Update 26 August 2022: As I was compiling a list of gigs we've seen over the years, I used our concert reviews list a reference. For this particular gig I had managed to overwrite the original review with another article about Petra. Thankfully there are ways to recover old material, even without a DeLorean... So now that Petra's celebrating their 50th Anniversary, here's one of our early concert reviews revisited, dating all the way to when the site was called "Loud'n Clear"!



Petra Live In Turku - 18th of November, 2000

A christian music festival called "Maata Nakyvissä" ("Land ahead" or something) was held in Turku this year, and Petra, my old favourites from the christian music genre were booked to headline the event. The festival took place in the Elysée Arena, where I had recently seen Bon Jovi.

rainAlready early in the morning I dragged myself out of the bed and went to see The Rain, a band featuring a few of my old schoolmates. I missed a few songs from the beginning, but what I heard wasn't too bad at all. The songs were all sung in Finnish, heavy melodic rock with keyboards quite upfront. At times the songs reminded me of "Mood Swings"-era Harem Scarem and HIM, yet they had a style of their own. The number of people that had managed to get up at 10 o'clock in the morning was surprisingly big, and they were rather enthusiastic about the band. One of the songs even got a "hit-like" reception, with the audience joyfully cheering as they recognized the first chords.

bnhI left the Arena for several hours and got back in time to witness the famous and oddly monickered Finnish group Bass'n Helen. Their modern rock sound, which lies somewhere between The Cranberries, Midnight Oil and Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't appeal to me, but the now almost full house seemed to enjoy them. And then it was time for the main event...

Petra sneaked to the stage as the dramatically narrated intro was playing. I could only see the silhuette of guitarist Pete Orta, as he climbed to the top of the big speakers in front of the stage. Then the show was kicked of with "I Am Waiting" or something like that, a song that I didn't recognize. I guess it's from one their newer albums, which haven't been that impressive. "He Came ,He Saw, He Conquered" and "Creed" I did know, both late eighties/early nineties Petra-tunes, and highly impressive. Vocalist John Schlitt was clearly the leading man here, with a strong stage presence. He actually looked like the older brother of Joe Elliott, as you can see from the photos!


Next we were subjected to a string of newer songs, including "Hello Again" and "If I Had To Die For Someone" from their latest studio album "God Fixation" and "The Longing", one of the two new cuts from the current "old tunes re-arranged" album "Double Take".

They brought in a translator between the songs to make sure that the audience got the message Loud & Clear (sorry, couldn't resist!), and while that might be good for "the message", it made the show a kind of a stop-start affair. The "new cuts show" was interrupted by a trio of older (and better!) songs, "Enter In", "Beyond Belief" and "Dance" and a short drum solo from Louie Weaver. Then it was all over, except that the audience was taking none of that!

The band played two songs as encores, if I remember correctly the first one was an oldie "Judas Kiss" and the other one was performed by bass player Lonnie Chapin on keyboards and lead vocals, with the audience and Mr. Schlitt providing background vocals as "one big happy family". It was another unfamiliar song to me, probably called "Stand".
The band was in good form and in good spirits, but I was a little disappointed by the fact that they played so few older tunes. I understand that this is almost an entirely different band to the one that recorded such brilliant albums as "Beyond Belief" and "This Means War" though. I guess it's just me, and the fact that I haven't really gotten into the last few Petra albums. For the newer generation of fans this show must've been a great experience, as was the last time I saw Petra for me, on their "Beyond Belief" tour. Still, a nice evening of good music...wonder who's going to be there next year? Idle Cure? Stryper re-united?

By Kimmo Toivonen

Photos courtesy of Credo Imagebank
Special thanks to Senni for all her help!