“I couldn’t get Coldplay tickets” I moaned to a friend.
“Why do you want to go? Aren’t you afraid of Covid?” she retorted. “You don’t even want to participate in church events, yet you want to go to a concert?” she remarked, exposing my hypocrisy.
This Coldplay concert also turned into a political issue, with PAS calling for it to be banned. And we have Khairy Jamaluddin retorting to PAS ”Eh kalau tak nak jangan pergi, berhenti cakap pasal Coldplay” (“If you don’t want to watch Coldplay, don’t go”) . Then there’s the fiasco of scalpers selling the tickets at inflated prices.
It certainly looks like there are conflicting opinions about concerts. What should our Christian response be? Should we also avoid concerts? Aren’t we supposed to be “in this world,” and not “of this world,” as Jesus’ said in John 17:16? Again, Romans 12:2 states;
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Is going to concerts an activity “of this world” which should be avoided so that we can maintain our “Christian purity”?
Should we adopt the pragmatic response, “why spend so much money on the show when the money can be given to the poor?”
Is it wrong for us to indulge in a concert once in a while when a good performance comes along? Coldplay is a secular pop group, it’s not religious. I don’t know what their personal beliefs are. But they don’t appear to be Satanists. Their lyrics seem benign. They sing of human emotions, experiences. And the music is fantastic.
“Why do I want to go to such a concert?” I ask myself. “Is it midlife crisis?”
Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. Deep down, the real reason why I would have liked to go to the Coldplay concert is that I’ve watched their videos on the internet and I’m mesmerised by their songs and performance.
I can just imagine that I’m swaying in an iridescent sea of people, dancing to the hypnotic beat of “Viva La Vida,” Chris Martin and group singing live; all of us also singing the same song.
I’m living for that moment, engulfed in the sounds, smells, sights, lights, and movements of the crowd, and savouring every minute of life. In that moment I’m not a saint, I’m not a sinner, I’m just a human being dancing in a sea of humanity.
The song’s Spanish title, “Viva la Vida”, is taken from a still-life painting by 20th-century Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, of watermelons. It’s of luscious watermelons, a few sliced in patterns exposing red juicy flesh, with one cut in a wedge with the words “Viva La Vida – Frida Kahlo.” She died eight days after producing this masterpiece.
For me, the title of the song and painting points to the same thing: savour every moment in life; eat it, consume it, enjoy it, remember it.
Life is short. Before you know it, it’s gone.
I’ve been a disciplined person all my life. But I know that in my attempt to walk the straight and narrow I’ve failed to really enjoy the goodness, sweetness, tanginess, saltiness, bitterness, umami-ness of life.
I’ve witnessed so many sunrises/sunsets and failed to truly imbibe their splendour. I’ve failed to enjoy food in my haste to wolf it down. I’ve failed to appreciate my hands, feet, and senses. I’ve failed many a time to savour the time spent with loved ones and to say “I love you” deeply and meaningfully. I’ve forgotten to let my hair down sometimes, laugh out loud, and just be plain silly.
I’d like to take a big bite of life, savour every morsel of it, and thank God for this gift of life.
Music cuts through social class, religion, colour, race, and age. Everyone is touched by music regardless of whether poor or rich, intelligent, or simple, able, or disabled, young, or old. Music transcends time and space and is a song of the soul. In a sense, music is synonymous with life.
So back to the first question – is it ok to attend the concert?
I think the answer lies in Romans 14:1-23. It’s a “yes” and a “no”. It’s not necessary to “dispute over doubtful things”. I think for a person who is disciplined and who knows his/her limits, going to a concert should not hurt their physical/ spiritual life, and it’s ok to go. But for another person who’s “weaker,” who may be easily tempted to pursue sin, then perhaps it’s better not to go.
As for me, the decision was cast when I didn’t get the tickets. Circumstances determined the outcome, which lead to me to writing this piece and I will savour it. I hope you did too.
 PAS Leader’s call to cancel Coldplay concert in Malaysia 11.5.2023 ChannelNewsAsia
 KiniTV 19.5.2023
 On the surface the answer seems good, but it all boils down to the intention of the heart. Didn’t Judas Iscariot say something similar regarding the extravagance of Mary in pouring out the oil in John 12:4 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold … and the money given to the poor?”
 French Revolution, meaning of ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay. Musicgrotto 2nd May 2023
 A Song About the Temporary Nature of life. teambonding.com/viva-la-vida Feb 19, 2021
 Viva La Vida – Wikipedia.