Michael Sweet dominates solo show in Pittsburgh

Stryper frontman Michael Sweet is quickly becoming one of the hardest working artists in music today. Since 2013, Sweet has been extremely busy, having released both Second Coming and No More Hell to Pay in 2013, followed by Live at The Whiskey, his solo album I’m Not Your Suicide and a massive Stryper tour in 2014. Sweet is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon either. In 2015 he has already released an album with George Lynch called Only to Rise and the new Stryper album Fallen is not far behind. He has even found time to squeeze in a handful of acoustic solo shows. The lucky fans in Pittsburgh were fortunate enough to be one of the cities on that short list and were treated to a spectacular, intimate, stripped down, no fuss no muss, just a man and his guitar acoustic set at the Hard Rock Café on Pittsburgh’s historic waterfront. Local Pittsburgh artists Joe Newtz and My Cousin Vinny got the ball rolling that night with a couple of acoustic sets that were pretty impressive in their own right. The local crowd responded extremely well to both, thus getting things off to a really great start. Much like the performance itself, Sweet didn’t take the stage to any intro music or fancy lightshow. He simply walked up on stage with his guitar, sat on a stool and started to play, opening with an acoustic version of his new Sweet & Lynch song “Dying Rose.” From there, Sweet delighted the crowd with acoustic renditions of Stryper classics like “All For One,” “Calling On You,” “Honestly,” “Always There For You” and “Waiting For A Love That’s Real,” mixed in with solo cuts like “All I’m Thinking Of (Is You),” “I’m Not Your Suicide” and “Forever Yours,” as well as a cover of the Boston hit “Amanda,” stopping in between each song to tell stories and engage the audience members. Sweet’s stories frequently got big laughs, but it was when he started taking open requests from the audience that really heated things up. He tried to accommodate as many requests as he could, but it was requests for “Freebird” and “Stairway to Heaven” that made him chuckle out loud, saying after the latter “Dude, I haven’t played that since I was 12.” Sweet played snippets of Stryper songs like “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” and “To Hell With the Devil,” alongside snippets of “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and “Ice Cream Man” by Van Halen, just to name a few. He also played fully reimagined versions of “Lady,” “Livin’ on A Prayer” by Bon Jovi and “Peace of Mind” by Boston, before closing the show with a version of “Soldiers Under Command” that brought the house down. At it’s conclusion, Sweet invited everyone to meet him in the other room for a free meet and greet, where they could have things signed, have pictures taken and get a little personal one on one time with him. As you can well imagine, nearly all who attended took him up on this offer and everyone that did, left with smiles on their faces that stretched from ear to ear. -Eric Hunker [lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Michael Sweet solo in Pittsburgh/\”]