July 6, 2002: Sherman, TX
Reviewed by: Alan Law
To see pictures from this concert, click here.
It was a hot day in the Lake Texoma area. There was a long line into an old building--about half teenagers and half "older people." I'm 30 and consider myself a long-time Petra fan, since the "Not of This World" album. The concert hall was called The Underground. As hot as it was, it's a great place to have a Christian concert or function. I'm not sure what the building used to be, it's one of those places that writers love to describe. It is stark, but has great visceral beauty. The people that run it obviously don't make any money from it. It's a labor of love to the kids of the area. It's a clean place where a kid can be safe at a hangout.
A new band, 38th Parallel, opened for Petra. They were loud! They're similar to Pillar or a lot of newer bands coming out that combine rap with harmonies. I was a bit surprised when they started, I'm not usually into those kinds of bands, but I quickly began to enjoy it. They were very good musically and had some well put-together songs. I listen to their new CD quite often now.
After they finished, Petra came out. This was a small venue and it was crowded up close. I was about 5 layers back from the stage. I felt like I could reach out to high-five John. A lot of people did. They played "Rose Color Stained Glass Windows," He Came He Saw He Conquered," "Judas Kiss," plus some old numbers and several selections from Revival. I don't think that they ever do a concert without "Beyond Belief." John was absolutely awesome. As hot as it was (he was soaked in sweat in a matter of minutes) he hit all notes and he really was getting stratospheric. It was funny though. He missed lines on two songs (one was Beyond Belief--I don't know how he could forget those lines). The funny thing was that when he realized it, he looked out at the crowd and got his lines. It seemed that almost everyone there knew all the lines. Another thing that surprised me was how many of the songs my wife knew. She is not a Petra fan per se, but she has learned them by osmosis. She doesn't like hot, sticky places but she enjoyed the concert, too. The concert ended with "How Long" from Revival.
We stood right in front of Quenton Gibson, the new guitar player. He was up to the task. I enjoyed his variations and his style.
On the other side of the stage was Greg Bailey, the new bassist. When we met the band afterward, my wife commented on how much he smiled during the concert. He said that a lot of people tell him that. It's obvious that he enjoys himself up there.
Bryce was there too. He's pretty quiet, but very cool when I shook his hand in line. I told him that I had seen him in Wichita, KS a couple years earlier. He remembered that concert.
I didn't see Louie much from where I was standing, but got to meet him afterward.
The highlight of my evening (my year actually) was meeting John. He was something. I told him, "Thank you for all the years of sticking with it" -- meaning that he could have been doing something else or doing the "spending more time with your family" thing. That seemed to get his attention and he looked at me and thanked me for sticking with the band. Neat moment. He also said that I reminded him of someone. I thought, "He's just saying that," but he mentioned a name so I thought that was cool. John, if he weren't a such a dynamic Christian would be a serious people-person. You can tell that he knows his way around a conversation. It would be so easy for him or anyone in his position to be haughty or bothered by the crowd. Not John. I shook his hand and got a picture at about midnight on a Saturday night. The band had to wake up the next morning to do a worship service at a local church. I was one of the first people through the line. They had to have been there past 1 a.m. I heard no complaints. They are a great group of guys.
All in all, this was one of my top five days of my short life. Both bands were incredible and I got to meet two people (John and Louie) that I've waited about 20 years to meet. The new guys are great. I wore my Petra Praise 2 tour shirt, which neither Greg nor Quenton had seen before. I modeled it a bit while they looked at the photo of the band (with Pete, Lonnie, Kevin). They got a big laugh out of the long hair then (Greg is bald). I hope that they continue this "underground" type of touring. It is so much more intimate than the big arenas. It was a night that I'll never forget.