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Stryper Strips It Down Just a Bit at Tour Finale in Franklin

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Stryper performed at the Factory at Franklin on June 23, 2024 to an enthusiastic floor full of fans. The gig in Tennessee was the last night of their limited spring tour entitled "To Hell with the Amps" that showcased Stryper presenting the entirety of their first-ever acoustic album of the same name.

Stryper's Michael Sweet and Robert Sweet in Franklin, Tennessee.

To Hell With The Amps - out now on the Stryper Recording label distributed worldwide by Flatiron Recordings - becomes the first Stryper album to be available in Dolby Atmos. The 11-track offering serves up stripped-down takes of Stryper's classic songs such as the enduring "Loud 'n' Clear" and "Soldiers Under Command" to the power ballad "Honestly" along with a version of the famous hymn "Amazing Grace" in multiple formats including Blu-ray, CD, digital, DVD, cassette and vinyl.

Stryper came into prominence in the 1980's when glam metal was in vogue. Their visual performances paired with dueling guitars and Michael Sweet's multi-octave range appealed to the times. However, unlike their other big-hair contemporaries they were singing about God. Even the name of the band and their distinctive black and yellow color scheme was based on the Bible's Isaiah 53:5 that relates to the suffering savior and the stripes that Jesus endured before the crucifixion.

In Tennessee, pounding drums by Robert Sweet opened the animated "All For One". Although this show was billed as "acoustic" it still had power. Lead singer Michael Sweet acknowledged the use of amps however the stage production and presentation of the material was stripped-down.

To Hell With The Amps was released in multiple formats on June 7, 2024.

The set spanned much of their output with fan favorites such as "You Know What to Do" and the commanding "Soldiers Under Command". Mr. Sweet declared that quite a few of these songs are not meant to be played acoustically but they are going to do them anyway with hits such as "Loud 'n' Clear" working well in the format especially when Michael added sizzling guitar solos to the mix.

Sweet chatted often between tunes - stating that he was glad that there were some women up front as it can be awkward singing "Lady" to men. Speaking of ladies, Sweet gave a shout out to his wife and daughter along with their whole crew who were supporting the "To Hell with the Amps" tour.

After the ballad they moved into the catchy "Calling on You" and their moving take on "Amazing Grace" countered by the snappy "Always There for You". "This I Pray" from a few albums back was paired with a lively cover of "Livin' on a Prayer" (Bon Jovi) and they concluded the concert by declaring "To Hell With the Devil" to end the acoustic tour with a potent point.

Opening for Stryper was Karissa Ella who has been recognized by CMT, Taste of Country, Sounds Like Nashville and other media outlets. Inspired by the likes of Shania Twain, Gretchen Wilson, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, Ella's muse echoes of those that came before her.

Karissa Ella proved she has the right stuff to be the next Grand Ole Opry star.

Ella presented a mostly up-tempo set of originals with a number of them referencing drinking but our favorites was a visual piece about her hometown back in Ohio. Karissa paid tribute to two powerful females with covers of "Chain of Fools" (Aretha) and "Jolene" (Dolly). Overall, Karissa seemed to be well received by the crowd who were waiting patiently for the yellow and black attack to take the stage.

If you missed acoustic Stryper, have no fear! The band will be back later this year with an exciting 40th anniversary tour that will cover their whole career. These shows will feature vibrant production with variations in wardrobe plus VIP experiences. Please visit Stryper's website for more details.

Michael Sweet did tell the Franklin audience that they are trying to bring this celebration to Music City if they can find the right venue. How about the Fisher Center or the Brooklyn Bowl? It seems to us that either one of those would fit the bill to entice the enthusiastic Stryper Army to march on back to region.

The Factory is still growing - now producing exciting entertainment and dining options for Franklin residents.

Related Links: For more information on STRYPER and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Stryper | Karissa Ella | Factory At Franklin


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