September 4, 1998: At Evangel Temple Church in Kansas City, MO
Reviewed by: Josh Renaud
To see a few concert pictures, click here.
I came, I saw, I had my socks rocked off.
That sums up my experience at Petra's first concert of their God Fixation tour. The concert was held at Evangel Temple's outdoor amphitheatre, on September 4th, 1998 in Kansas City, MO.
I went to the concert with a friend of mine, named John. He kind of likes Petra, but he isn't the huge fan that I am. I own almost all of Petra's albums and listen to them all the time, but I have only been to one Petra concert before, and it was 8 years ago during the Beyond Belief tour.
So, I made up my mind to go see them in Kansas City. I live in St. Louis, so we made this into a whole weekend trip, and the concert would sort of kick it off.
I hadn't seen Petra live in so long, I wasn't sure what to expect. There were the "new guys" (who John Schlitt pointed out during the concert had been part of the band for two and a half years now), plus Petra's sound has been getting progressively softer over the years. I didn't know if this band would be able to blow me away as they had in the past.
We arrived at 5:15 or so, because the doors were to open at 5:30, and we wanted to get as close as we could. There was a delay, though. Apparently they had arrived later and were still setting up, so they didn't open until 5:45 or 6:00. While we waited, I could hear the band practicing some songs like "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered," and "All Fired Up." When I heard them practice those songs, which came off of two of my favorite albums, I began to get excited.
Finally everything was open and we got front-row seats. The concert began at 7:00, opened by a band called "Broomtree." Broomtree was pretty good, they were a brand new band it seemed. I couldn't understand what the leader singer, Kylie, was singing very well, though. The bass player was pretty wild, it looked like he was either really into his music, or really into showing off. He was funny, whichever it was. I could not really hear the base line in the music, though.. My friend ended up buying their CD, and I glanced at the lyrics and liked what I saw. The music was pretty good rock, and Kylie was good on the guitar.
Next was Jeni Varnadeau, another artist I have never heard of. But she really impressed me. She could sing like the dickens, and she was very good at interacting with the crowd and talking to them. Her second CD is supposed to be coming out soon, she said. Her music was more contemporary, so I wasn't quite into it as much.
For most of the opening acts, everyone was sitting down. But after they were over and a short wait for the stage to be cleared, Petra came on and everybody was on their feet. Petra opened with "Dance" from "Unseen Power," and I couldn't believe it. Like I said, I haven't been to a concert recently, so I didn't know what to expect. It was incredible.
I was immediately impressed by the new guys. Every one of them was terrific. Lonnie Chapin was the most exuberant, running and jumping all over the place. Pete Orta seemed to be competing with Lonnie, though. He would do his own running and spinning around routine all over the stage. Pete also had this thing with standing next to John and twisting around and rubbing his head into him, like he was trying to get John to crack up while he sang. The whole thing was pretty funny.
The stage was set up with three platforms: one in the middle for Louie Weaver and his drumset, and two on the ends of the stage. The left platform was empty, mostly used by Lonnie and Pete to run onto and jump off of. The right platform had a keyboard set up on it. Throughout the night, a guy would come on and play the keyboards when they were needed, although Kevin Brandow did play the keys for a few songs.
The music was intense, it was a great rock sound. John Schlitt sounded fantastic as he sang. There was a problem throughout the night with the sound system, at the beginning there was a lot of feedback, but as the night went on it got better.
After the first five songs, the guys pulled out a bunch of stools and switched from electric to acustic guitars for a medley set of classic Petra songs. They did "The Coloring Song," "Voice in the Wind," "More Power To Ya," "Not Of This World," and "Graverobber." The medley was very well performed, and thought he sound may have been a little different from the original versions, I liked it very much, and the everyone in the crowd seemed to, as well.
By this time, everyone was really starting to get into the concert, and things just kept getting more fun. Petra launched into a couple praise songs from "Petra Praise II." Next they played "The Invitation" and "Falling Up," warming back up from the slower medley. On "Falling Up," I noticed Kevin was playing two guitars. He had an electric strapped to his body, and what looked like an acoustic propped up on his stool, and he switched back and forth between them throughout the song.
Petra played a great set of rock songs next, starting with "Beyond Belief." I once read a concert review written by someone else who had heard the "new band" play Beyond Belief. He didn't like it at all, because they played it completely different from the recorded version. Well, Petra did play Beyond Belief, and it sure was different, but I thought it was pretty good, with a double guitar lead and a great sound. They also played "Enter In," "Praying Man," "God Fixation," and they ended with the chorus line from "Right Place." I thought it was strange they didn't play the whole song, but whatever.
John thanked us for a wonderful night and Petra left the stage, and immediately the crowd began shouting "We want more!" over and over again. As expected, the guys came back out and played a couple more songs: "Lord I Lift Your Name On High," and "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered."
Just when I thought the evening couldn't be any more incredible, John began speaking to the crowd, and I could really feel he was being led by the Spirit. He talked about God's calling for Petra, to reach the kids. He mentioned how he knew God wanted to move that night, because Satan was trying so hard to screw things up: They were late getting to the church, the sound system wasn't working, John kept leading into the wrong songs. The whole night had been building to this.
He talked about having a relationship with God, and how becoming a Christian was one of the coolest things that could happen to you. He hoped that Petra could show kids how being a Christian is fun, and how it is cool. He said they could only do that if they were a good rock band; they couldn't just put out bad music and perform poorly in their concerts. Entering into a personal relationship with Jesus will change your life, he said. He talked about how you could start that relationship, and led everyone in a salvation prayer.
Afterwards he asked everyone who had really prayed that prayer and believed it for the first time to raise their hands. "This will be the hardest thing I've asked you to do all night," he said. But lots of people put their hands in the air, and then went to up the steps to meet with some "counselors" (John had to catch himself and correct that.. They aren't counselors, legally. I forget what the real term was)
After that incredible altar call, Petra played "No Doubt" to close the concert.
All in all, this made for one of the best concerts I have seen in years. PETRA LIVES! That's all I can say! I will be going to see them again when they come to St. Louis in November. If Petra will be playing in your area (Check here to see their schedule), I really encourage you to see them.
- Matter of Time
- St. Augustine's Pears
- All Fired Up
- Hello Again
- Medley: The Coloring Song, Voice in the Wind, More Power To Ya, Not Of This World, Graverobber
- Lovely Lord
- We Need Jesus
- The Invitation
- Falling Up
- If I Had To Die For Someone
- Beyond Belief
- Enter In
- Praying Man
- God Fixation
- Right Place (only the chorus line)
- Lord, I Lift Your Name On High
- He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
- No Doubt