May 19, 2002: At Bryant, ARReviewed by: Richard Wilson
I am a long-time Petra fan. I was first exposed to them in 1982 during their "Not Of This World" tour. Since then, I have followed them closely, purchasing all of their tapes, CDs and videos. Needless to say, when I found out they would be here again, I jumped at the opportunity to see them. I am a youth leader for my church, so along with 5 other parents, I took 11 of our youth to the concert. It was a special night.
There were about 350 folks at the show. A small number compared to some of their past shows, but the intimate setting made for an electrifying evening. It did not start off that way, however. When John and the guys took the stage and flew into "The Noise We Make", the elements started working against them. A fuse in the house speakers blew and the vocals and guitar could not be heard. The fuse was replaced and they again started up "Noise". Two songs into the set, the fuse blew again! The look on John's face was priceless. The fuse was replaced and on they went...until the fuse blew again! This time, the crew replaced the breaker. While this was going on, John introduced the band: Quinton, Greg, Bryce and of course, Louie. They started back into the set, but two songs later Louie's base pedal broke. It took a few minutes to fix, during which John told everyone about the children's foundation that they support. After the pedal was fixed, they continued and gave a tremendous show. John commented that the "beast" was trying to keep the Word away, but there was no way that was going to happen!
The set included early tunes like "Judas Kiss" and "Rose-Colored Stained Glass Windows", all the way up to the recent "Revival", which the bulk of the songs in the set came from. They played at least one song from each of their 90's releases, including a stripped-down version of "Creed" that sounded fantastic. I was surprised when they played one of my favorite tracks from the 80's: "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered". It sounded great!
Quinton is doing a great job on guitar. Staying true to the songs, but adding his own style that is a welcomed addition (Judas Kiss sounds fantastic!). Greg and Bryce are great. Ronnie Cates is my all-time favorite Petra bassist, but Greg did justice to the bass line. The backing vocals by Bryce, Greg and Quinton were a major surprise. They sounded fantastic, adding great depth to the harmonies. Other than the technical problems, everyone was on.
John was fantastic as both singer and evangelist. There is no doubt who his Lord and Savior is. Once the show was over, we got to meet the band and all were gracious. John was fantastic. He took time with everyone and did not hurry anyone through the line.
When I walked up to have him sign my poster, he looked at me strangely and asked "Don't I know you? You look very familiar." I told him that I didn't think so, but I had been near him during the show and had been screaming the loudest. I told him how I had taken over my church's youth group and my first thing to do was get the kids to a Petra concert. He thought that was the coolest.
The best part of the evening was when three of our youth gave their lives to Jesus, including my son! When I told John about this after the concert, his eyes lit up. The irony of the story is that 20 years earlier, I accepted Jesus during my first Petra concert. In 20 years, I had not seen the youth leaders who took us then. But they were at this concert, as counselors. We could not get over the ironies involved with the evening.
It was a truly amazing and moving concert, one that I will never forget.