GO TO MORE GIGS PEOPLE! (when the corona virus lockdown is over). Then you can say ‘I was there’.
This concert is at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti also known as the River Plate stadium in Buenos Aries, Argentina, recorded in December 2009. Capacity is about 70,000 people and it looks full to me. The concert series was recorded in HD as ‘Live at River Plate’ and was the last to feature rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, and bassist Cliff Williams.
I had always assumed this song, originally released in 1979, was an invitation to accept that we are all so bad that we are going to hell (even though we don’t really believe in it), so we might as well go wild and enjoy the party while it lasts. However, according to the normally unimpeachable Wikipedia, it was inspired by the arduous nature of touring constantly and life on the road.
Here’s my take on it now, inspired by this religious icon. It’s a standard image called Anastasia – Greek for ‘resurrection’ and it shows Jesus breaking down the gates of hell and lifting people up from death and slavery. As a Christian, I want to join in with the mission of Jesus to set people free, so I’m on the Highway to Hell with him; I hope you are too!
There’s no place you can go to escape God, no place where you can’t be reached, as Psalm 139 puts it :
Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
In the 1970s Blondie had a string of hits and although the publicity made them look like a manufactured pop product, they were in fact a ‘proper’ rock band as you can see here.
This song was a big hit in the 1980s, having been written as the main theme for the film ‘American Gigolo’ in which Richard Gere plays a male prostitute who is framed for murder. ‘Call me’ is being sung from the point of view of his character, clearly an advertisement and invitation to make use of his personal services. I’d like to re-purpose the refrain of the song as a message from God to us all:
Call me on the line Call me, call me anytime Call me, oh my love When you’re ready we can share the wine
These corona virus days are troubled times and this is an invitation to pray. Pray for those suffering the disease and its after-effects, pray for grieving families and friends, pray for stressed and lonely people, poor and frightened people. Pray for God to guide our leaders, pray for the medical staff and all the key workers. Pray that some good will come from this for our society, our economy and our environment. And if you’re reading this in the future when this particular crisis is over, I’m sure there will be something else to pray about – just read the news.
God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.
‘Roots’ has so many meanings – family history, the place where you grew up, the community you are in now, or the culture you were once part of – which might not be the same as your current beliefs and lifestyle.
Can you ever really go back to your roots? Your childhood friends have moved on, your parents will pass away, your home town looks small, and your own ideas about life develop while the whole the world keeps changing. Even if you had some roots once, you can’t ever really find them again.
We are all lost in the universe and the universe doesn’t care. That’s existential angst for you. Alice Moreton is singing about the way we all want those roots, and our sadness at not having them. But I think she has the answer too.
There are many stories in the Bible of people who left home, migrated, sometimes as refugees or captives. The collective yearnings (spread over centuries) are summarised in this passage, Hebrews 11.13-16 where the writer says people “agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth … but they were looking forward to a better home in heaven”.
I’ve got no roots, but my home was never on the ground