Delirious? - Hammersmith Apollo, London
Last modified: 04 Dec 2009
After 17 incredible years, 8 acclaimed albums, millions of CDs sold and concerts in more than 40 countries around the world, the moment that every Delirious? fan hoped would never happen finally arrived:
The final ever Delirious? concert
When the band announced their intention to close at the end of this year, every fan knew this night was coming. Yet somehow the reality of the occasion seemed somewhat removed as thousands of fans, many wearing original t-shirts from the 'early days', packed into the vast Hammersmith Apollo in London on 29th November 2009. It was a sell-out of course. How could it not be? Young fans, probably unaware of the extent of the d: journey, rubbed shoulders with men and women who could remember the days when going to see Delirious? meant turning up to the beach in Littlehampton and dancing along with the entire town as five young men dreamt of making a name for themselves.
And so the scene was set for the final chapter. Starting right back where it all began, the crowd heard the announcement: "All the way from 1992, please welcome the Cutting Edge band!"
. With little fuss, five men calmly walked on to a simple stage setup with their instruments in front of a white backdrop. Opening the night with an almighty roar, the Cutting Edge band launched straight into a song that set out their stall from the outset, I'm Not Ashamed. Continuing the message they sang Louder Than The Radio before Martin Smith swapped guitar for mandolin and announced The Happy Song, despite joking that they had promised themselves years ago that they would never play the song again!
Running through a sequence of songs which have become favourites in churches around the world, they performed Shout To The North, I've Found Jesus (including a brief chorus of Come Like You Promised) and Thank You For Saving Me, which was followed by a short chorus of White Ribbon Day sang perfectly by the crowd. Another worship classic came next as I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever saw a sea of arms outstretched. The quiet and contemplative Find Me In The River was next, before the boisterous Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble rumbled around the walls with its thundering drum beat. As the song ended the band's children came running on to the stage to join in with Dance In The River, before Martin pulled out a candle, lit it and sang There Is A Light. Placing the candle into the arms of a fan in the front row, the band left the stage, leaving the candle burning as the words of the Lords Prayer resounded in their wake.
With the Cutting Edge days well and truly covered, the stage was reconfigured ready for the main set. From behind the white curtain stretched across the stage, the silhouettes of the five Delirious? members could be seen as they opened with the chorus from All This Time. Then the curtain dropped, revealing the full stage and the band, as Bliss exploded into life with an impressive green laser show projected out from the back of the stage. Next up was God Is Smiling, followed by My Glorious where the band were projected onto the video screen from a series of miniature cameras fixed around the stage. With its green tinged visuals displaying the lyrics, Solid Rock came next. Reflecting on their long career Martin reminded the crowd that when they started out people used to write letters instead of e-mails and that their albums were released on cassette tapes. Older fans seemed to nod in agreement while younger fans listened with respect, or maybe disbelief, at the longevity of the band before them.
Gently easing into the powerful ballad Its Ok, Martin and Tim performed alone until later in the song when the rest of the band joined in for the climax. Pulling on replica football shirts they performed Sanctify next, against a backdrop showing a video of them playing the song at Wembley Stadium back in 1997. The pounding drum beat of Obsession with its reverberating bass line echoed around the room as thousands of voices called out "and my heart burns for You"
. As four members of the band departed the stage, it was left for Stu G to continue the show in the form of a bluesy solo rendition of King Of Fools, played using a guitar which he said was as old as his mum, "And I'm pleased to have them both here tonight"
As the rest of the band returned, there was another run of high energy songs as Rain Down, Deeper and then Paint The Town Red followed. Using his customary megaphone to emphasis it, Martin ended the song and then handed the megaphone to someone in the crowd who had caught his attention. "This is for you, I don't need it now"
he said in a poignant reminder of the finality of the evening. Inside Outside and then Jesus Blood were next, followed by choruses from King or Cripple and True Colours. Then it was the modern worship favourite, Majesty leading into the chorus of Our God Reigns.
As an extra drum kit was rolled on to stage, Martin introduced founding band member Stew Smith to rejoin them on stage as they performed the spine tingling Investigate with two drummers impressively synchronised. As all 6 men left the stage, there was never a chance that an encore wouldn't follow. And sure enough, dressed in a white robe and crown, Martin took his place in an arm chair on stage to sing Kingdom Of Comfort. The rockfest that is Stare The Monster Down screamed into life next as Martin acknowledged his fellow bandmates by name: Jon, Paul, Tim and Stu.
If ever a song could sum up the story of a band it is Delirious? and History Maker. As the very essence of what they have sought to instill on music fans around the globe, it both inspires and encourages. Tonight it seemed to take on a life of its own as every voice in the venue sang at full volume about being a history maker in this land.
Leaving the stage once more, the band appeared on the video screen in a series of pre-recorded thank you messages to their millions of fans. Returning to the stage for one last song, Delirious? performed My Soul Sings, with Martin's voice notably struggling to stay composed as the night of high emotion reached its peak. As their wives and children joined them on stage for their final bow, Delirious? signed off from one of the most remarkable journeys any Christian band has ever undertaken.
As the band were at pains to point out on several occasions through the evening, and the course of the past year. Tonight may have been the end of the Delirious? chapter, but the book of History Makers is very much still open. Now the author's pen is in the collective hands of a generation.