The final Delirious gig

Been wanting to post this since I wrote it, but had to wait for the new issue of Youthwork (in which this appears) to arrive. It now has – so here’s my review: Delirious bow out with sell-out… let me know what you think – especially if you were there!

DELIRIOUS BOW OUT WITH SELL-OUT

British Christian band Delirious called time on their 17-year career with a sell-out farewell tour in November. The Littlehampton rockers, who once enjoyed chart success with songs such as ‘Deeper’ and ‘White Ribbon Day,’ played six dates around the UK in the final leg of their ‘History Makers Farewell Tour’, finishing at London’s 4,500-capacity Hammersmith Apollo.

Delirious have played to millions of people worldwide over the last two decades, and the final gig was a suitably epic affair, with the band playing as their own support act, albeit in the guise of their former incarnation, The Cutting Edge band. This opening set, which featured subtle references to their early-90s look, included performances of early worship songs including ‘I Could Sing of Your Love Forever’ and ‘The Happy Song.’

After a brief break, and costume (and in one case hairpiece) change, the band returned to play a two-hour set including many of their best-loved and most memorable songs. An early highlight was King of Fools track ‘Sanctify,’ in which the band donned the same football shirts they wore during their 1997 Wembley Stadium appearance at Noel Richards’ ‘Champion of the World’ event. Singer Martin Smith brilliantly mimicked the movements of the original performance, which was relayed onto a giant backdrop behind the stage; and throughout the evening this screen displayed a number of vintage images and video clips from the band’s career.

The relentless set featured songs from all seven of their studio albums, including ‘Bliss’ (Mezzamorphis), ‘Jesus’ Blood’ (Glo) and ‘Love is the Compass’ (Audio Lessonover). ‘Obsession’, the bass-heavy Cutting Edge song which graduated into the heart of the 90s Delirious live show, was also present, backed with moody red lighting and impassioned vocal.

Perhaps the most moving moment of the show came when former drummer Stew Smith (brother of Martin) rejoined the band for ‘Investigate’. However, rather than having Stew step behind replacement Paul Evans’ kit, roadies brought a second drum kit onto the stage, allowing the band to very briefly become a six-piece. The appearance of Smith was a surprise to many, as he had not played with band since his departure from the line-up in 2008.

Songs were interspersed with stories, thanks and prayers from the frontman, whose energy and appetite for props and costume changes were as great as ever. Towards the end he even donated his trademark white megaphone to a delighted audience member, who Smith had spotted crowd-surfing moments earlier.

After two encores, the gig finally drew to a close with the soaring ‘My Soul Sings’, at which point the band’s wives and children (we counted 18) took to the stage to embrace them and share in the long and warm crowd ovation. Among his closing words of thanks, Smith turned missional troop-rallyer, telling the crowd ‘this is not the end, it’s the beginning, and now it’s over to you.’ From the start, the focus was on Delirious fans picking up the gauntlet to be ‘History Makers’ – radical disciples living to make a change in their culture. ‘This was never really about us,’ said Smith finally, ‘it was always about you.’
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