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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > Christian > Stryper – Greatest Hits: Live In Puerto Rico (Music Video Distributors)

Stryper – Greatest Hits: Live In Puerto Rico (Music Video Distributors)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Concert: C

 

 

Stryper’s “Greatest Hits: Live in Puerto Rico”, filmed on March 6, 2004, features the band’s original Eighties line-up: Michael Sweet (lead vocals guitar), his brother Robert Sweet (drums), Ox Fox (lead guitar), Tim Gaines (bass) – with the addition of Brent Jeffers (keyboards) – reunited for a concert that covers most of the group’s classic material.  The show is shot by director Jack Edward Sawyers in fairly straightforward, but competent, concert footage style, that leaves the viewer feeling like they had the best seat in the house.

 

Personally, I have never been a big fan of Stryper (or Christian Rock in general to be fair) because I feel the band combines the worst of Eighties metal clichés with unimaginative music and lyrics that amount to the type of “Jesus Saves” sloganisms that can be heard any Sunday at just about every Mega church in the United States.  However, the pumped up, enthusiastic crowd of Puerto Rican metal fans at this concert proves that my opinion is far from universal.  Plus, the millions of fans, who have Stryper’s multi-platinum records in their collections, will be happy to hear that Stryper of 2004 is still in good form and puts on a satisfying show.  In this concert Ox, Tim and Robert demonstrate they still command pro-musician quality chops and perhaps best of all for the long time Stryper fans, Michael Sweet still has the pipes that allowed him to belt out Eighties power ballads with the best of them.

 

The concert picks up steam as it goes and hits its highpoint toward the end with good versions of “Soldiers Under Command” and “To Hell with the Devil”.  The band follows this with their biggest radio hit “Honestly”, which I honestly think they could have played out longer and turned into a rousing sing-along.  Instead the band chooses to end the show with the anti-climactic and somewhat bizarre (considering the concert is in March) Christmas classic “Winter Wonderland”.  The full set list from the main program is as follows:

 

Sing Along Song

Makes Me Want To Sing

Calling On You

Free

More Than A Man

Caught In The Middle

We Won’t Be Lonely

Reach Out

Loud And Clear

The Way

Soldiers Under Command

To Hell With The Devil

Honestly

Winter Wonderland

 

 

Once you have finished the main concert if you are in the mood to see Stryper younger, skinnier, and with more hair and eyeliner, then you can turn to the bonus features, which are comprised of five outtakes from a 1989 Tokyo concert.  The added songs feature the band’s musicians doing fairy forgettable instrument solos, but the bonus footage is still a nice touch, giving the fan a “then and now” view of the band and reminding us of what heavy metal and glam looked like in the Eighties.  The songs featured in the bonus footage are as follows:

 

Robert’s Drum Solo

Keep The Fire Burning

Always There For You

Rockin’ The World

Tim And Oz’s Solo’s

 

The photography of the concert and the transfer of the print to DVD do not rival that of high-dollar productions, like say U2’s Rattle and Hum (reviewed in HD-DVD and Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), but it is adequate and the band’s fans will be happy with the view of the concert they receive.  For those of you with top-notch home theaters, while this may not be the film you grab to show off your high definition TV, the soundtrack will let you impress your friends with the quality of your speakers.  The sound is mixed well and comes in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.  The only audio options you receive from the menu however are surround or stereo.

 

In the end, while this film didn’t save my soul or really even get me rocking out – I’m sure Stryper fans will be thrilled with the opportunity to add this concert to their collection and it will surely take them back to the glory days of hair, metal and yellow and black bibles being thrown out into packed concert halls.

 

 

-   Michael DiTullio


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