Stryper “7 Weeks: Live In America, 2003” Fifty Three Five Records 2004 Reviewed by: Ken Pierce
1. Sing Along Song 2. Makes Me Wanna Sing 3. Calling On You 4. Free 5. More Than A Man 6. Caught In The Middle 7. Reach Out 8. Loud N Clear 9. The Way 10. Soldiers Under Command 11. To Hell With The Devil 12. Honestly 13. Winter Wonderland 14. Closing Prayer
Late last year Christian Rockers Stryper reunited for a small tour of the States. It was the first time in twelve years as a band that they had done this. I was able to catch one of these shows when they hit New York City. As a matter of fact, there is a review of this show elsewhere on the Metal Circus site (check Conciertos). This CD entitled “7 Weeks: Live in America 2003” is a souvenir to the fans of Stryper music to mark this tour happening. I enjoyed seeing the band reunite because of their positive message in a time where the world is full of so much less than that. So as a result, I also enjoyed the aspect of having the performances represented on a CD to keep in my music collection.
The CD begins with the “Sing A Long Song” and everyones voice comes through nice and clear. The production is fine on this disk. I found the drums a little overpowering sometimes on the CD, but as a drummer this did not bother me all that much. The guitar work of Oz Fox is not lost amidst any of the songs, and pretty much every level is on an equal. No overproduction on the vocals as was sometimes seen on the studio releases, and not as much effects on them either which I enjoyed. Better t hear the band sing normally and in great harmony without the aid of too much processing. Some of my favorites on the CD are “More Than A Man”, “Soldiers Under Command” and “Calling On You”. OK, I also enjoyed “Honestly”. The CD runs about 63 minutes which is not bad, but could have thrown a bonus track in there. At least a different tune that might have been done on another set of nights.
I did have a gripe about the book being so minimal. I would have liked it to include a lot of the pictures taken across the duration of the tour. Inside it opens to a two-page foldout which is in black and white. I felt it would have been nice to have a lot more of these pictures in color, with more than the two sentence liner notes about the tour. They do include the complete venue list so fans can see where they played. I attended the 3rd performance on the tour. I found the sound on the CD to be a little tighter bandwise since it was recorded a lot later on. At the third show there were of course light tweaks being worked out after so long an absence from live performance. I think it would have been smart to include a DVD of the live stuff from various locations if it was available, because these days so many bands are trying to include stuff like this to add to the value of the customer dollar.
Casual fans of the band can enjoy this release since there is no live Stryper album before this one. However, this is more for the fans who must have everything that is released. If this is a first time to try them, great go for it. Yet you might wanna grab the recently released “7: The Best Of Stryper” before you get anything else. The metal music arena and the world itself is a far different place since Stryper first came around. Perhaps it is good for their message of hope and love to have returned at this time.
--Ken Pierce 06.22.04
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