Petra Rocks My World!
Concert review
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Dec. 15, 2002: In Bangalore, India

Reviews by: Pramod Ninan and Earl D'Roza

Review by: Earl D'Roza

I attended the PETRA concert on the 15th in Bangalore. The first sight of Petra was at the church that I attend, they were at the morning Praise and Worship service.

The show was awesome, it was an out of this world experience. The way the Spirit of God moved was amazing. There were about 10,000 to 12,000 people at the show--people of all ages, from young kids to a host of elderly people, and to see them worshipping God with rock music was an amazing spectacle.

Petra performed about 20 songs which lasted for about 1.5 hours, including about 30 minutes of praise and worship.

To end the days concert in keeping with the Christmas spirit, the last song was Silent Night.

I wish the group the very best in their endeavor to spread the gospel through rock. I hope they come back to India some time. Again it would be a blessing.

Review by: Pramod Ninan

Wowie Zowie!!

I've just returned from the Petra concert here and I am still trying to contain that "feeling," I really don't know what name to give it. It was brilliant, to say the least, and Bangalore so totally rocked out. And I was there to witness it. Yeah!

I'm not sure what the turnout was, but I do know that it was MASSIVE. With so many people around, any plans of finding my friends and keeping them company were completely out of the question! And the crowds just kept pouring in all the time--even I was amazed!

The show was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm, so, hoping to get a good seat, I was there by 5:45. The concert did begin at 6:30 pm IST (Indian Stretchable Time) which means it began an hour later at 7:30. So, until then, I kept myself occupied by checking out the merch. I bought a T-shirt which proudly carries the words "PETRA ROCKS MY WORLD," as well as the albums "Petra Means Rock" and "Petrafied."

Further amusement for me before the concert began--I began to count the stage lights! I have never seen so many stage lights in my life. I counted 156, but I am confident that there were definitely more, out of my view. I took a look at the sponsors' stalls. Guess who: Pepsi.

The stage had this huge backdrop with the words "Petra Means Rock" written across a spiked background. An imposing canopy structure housed the stage, it was very impressive. The Parra guys (they are the Indian version of Petra, and also the co-organisers of this event) were busying themselves on stage a lot, and every appearance by any of them was greeted with a huge applause. John Schlitt himself came once on stage, in a corner, but I don't think anyone else noticed him because there was no cheering.

The show finally began at 7:30. Some Anglican bishop prayed, beginning with the words "Let us assume an attitude of prayer" - forgive me, but I was tickled by that. Then Petra came on, and without any delay--without a single "testing" note--they got underway. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing John himself, there at the microphone. He was extremely impressive, such energy after all these years. I had a fun time trying to imagine my dad jumping around stage like that, being nearabouts the same age!

They kicked off with "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered," and in all they performed 22 songs, over a period of an hour and a half. (see the end of the review for a set list)

I am convinced that no one enjoyed the show as much as I did, both because I was seated in probably the most convenient seat (twenty meters away from the stage, a meter's distance between my seat and the barricade in front, and a meter wide aisle on my left, which gave me more room than I need to dance around like a madcap), and the fact that I knew the lyrics to all the songs they sang, so I was yelling my guts out (thankfully for those around me, the music coming from the stage was loud enough to drown out my voice!). Frankly, I was having the time of my life, and even the fact that the show ended after only 1.5 hours could not put me off.

The high point of the show was definitely "Lord I Lift Your Name On High." There was a barricade right in front of me, that separated me and the rest of the crowd from the several front rows of VIP's and special invitees, most of whom happened to be these old people with gray hair (if at all there was hair on their heads). And I think that this was the only section of the audience that poor John could clearly see from the stage. And no matter how much John jumped about and yelled and clapped and encouraged people to get up and dance, these front-row people just sat there with their hands folded. So when Petra began to do "Lord I Lift Your Name," and the old people also got up and joined in the actions, John was so thrilled and the energy just shot up. It was terrific, to have the several thousands of people gathered there, singing and waving their arms about!

For me, personally, the high point was "Send Revival, Start with Me." I did experience the start of a revival, and it was great to be meaning the words that I was singing.

One other "high point" for me was when the crowd, at least all those around me, had grown tired and had taken to their seats while I was still standing, dancing, clapping, cheering. John pointed in my direction and said "Yeah!" WOW, here's something to tell my grandchildren!

After "Lord I Lift Your Name," Quinton came in with a familiar riff and the crowd went wild - "Beyond Belief"! The energy built up in the previous song continued to rock the arena. At the end of the song, John said "It's been great playing in India," and they all walked off stage. Instants chants of "Petra! Petra!" from the audience. After 3 minutes, Louie walks back on in a spotlight, complete with bandana and Mickey Mouse t-shirt, goes to the drums and does his famed drum solo. He is so much better live than he is on the studio recordings, isn't he?

Then, the rest of the band came on and performed "Dance." I KNEW the show couldn't have been over after Beyond Belief, because without "Dance" any Petra show is incomplete. Everyone was dancing as John sang out "Dance with the One who brung ya, don't change hats you know it's the one you wear."

At the end of this, John did something unusual. He said that the band hadn't planned it. While Bryce played slowly and majestically on the keys, John led the entire crowd in singing "Silent Night." And the show ended there. I think it was a great way to finish.

As for the individual performances. John - well, what can I say? Mind-blowing! So humble, so committed, so powerful, so charismatic - and what a voice! He was terrific today. There was one place, just one, when he sounded a little tired, but you've got to admire him for the energy he kept up right through 90 minutes of performance! Some of his antics were so funny.

Quinton, the lead guitarist - he was good, yes, but he's no Bob Hartman. He didn't do the intro for "Think Twice" as well as Bob Hartman does it, but apart from that slight "put-off" he was great.

The bassist, Greg, was superb. He did a mini-solo at one point which got the audience screaming.

Bryce, on the keys couldn't be heard much. But where he was heard, he was great. Again, he's no John Lawry.

Louie Weaver - i've already said that he was a delight to watch live. And oh - that Mickey Mouse T-shirt.

Overall, it was the show of a lifetime, but even more than that, God was so obviously present. There was a huge number of non-Christians in the audience, and it thrills me that they saw so many people excited for Jesus. They were probably seeing for the first time that Christianity isn't what everyone makes it out to be: a fuddy-duddy thing. Instead the Christians there were Jesus Freaks, both the performers on stage as well as the audience. I think that's awesome. Glory to God!

Petra says they're going to come again to India, and I'm sure there's no one who attended today's show who is not wishing they do.

Set List

  • He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
  • The Noise We Make
  • Creed
  • Judas Kiss
  • Rose-Colored Stained-Glass Windows
  • A Thousand Words
  • Enter In
  • Meet With Me
  • Think Twice
  • Oasis
  • I Waited For The Lord On High
  • Ancient of Days
  • We Need Jesus
  • Show Your Power
  • Send Revival, Start With Me
  • Amazing Grace / I Waited for The Lord On High (Reprise)
  • Praying Man
  • Lord I Lift Your Name On High
  • Beyond Belief
  • Louie's Solo
  • Dance
  • Silent Night