November 18, 2023
Abbeville Opera House
Review by Joseph Hett
Michael Sweet (Stryper) Is Solo And Acoustic In Abbeville
Michael Sweet’s solo acoustic tour stopped in Abbeville, SC at the Abbeville Opera House on Saturday evening. Autumn was in full bloom as patrons made their way to the historic Abbeville Court Square for the show.
Sweet walked out onto the opera house stage and exclaimed, “My hands are freezing, man. Trying to get them to warm up a little bit.” After an extended instrumental jam to warm up, he launched into Stryper’s “All for One.” A humorous moment happened when he allowed the crowd to sing the chorus but they were slow to respond. He quipped, “I knew that was coming.”
Sweet noted, “Oddly enough, believe it or not, a lot of these songs were written on acoustic guitars. So in their original form and state they sounded kind of like these versions. So it’s really interesting. And then Stryper, of course, heavied them up.” Sweet stated that Perry Richardson, the bass player for Stryper, was in attendance. Sweet mentioned that Richardson drove four and a half hours to get to Abbeville.
Sweet continued with “You Know What to Do” and “This I Pray.”
After playing a few chords for “Always There for You,” Sweet abruptly stopped and kidded, “I just realized that I’m chewing gum. Let me get rid of that. Hold on,” before continuing.
Sweet had the crowd sing along to “Calling on You” with the “calling…on you” chorus.
Before “Lady,” Sweet asked, “Who lives here in town, in Abbeville?” It appeared that only three people affirmed. After asking a series of questions about the town, Sweet was disappointed to hear that there wasn’t a music store around.
Since it was approaching the holiday season, Sweet featured Stryper’s Christmas themed “Reason for the Season.” Later in the set, Sweet also performed “The Little Drummer Boy.”
“Honestly” started with Spanish sounding intricate guitar picking. The emotional “I’m Not Your Suicide” was up next.
Sweet revealed how he was asked to join the band Boston to replace the late Brad Delp. Sweet honored his tenure in Boston by performing “Amanda” and “Peace of Mind.”
The foreboding riff of “Save Me” got many headbanging. Before “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Sweet noted that this was “The greatest song about prayer ever written.”
Sweet closed the show with a pair of Stryper classics: “Soldiers Under Command” and “To Hell With the Devil.”
It was a fun 90-minute show. The solo and acoustic storyteller approach really kept the crowd in the intimate venue satisfied. In October, Sweet revealed that doctors determined his left thyroid was 95% suspicious of cancer. And in December, he was going to have the whole left side of his thyroid removed. Hopefully everything works out and Sweet will be back stronger than ever in 2024 for Stryper and his solo projects.