Petra Rocks My World!
Concert review
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May 21, 1999: Tinley Park, Illinois

Reviewed by: Larry Birks

The Petra concert was great!! Of all the times not to take my camera, I wish I had! I finally got to meet John Schlitt!!!!! He signed my ticket stub. I didn't even have to wait in line, he was just standing there by the t-shirt table ready to sign autographs.

Anyway, here's my comments on the concert:


Jesse's Vineyard: Sang pretty good. They sound a lot like a juiced up version of Big Tent Revival.

BroomTree: I'm always amazed to see a female lead vocalist with a "rock" band. But she did quite well, and reminded me of Amy Wolter of the group "Fighter" in the late 80's early 90's. I think she can give Rebecca St. James some competition in the power vocals arena.

Temple Yard: By now I was ready for Petra, but the former Christafari played first. Can't say I've ever had the pleasure of hearing these guys before, but they were very animated, and pumped up to play Reggae music for God.

And now, onto the main act: PETRA!

They've just started their Greatest Hits Tour, and if you're a Petra fan, this is once concert that you will not want to miss! They cranked out almost 25 songs! A rare treat at any concert these days ( and at a ticket price of only 10.00).

I've been wondering how the older songs would sound since Petra really doesn't have a keyboardist anymore (other than Mr. Brandow popping up to the board once in a while). That's where some excellent guitar work comes into play!

For those of us like myself who were around for the Greg X Volz days, you tend to think the old songs will still sound the same musically. Boy was I surprised when Mr. Brandow and the boys put on a brilliant guitar crescendo that led into a high energy remake of "Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows"! I hope this song makes it on the new album! John really swallowed the microphone on this song, and "Schlittized" it!

A small departure from previous concerts, the rest of the band didn't produce the same thrust of background vocals. This became apparent on songs like "Beyond Belief," and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You." Although it provided a slightly different sound, it was definitely a night for John to be showing off his vocal abilities- and he did not disappoint! For those who think John can't sing the classics, think again! While he may have put some extra vocal thrust into some of the old hits, he really showed his versatility on songs like "Judas Kiss," and "Road to Zion." Late in the show John performed a song I haven't seen performed in quite a while: "For Annie." With all that goes on these days, I've always thought that would be one song they should sing on every tour; maybe this is the beginning of a tradition.

Louie Weaver turned in his usual fine performance behind the skin and brass. The crowd kept waiting for the drum solo - but we were denied! I think they just had too many songs they wanted to sing, and no time for solo playing - which I believe was sorely missed. Louie did pop out from behind the set later on to receive a Mickey Mouse doll from a little girl, giving the audience a full two minute view of Petra's percussion section for the last 17 years!

As I stated earlier, there was some fine guitar work performed! The three axe men strode across the stage with their instruments finely tuned - and a lot of classic rock guitar tricks (like playing with your teeth). In a day and age where a lot of other bands settle for strumming 3 chords repeatedly, seeing these three guys blaze across the strings was very refreshing! (and helped me relive the 80's at the same time). Their work was very helpful in covering the one error of the evening: John's microphone shutting off during "He came He saw, He Conquered". It was pretty humorous to see John singing and shaking and no voice!!! At least you know they're not using sound tracks! John calmly walked over to the side and found another one.

On the downside, (I know - how can there be?) there were a few things I think could be improved and a few things that seemed to be missing. First, songs like "Grave Robber," and "Voice in The Wind," only had a small portion sung. Even though this was part of a medley, I think they are two songs that would be best sung in their entirety, especially since they're not rolled out very often. "More Power to Ya," and "Not of This World," suffered a similar fate, although the first verse and chorus were played. Second, a few songs really do still need the keyboard input (aside from having your guitarist step up to play). This was evident on songs like "Beat the System," "Not of This World," and "The Coloring Song." Maybe they can add someone for the next tour? Lastly, how can you have a greatest hits tour, and completely overlook "Back to The Street," "On Fire," & "Wake Up Call"? If they need an extra half hour to do so, drop one of the opening acts. One or two bands is okay, but I would rather have Petra for an extra half hour instead of a third opening band!

On the upside, they definitely gave the audience plenty of bang for your buck. While it wasn't as techno as some previous tours, the smaller setting provided good visuals, good sound, and accessability to the bands. Even though 3 of the 5 members are still fairly new, they looked very comfortable performing together - and I think they are well poised to go another 25 years. If you're any kind of Petra fanatic at all, be sure you see this show - could be the only Greatest Hits tour they ever do - and that makes it extra special.

Set List

  • Dance (Opening Song)
  • He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
  • This Means War
  • Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows
  • Judas Kiss
  • Road to Zion
  • Not of This World
  • More Power to Ya
  • Grave Robber
  • Coloring Song
  • Voice in the Wind (Song with the least amount of time sung)
  • Beat The System
  • Adonai
  • If I had to Die For Someone
  • Hello Again
  • Beyond Belief
  • Creed
  • We Need Jesus
  • Lord I lift your Name on High
  • Right Place
  • No Doubt
  • For Annie
  • God Gave Rock and Roll to You
  • I Stand in Awe of You