 1990 with “All For One” from the Against The Law album. Michael talked about how he left Stryper in 1992 and wrote “Someday” from a 1994 solo album, which he played. Followed up with 1995 song “Real”. Other songs of the night included “Save Me”, “I’m Not Your Suicide”, “Dying Rose” (Sweet & Lynch), “Only You”.
Michael spoke of the time he was in the band Boston for a brief time. He said that the Boston album had inspired him with Brad Delp as one of his favorite singers. Michael performed in 2007 with Boston in Boston, they asked them to tour with the band in 2008 on a Styx and Boston Tour. Unfortunately there was no Boston cover on the set list that night.
The night finished off with Stryper songs, “Calling On You” and “To Hell With The Devil” and then solo song “I Believe In You”. The crowd was thoroughly entertained that night. And to top it off Michael made himself available for meet and greet after the show for those who purchased an item at the merch booth.
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc at dmwpictures.com
For more info on Michael Sweet and upcoming tours and music check out: