Blog: Martin Smith - Live In Cardiff

Mar 11 2015

LTTM guest blogger Gavin Owen caught Martin Smith live on his latest God's Great Dance Floor Tour in Cardiff and sends us this review.

Martin Smith - Live at The Globe, Cardiff UK - 25th Feb 2015

Seeing Delirious several times over the years, from opening for Bon Jovi at the Millennium Stadium in 2001, to several Greenbelt festival appearances, to witnessing their farewell tour at the Bristol Academy in 2009, it's fair to say they are the band I have probably seen live most over the years in numerous settings.

I had high expectations for this show, having also seen Martin Smith’s last performance on the Big Church Night In tour at All Nations Church in Cardiff in November 2013.

Upon entering the venue it was a relief to be out of the rain but having never been to The Globe I was surprised at the intimacy of the venue compared to the 200+ crowd that Martin Smith performed to on the Big Church Night In - this was going to prove a much more intimate affair.

This feeling of intimacy between audience and performer was realised when Nathan Jess took to the stage with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone.

Could a solo musician with a stripped back set successfully warm the crowd up for the upbeat energetic set that you expect with a Martin Smith performance?

In short, a resounding Yes. Armed with a set of songs from his latest album “Love Stands Forever”, lyrically and stylistically it’s hard to not draw comparisons to his fellow countrymen the Rend Collective, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The stand out song from his set was also his set closure, “No Limit To Your Love” to which the whole audience sung in harmony the poetic chorus, “There is no limit to your love and grace, greater than we’ll ever know, you showed it on the cross, no limit to your love”. It set the crowd up perfectly for the appearance of Martin Smith and his band who took the stage roaring straight into “Fire Never Sleeps” from Smith’s debut album. With pounding drums and driving guitars it's almost the ideal opening song for any concert, but kicked off what was to be a great night.

One thing that really stood out was that Martin Smith, being the veteran of the Christian Music scene for the last 20 years, could easily surround himself with seasoned experienced musicians but instead has chosen to invest in and take a chance on younger musicians and it’s a gamble that’s definitely paying off as the band on the night are tight and perform as a solid unit. Songs like “Catch Every Tear” and “Waiting Hear For You” turn this from a gig to a worship service with times of quieter reflection that sees numerous hands raised and eyes closed while singing the words in harmony, to full on upbeat praise complete with pogoing and clapping during “Back To The Start (God’s Great Dance Floor)”.

Throughout the evening there was even a sprinkling of Delirious classics, with parts of “History Maker” and “Obsession” making an appearance and even a rare outing for “Find Me In The River” from the Cutting Edge days. Two of the other stars of the night were Sarah Bird, who play synth and also co-led vocals on several tracks which really enhanced each song that she sang on. Sarah's husband Johnny Bird, who’s intricate guitar work really drove numerous songs forward, looked in his element on stage and came across as very expressive. All in all it was a memorable night and managed to tick several boxes of being a time of worship, celebration, rocking out and quiet reflection.

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