On 9/30/16 at approximately 9:30pm at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida I got to see Stryper for the second time in my life. They were always one of my favorite bands growing up and have followed them through the years. I never had a chance to see them when I was younger but saw them at the Stony Pony when I lived in NJ back in the early 2000’s at the age of 26 and they were great! Since then, they kind of broke apart and Michael Sweet had a solo career for a while and collaborated with other musicians/bands. When they announced that they were doing a 30 year To Hell With The Devil tour the first thing I thought was….IT CANT BE 30 YEARS SINCE THE THWTD ALBUM CAME OUT!!!! And the second thought was I HAVE TO GET THERE!!!
Taking it back to when I was a teenager, I used to have posters of them on my wall and wore my THWTD cassette tape out to the point where it literally broke. Come to think of it, I wore In God We Trust to the point of no return also! I loved them so much that when I graduated from 8th grade I asked my music teacher to play “Honestly” as our graduation song. I had the sheet music already because I USED to be able to play the song on the piano very well at one time in my life. So I gave her the music, she learned the song on the piano, she played it at our graduation and we all sang along! I still have the video somewhere in my garage!
When I found out that they were coming to HOB Orlando, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to this concert even if I was going by myself! My friend Jim and I were texting one day and we started talking about how Stryper was coming in town and that we needed to go! We both agreed that this should definitely happen and he got tickets for us. Jim’s 12 year old son wanted to go too and Jim had told him that he had to listen to the whole To Hell With The Devil CD first before he went! Well, he did and of course LOVED Stryper and came with us. Our significant others decided to sit this one out…too bad for them cause they missed one of the best concerts I’ve seen in a while.
After the concert, I was totally beat and I knew that I had about an hour and a half long trek home. I said goodbye to Jim and his son and I left. Well, I get a text from him at 1:30am saying “I have a surprise for you but don’t be mad at me”. And I thought to myself …nahhhh..there’s no way that he met the band…ABSOLUTELY NO WAY! So I texted him back with “Did you meet them?” Then he proceeded to tell me about how he met the WHOLE band, they signed his son’s Bible that he caught when they were throwing the Bibles out into the crowd AND that he got two tickets signed! What!!!! I knew I should have stayed! Luckily, Jim is such a great friend that he asked Michael Sweet to say something to me in a video and I was over the moon! Probably the closest I’ll ever get to meeting him! Ha!
It was an awesome night of hanging out with my friend and his son, an awesome night of great rock and roll with one of my favorite bands of all time…STRYPER.