The night with Hillsong United began as we waited longer than usual for the concert in Bangkok to start. Thai time even affected the Aftermath world tour…
That’s when we found out the delay came due to a major electrical problem. The heat of the day was overloading the electricity in the area, especially the arena, leading to surges and malfunctions. Apparently, Simon (one of the members of the band) got electrocuted 6 times. The stage even set fire twice prompting the tour manager to make an announcement to the fans waiting in anticipation outside the convention center doors. He told us the concert likely was cancelled to protect the safety of the fans and the team. They had been working hard for 5-6 hours to get things right…but they would give it another 45 minutes. At this point we almost waited two hours past the scheduled time for doors to open, which was 6:30 pm on June 8 at the Tamasat Convention Center.
We decided why go after making the trip out to see them. We can stick around, even if one guy in our group had to wake up at 4:30 am to get ready for work. My first reaction was a bit of sarcasm, saying to our friends, God surely will protect us if we are worshipping him…but remembering sad tragic events where Christian leaders died while performing baptisms or preparing to deliver a Sunday morning message negated my over eagerness to risk our safety for an experience with Hillsong United. Cause, how often will they be in Bangkok…this is the first time. Second, I initiated our group to pray at the same time groups throughout the crowd of showgoers began to do the same.
After the moment of prayer, people began spontaneously singing worship songs, mostly from the Hillsong catalog, but worship rose up from the mouths of patient concert goers waiting for an incredible moment inside. As they waited, a powerful encounter happened right with us as we worshipped. One person from the audience shouted out, nothing can stop us from worshipping our God.
At that point the mood of many picked up, and optimism picked up as we heard various loud sounds from inside as they began running a sound check. We might actually get a concert, I thought.
And we did.
The concert began (approximately 3 hours after the doors originally were to open) with their signature Aftermath video that begins their show in every city…which led into the big sound and ecstatic energy of the new song off their new album, Aftermath. Thai Christians, missionaries, students, NGO workers and people from a wide variety of countries entered into exuberant worship during the energetic songs and passionate praise during Hillsong’s signature worship ballads. The group played some of their all-time great songs such as “From the Inside Out”, “Mighty to Save”, and “Hosanna” along with a selection of songs from their new album. At times the room filled with the noise of crunching electrical guitars and pounding drums while at other moments the moody notes of the keyboard led the audience in contemplative worship. The band concluded a late night with a crazy and frenetic rendition of “One Way” igniting a room of jumping fans into a frenzied exclamation to a great night of worship inside and outside of the arena.
Above all the music and emotion of the night, we felt the presence of God heavy in the room…
I know I want to see something incredible unleashed as God moves in this city and nation…perhaps this helped loosen up some of the strongholds…not just as the crowd of people sang their hearts out in worship, but as concert promoters and workers called their friends in prayer meetings to have them pray that this event might still happen. This morning after less than ideal sleep, my Thai teacher asked me how the concert went….with the electrical problems and all. I said, how did you know. She answered with a smile, saying her friend called their prayer group and asked them to intercede. More people in Bangkok praying together have to be a good thing.