August 31, 2002: At Truman State University in Kirksville, MO
Reviewed by: Josh Renaud
To see some concert pictures, click here.
It had been almost 4 years since I last saw Petra in concert during the God Fixation tour. I came away from the two shows I saw in fall of 1998 very excited about the band's live performances.
But lots of things can change in a year. It's been a turbulent period for Petra, with some personnel changes earlier this year. Three "new guys" had replaced the three new guys I saw in 1998 (Lonnie Chapin, Kevin Brandow, and Pete Orta). How would the lineup of John Schlitt, Louie Weaver, Bryce Bell, Quinton Gibson, and Greg Bailey stack up?
A fan had sent me a bootleg recording of a recent Petra concert, and the songs were pretty good. I hoped this show would be as good or better.
I went to the show with my brother. Kirksville is a small University town in northeast Missouri. The concert was being held at Truman University's gymnasium. My brother didn't think many people would show up. As it turned out, there was a pretty good sized crowd.
The biggest shame of the concert was that Truman State had just resurfaced its basketball court and wouldn't allow the stage to be set up there. Instead, the stage was put on one side of the gym and the bleachers were pulled out on the opposite side. Between the stage and the bleachers was a sort of no-man's land; the roped-off basketball court. Fans were allowed onto the court only if they wore rubber-soled shoes or socks. So, throughout the night one crowd (mostly young people) grooved in front of the stage, while another crowd stood and sat in the bleachers. A wide gulf separated the two.
Petra got off to a rocking start. They launched into a somewhat modified version of "The Noise We Make." Q and Greg were really rocking, and I could clearly see Louie was into it, as well. John was singing his heart out. The first several songs were pretty good rockers (TNWM, Creed, Judas' Kiss, and Rose-Colored Stained Glass Windows) and the crowd was into it.
Quinton and Greg were definitely not static, moving around stage and "pairing up" to rock with each other, Louie, John, and Bryce throughout the concert. And Quinton can really play. Pete Orta is a great guitar player, but his style was much different from Bob's and he took a lot of liberty with the guitar parts. For some people that was a turn-off, since they didn't recognize songs like "Beyond Belief," which has always been a fan favorite. Quinton played the music very faithfully and had some great solos. I enjoyed watching and listening to him play.
Technically, the show was going well, too. The lights were great and the sound was good overall, though the gym's acoustics weren't great. The only nitpick I had was that for brief moments on a couple songs, the keyboards' volume seemed to jump sky-high, overpowering the guitars.
And John was technically perfect, too. I was listening very carefully and didn't notice any lyric slipups. I've heard John perform many times at Petra shows and his solo shows, and have also listened to many bootleg concert recordings. He usually flubs a few lines in at least one song every show. But not this time.
After the opening rockers, the band kicked into "praise mode" and played several songs from PPII and Revival, interrupted by a talk from John about Food for the Hungry, a ministry Petra has supported for several years.
The guys cranked the rock back up for two more songs ("Beyond Belief" and "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered") then said "goodnight." Of course, there was going to be an encore, and after letting the crowd chant, whistle, and clap for a couple minutes, Louie came back out on stage and began a mini drum solo which brought a lot of cheers from the fans.
Then the rest of the band came back out for two more songs. "Dance" was the first song, and it was by far the best rocking they did all night. I was totally blown away by how well they performed that song and how hard it rocked. Then, to close the night, they played "How Long," the final song from "Revival."
All in all, it was a fantastic show. The band really rocked, and all the guys but Louie stayed around to sign autographs and chat with fans afterward. It was easy to see that they have been practicing very hard for the concerts they are doing. The transitions from song to song went very well. And it's good to see that Petra has not backed down from their ministry. They still preach a salvation message and invite people to accept Jesus.
And that's what it's all about.
This set list is not exact. The songs below are mostly in order, but I might have one or two out of place. Also, I think I may have left out a song.
- The Noise We Make
- Judas' Kiss
- Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows
- Think Twice
- Send Revival
- I Waited
- Ancient of Days
- Enter In
- We Need Jesus
- Lord I Lift Your Name on High
- Amazing Grace
- Praying Man
- Thousand Words
- Beyond Belief
- He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
- How Long