Petra Rocks My World!
Concert Review
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May 11, 2002: At Albalsserdam, Holland

Reviewed by: Wim Dhaese

This was my first Petra concert ever, although I have been a fan for ages. I went together with some friends from church and I expected a lot. I had been to concerts by Jerusalem and Whitecross earlier and those were fantastic. I thought: the best group on earth--Petra--will do even better. For nights I couldn't sleep because of the excitement. And then, the time had come: 7 p.m. The supporting acts began to do their thing. Livingstone, Frog, Swirl and Walnut Groove, some local bands, did well, but I was waiting for the real thing: Petra.

Finally, at 9:30 p.m., they began to play. First on stage was Louie Weaver: he tested his drums and when everything was ok, the rest of the band came on. The crowd ran wild. The first song they played was "The Noise We Make" from the new album Revival. That song wasn't quite what it should have been, but I think it was because some sound settings weren't quite right. The second song, Creed, was much better. That first song was the only negative detail of the evening, because the rest was great.

My favorite bands besides Petra--Jerusalem and DeGarmo&Key--are ten times better live than in the studio. I think the talent of a band is measured by how they do live. I have to say, most of the songs were better live than the studio versions, and I like the studio versions very much. So you can imagine the state I was in when they played that good. I was happily surprised to hear that Petra rocks huge in concert. Their last studio albums like No doubt, Petra Praise 2, God Fixation and Double Take were a little too soft, according to me. The patented rock-sound Petra wasn't there. And now they played some songs from, for example No Doubt, like they should have been played on the album. Huge drums, fantastic lead guitar and guitar solos to lick your fingers, not to mention John Schlitt's singing and crying. Enter In, the chorus sang by the whole audience, was so much better, so much more rocking than on the album. They played it like they would have done in the Beyond Belief era, I think. Amazing!

From the second song until the end of the concert it was just... how can I describe it? Incredible? Unbelievable? Fantastic? For years I wanted to see Petra live, and when it came to pass, it was more than I expected. It was better than everything I've imagined a Petra concert would be. That means a lot. It was beyond my dreams.

Something I find very important about Christian concerts is the praise and worship level of the songs. I saw MIC once and I don't like their music at all, but the Spirit of God was there. It was more than just music, more than just show. And that is how I felt when Petra performed. It was more than just the music, it was about God in the first place.

The highlights of the show for me were two songs: Praying Man and Beyond Belief. When they started to play Praying Man the audience and I ran completely wild. The chorus with the Whoaaaa! part in it was yelled by all of us. I was so impressed! John stopped singing, the band stopped playing and it was only the audience singing: "Whoaaa! I see the power of the praying man!"

Beyond belief. This song has a special meaning to me, in fact the whole album has. The music is absolutely fantastic, but the lyrics brought me to God. I thought that the song couldn't have been played any better than on the album. I was wrong. That live blast of energy together with the audience responding and singing as loud as they could, the incredible pounding of drums when they sang the chorus with the infamous Beyond belief Beyond belief: unprecedented.

The last song they played was How Long. It hit me right in the heart even more than when I first heard it. The lyrics are really what I feel. "We have sung our songs of victory, we have prayed to You for rain. We have cried for Your compassion to renew the land again. Now we're standing in Your presence more hungry than before. Now we're on Your steps of mercy and we're knocking at Your door. How long before You drench the barren land? How long before we see Your righteous hand? How long before Your name is lifted high? How long before the weeping turns to songs of joy?" It was the perfect ending song of an almost perfect night. But for me the best part, the thing I never hoped for, was still to come.

After the concert there was an autograph session with all of the band members. I bought a mousepad that says that "I'm a Pethead" and when John Schlitt signed it, he said that I had to go to the site on the mousepad. Half an hour later we were planning to go home, and then John comes by, sees me with the mousepad and says again that I had to go to that site. ( I told him that I wanted to say something to him. I told him that it was because of the music of Petra that I got saved. He asked me if I was still walking strong with the Lord. I said "Yes" and then he gave me a big hug. For some moments I was petrified. My friend then asked John when Petra would come to Belgium. "Whenever they ask us. You're the fourth person who asked that in a few days. Pray for it, see what the Lord wants, ask us and we'll come."

Then the dream was over, but it lives on in my mind. I think I'll never forget this. I have only one more thing to say: when Petra is in the neighborhood: go! Go! Go! Even if you think their last albums weren't that good. Live they are the best I've seen.

Set list:

  • The Noise We Make
  • Creed
  • Judas' Kiss
  • Rose-Colored Stained Glass Windows
  • Meet with Me
  • Amazing Grace
  • Praying Man
  • Oasis
  • More Than a Thousand Words
  • Send Revival
  • Enter In
  • Medley: I Waited for the Lord / Ancient of Days / I Waited
  • Think Twice
  • Beyond Belief
  • Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
  • He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
  • Encore:
  • Drum solo
  • Dance
  • How Long