Stryper Rocks the Hell Out of Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL

Stryper performing at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL on 07/18/2019. Photo Credit: © Ian Bardecki 2019

St. Charles, IL – For over 35 years, Stryper has been spreading their positive message about faith, devotion, family and love, all while writing catchy hook-laden songs armed with their harmonic vocals and signature sound. The band has been on the road since May of this year, for their “History Tour – Greatest Hits & Covers That Influenced Our Generation”. They have been playing select songs from their catalog, as well as covering music that the band grew up listening and were influenced by, which includes Judas Priest, KISS, Van Halen, and bassist Perry Richardson’s old band FireHouse. The show in St. Charles was the second to last on their US tour for Stryper, before making a stop in South Korea and then heading to South America for a handful of performance dates.


Michael Sweet of Stryper performing at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL on 07/18/2019. Photo Credit: © Ian Bardecki 2019

While the weather outside would have been better suited for the devil himself, inside the theatre was being kept as cool as it possibly could for a historic building that has been around since 1926. Not that easy when the enthusiastic crowd inside were on their feet clapping, fists pumping, dancing and singing along to the music, working up a sweat of their own. At least a couple of times throughout the evening, several members of the bands performing had to wipe down their instruments due to the humidity, or add talcum powder to their hands so that they could slide up and down the necks of their respective guitars with ease.

First up this evening was Autograph, led by guitarist Steve Lynch with bassist Randy Rand, drummer Marc Weiland and lead singer/guitarist Simon Daniels. Autograph has been known primarily for their 1985 chart topping hit that has been featured in the movie Hot Tub Time Machine and the Rockstar video game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, “Turn Up The Radio”, the band also performed several other songs including “Send Her To Me”, “Deep End”, and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”, as well as the title track from their most recent release, “Get Off Your Ass!”. After a short break between sets, Stryper took to the stage, greeted by their audience with a huge standing ovation. The band then started to dig into their recorded hits and cover songs, kicking off the night with “Soldiers Under Command”, their 1985 release from the album of the same name. Throughout the evening the band reminisced about the glory days of the ’80s with the big “wall of sound” music and big hair. They talked openly about the bands that influenced them when they first started out, growing up listening to the same bands as everyone else.

Oz Fox of Stryper performing at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL on 07/18/2019. Photo Credit: © Ian Bardecki 2019

Stryper certainly has had to deal with their own struggles as of late. With Tim Gaines being replaced on bass with former FireHouse bassist Perry Richardson, Michael Sweet battling a viral infection earlier in the tour, and Oz Fox who had a health scare last year, Stryper has definitely have rebounded in fine fashion. Taking to the stage fully armed with classic hits celebrating their musical history, the band mixed up their set nicely, bouncing between original hits and popular singles from throughout the years, while peppering their set with a mixture of cover songs. Only KISS’ “Shout It Out Loud” and Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell”, that appeared on the bands all covers album The Covering, were the recorded covers performed this evening. However, that didn’t prevent them from performing several other cover hits such as “Panama” from Van Halen or Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”, all of which were sung along to by the crowd. Michael Sweets voice sounded nothing short of fantastic throughout the entire evening, and it was made evident several times when he would hit those high pitches and extend their duration during several songs, most notably during the encore with their signature song, “To Hell With the Devil” that his vocal chords were definitely in fine shape. With bassist Perry Richardson striking thundering bass lines all evening long, drummer Robert Sweet kept perfect time playing in his more traditional sideways position so the audience was able to see him behind his kit. Oz Fox was also nothing short of amazing on his guitar. Trading heavy guitar licks and lead guitar solos with Michael Sweet, all the while harmonizing magnificently with his bandmates. The band themselves show no sign of slowing down any time soon, with the discussion of a new album to be released in 2020. That will most likely be followed up by another tour, assuring that Stryper should be rocking the Hell out of places for the next several years to come.

Stryper Setlist
Soldiers Under Command
Shout It Out Loud (KISS cover)
Calling On You
Heading Out to the Highway (Judas Priest cover)
Panama (Van Halen cover)
Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath cover)
More Than a Man
Crazy Train
All She Wrote
In God We Trust
Always There For You
Sing Along Song
The Abyss

The Valley
To Hell With the Devil

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Show Date: 7/18/2019

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Ian Bardecki
Born in Scotland, raised in the United States, based in Chicago. Ian Bardecki is a professional photographer, avid motorcyclist, reader, IT geek, gaming and comic book nerd, who was bathed in music at a young age by his mother who constantly played classical piano in their home. While she also introduced him to the Beatles and Elvis, his father forced on him Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, the local paper boy had him listening to Alice Cooper, his uncle then turned him onto KISS and his first 8 track tape, while his friends turned him onto punk music. Today, his music library ranges from Amadeus Mozart to ZZ Ward and everything in between. Hesitantly agreeing to fill in one night to photograph a concert at a local venue in San Francisco for a friend, was where the accidental love and passion for concert photography was born and hasn’t stopped growing since. As a freelance photographer, Ian has had the honor of working with various artists like, John 5, Sick Puppies, Scott Stapp, Drowning Pool, Anti-Flag and Art of Dying, just to name a few. Ian can be found on Instagram and Facebook under Center Stage Pictures.