John Schlitt; Live in Aizawl

The organizing team would first like to thank Mr. John W. Schlitt and StoneJava for their time here in Aizawl, and giving us not just one but two nights which are never to be forgotten again.

GenX Entertainment, Chennai, called up Aizawl and got in touch with the Hands for Christ (HFC) to organize the event for two nights, May 20th and 21st and a promotional night (19th May) where the local bands would play and in which John Schlitt and StoneJava would make a short appearance. HFC being young and hard core fans of John Schlitt, were extremely excited about the verbal agreement from GenX that all the expenses will be born GenX.

Soon, the talk was over and work began. The biggest grounds in Aizawl, Lammual (same venue Petra used in 2004), was reserved for the event. Hotels were booked, governmental permissions taken and publicity was as good as it gets. Feedbacks received were full of encouragements. Meanwhile, preparation for the promotional night, named Revolution eXtreme, was going on and all the major local bands, soloists and dancers were busy preparing themselves in their respective practice rooms. Everyone was excited by the prospect of being on the same stage with John Schlitt and his band to praise God together.

One major concern was the deadline to finish setting up the stage; the organizers had only two days including Sunday to get everything ready. On the Saturday of May 17th, 5:30 AM, the ground was packed with volunteers and paid workers supervised by the organizers (HFC). Work did not stop until 1:30 the next morning and four and a half hours later at 6:00 AM Sunday, work began again in earnest. Since it was the rainy season, it started raining. Work had to be stopped. Come Monday at 5:30 AM work started again. This was the day John Schlitt and StoneJava were to reach Aizawl. Work at the venue continued till 5:00 PM. The sound and light crews started to hang their line arrays and their state of the art lighting systems from noon, working along with the local workers.

At the airport, John was received, as was previously requested by GenX, by only a handful of people, as they were very tired from the previous concert in Bangalore. Amazing show of energy shown by John Schlitt and StoneJava at the airport though they had only a couple of hours rest the night before.

Leaving the Band and crew at their hotel to refresh, the organizers left for the venue and the start of the promotional night.

The free concert, Revolution eXtreme, started with a 'worship dance' by Teenagers for Christ, dancing to a medley of some three songs. They were followed by a famous all girl vocal band VOHBIK accompanied by musician friends. Liandingpuii, the only Mizo soloist with an international album, took the stage after VOHBIK. Sadly, two other soloists couldn't make it to the show. However, the show went on with Abdiel, a steadily improving band from Shillong, Anchovy, winner of a few local awards, were next to rock the stage.

At this point, StoneJava was at the venue, all that were present were thrilled to hear that they were willing to 'jam' with the local artists.
Willing but they came without their gears. So the locals handed them their gears, they were ready. There had not been any louder roars of applause in Mizoram as the Event Manager welcomed StoneJava on stage. After each of the StoneJava members gave their solos, and Jekyll and Hyde and Just Reach out were sung with some of the local artists. It was great.

A short message on mission strategies was given by an American missionary, who came all the way from Thailand just for the three night concert. Thank God for dedicated men and women of God.

Now the stage was set for the locals again, EvenFlow, Rusty's favorite, a new blues rock band but with experienced players, took the stage after a dance was performed by three beautiful and talented girls. The time was right for Gothic Gospel, The Scavenger Project was next in line, dressed in their specially designed attires and presenting their very creative and digitalized Gothic number, 'Run Away'. To make it even more interesting, they were accompanied by dancers.

Back to good old solid rock, Incarnation, whose vocalist was commented by John Schlitt (on his first visit) as the most promising voice in Mizoram, did storm the stage as they rock away two of their hit singles. StoneJava was given their demo.

How about progressive rock? Oh yeah, that too. Drop Doubt, last but not least gave what was to be their last performance of the year. The crowd joined in as they played their greatest hit 'Take Away' and a progressive and 'hard to follow chords' theme song 'Drop Doubt'.

It was almost time to call it a night; there was only time for the most awaited worship team, CrossPride, to lead the people into worship. It was nearly 11:00 PM by now, but the crowd was extremely excited worshipping and praising God. Some even tried climbing the stage to shake the hands of the few Mizo youths who have dedicated their talents and life only to glorify God.

Having the stage reset for the main event the next day, preparations were on its way again. Prayers to calm the rain were the most common prayer item among the prayer warriors. Anyway, temporary roofing was made for the stage, but Praise God for His faithfulness to answer heartfelt prayers, there was absolutely no rain for all the three nights.

The first night, Tuesday May 20th, time was closing in. Surprisingly, not too many showed up. John Schlitt arrived with the band and was ready. The show was delayed hoping that there will be more people. Well, joy to those who are present, the show must go on. What a decent crowd though a few in quantity, the quality was Godly. With a welcoming roar from the crowd the show began. The sound from the south was exceptional and the lights did their work. What really amazes the Mizos is the way John and StoneJava showed their professionalism. They came to this remote part of the world, took the stage in front of a not so many crowd and yet did their best to bless the crowd and yes, it was a big blessing, No Doubt. None in the crowd sat even for one single song. It was raising of hands, singing along, praising and having fun with God brought on by John Schlitt among the crowd.

The next day before the concert, StoneJava was taken out to shop and sight seeing, having a great time.

The second night, there were a few more crowd the next night. Most of the Assam Rifles Officers and their families (Assam Rifles, the army who owns the ground/venue) showed up too. We did not expect this since they are not Christians. There are no reports of a big crowd even for the second night but the biggest miracle happened on this night. One of the army officers gave his life to Jesus. This had never happened before and no Mizo Christian has not or rarely reached this high ranking officers. Praise God a soul has made his first step towards the living God. As encouraging as this may sound attempts to interact with the officer failed.

Once again the small crowd that showed up was amazing. Much like the previous night, it was fun and energetic. This is as much as the credit goes to the quality crowd; it was a fruit of the band's commitment to give it all.

After the concert, the organizers came to know that someone (name with held) had prophesied over a local TV channel that it was a Satanic band that was coming and people should not be attending the concert. The female said that the band that is to perform is using the name of Jesus to glorify the enemy.

This piece of information was telecasted about two hours before the show began for the second night.

Whatever was the cause for the few turn outs, God had His way in the end, His ever winning ways. A soul has found His step towards heaven. Praise God.

Overall, except for the turn out, the concert was a success and even more successful spiritually.

Rock on John, rock on.

Chicco Renthlei