Petra is hanging it up after 33 years. In case you’re wondering, I’m 33. So it was a bitter sweet event November 15.
Let me give you some back story: Petra is the first real band I liked. I remember living in Batavia, NY and my parents buying three albums to get me to listen to Christian music. Jerusalem, Undercover, and Petra. I didn’t like the Jerusalem sound, liked Undercover, but loved Petra. (By the way, they were all vinyl). The Petra album was “More Power To Ya”. It’s still my favorite Petra album today.
Since then during my teen years I was one of the first to buy the latest Petra album. My first concert ever was the “Beat the System” tour in 1985 in Buffalo. I remember saving up to go. It was a great show. Dad and I went together. And through the years, Petra was a band I could count on to deliver music that met me where I was. The music challenged me, encouraged me, and gave me an alternative to some of the other evil music of the day (Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, real scary stuff…[insert sarcastic grin]).
In college, I even did a Petra retrospective show with Chad or Brian. I may still have it somewhere…In college we always looked forward to seeing what they were doing next. One year the new album at the time was “Unseen Power”. Chad, Brian and I were headed back from a field trip to channel 6 in Lansing. It was a really bad blizzard on the way home. The album had come out in Lansing but not Jackson. We wanted it. Dorie, our prof, said the weather was too bad to stop. We told her we would just get in our car and drive back. Told her if we died, our deaths would be on her head. Laid it on thick. And we wound up driving in my little ’85 Escort, Shafty, to Lansing. Got the CDs. On the way back we were talking about if we were in an accident and died getting the Petra album, would they sing at our funeral? Stupid college talk. Well, we almost bit it. Hit a huge pad of ice and did a 360 into a ditch. Chad and I got out and picked up the car while Dumont steered and we got out. A fun adventure and story.
Fast forward almost 15 years. We thought the band should have packed up about 10 years ago. But they still tried to hold it together. And in my estimation, failed. But we decided in school when they hung up their Aqua Net and electric guitars, we’d try to see them off.
Chad found the tickets and we upgraded to artists circle seating and a banquet where we could eat with the band and celebrate the 33 year run. It was cool to drive down to Ft. Wayne where they started eat dinner and watch the band play. Honestly it was not the best show. They were a shell of what they once were. I think more significantly was a passing on of an era that began when I was 14 or 15 years old. And to be able to share it with good friends who appreciated the music and memories made it even better.
I’m kind of in a Petra zone now. Going back and listening to some really great music. I listened to “More Power To Ya” this weekend as I drove to Cleveland and remembered how great the music and message was and is. It’s great music. And it touched many lives. Mine included.