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DELIRIOUS? Farewell Concert by George Luke | Fusemix.com

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DELIRIOUS? Farewell concert
HMV Apollo, Hammersmith, London
Sunday 29 November 2009

It’s now been a couple of weeks since one of the biggest bands to emerge from Britain’s Christian music/modern worship scene held their swansong concert in London. I was there – but for various personal reasons (new job, flu attack, dad in hospital having knee surgery), I wasn’t able to write down my thoughts on the gig earlier. Still, it was such an awesome event that it’s still fresh in my mind weeks later.

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It’s very rare for the support act at a gig to be just as eagerly anticipated as the headliner – but then it’s not every day that a headlining band is its own support act! The choice of the Cutting Edge Band (i.e. Delirious as they were called on their first couple of albums) as support was a divinely inspired bit of irony, and a real “only in Britain” moment. Dressed in the old outfits they used to wear when they were the Cutting Edge Band (and including one hairpiece – it was a long time ago, remember), they sang oldies such as “I Could Singe of Your Love Forever” and the jiggy country jam “The happy Song”.

Sadly, I missed the Cutting Edge Band’s support slot – but was very reliably (and repeatedly) informed that it was great fun. After an abortive attempt to get into the way-too-full standing area downstairs, I plumped for a seat in the balcony, which not only offered a better view but meant that I found myself sat next to Tim Jupp’s mother and uncle (who was kind enough to buy me a pint in the bar during the after-show party).

Tell you what? I go on forever about how great this gig was, and what the special bits were. Instead (and assuming there’s going to be a DVD of it released at some point soon), I’m going to give you a “skip to these bits” list. When the DVD does come out, these are the crucial scenes to look for:

• Stu G in a kilt (the beginning).
• Stu playing a couple of acoustic songs on a guitar “the same age as his mum”.
• The bloke standing (and dancing) on his mates’ shoulders during ‘Deeper’, and Martin rewarding him for it by giving him his megaphone.
• The band temporarily becoming a six-piece when Stew Smith joins them (with an extra drum kit) for “Investigate”.
• The performance of “Sanctify”, combining the band’s two great loves: Music and soccer (more on that later).
• Martin paying tribute to all the band members’ wives (got to get that one gooey moment in), and the “D-daughters” on stage, dancing with their dads.

“This is not an end,” Martin Smith informed us via video at various points during the gig. “It’s a beautiful beginning.” For me, it was a realisation that the lads from Littlehampton have been kind of a constant presence in my life, somewhere in the background. They’ve been going as a band for 17 years – just about two or three years shorter than the length of time I’ve been into this music journalism and writing about Christian music thing – and our paths have crossed several memorable times. I remember settling down to interview Martin Smith over the phone when the Mission Bell album was due for release, and him asking if we could make it a short one, as he didn’t want to miss the England vs. Poland soccer game that was about to start on TV! And this year I made my debut as a TV interviewer, firing questions at Stu G for a video interview for the Greenbelt festival website (I was off camera). I’ve been to a few farewell gigs in my time. But for several reasons, this one will be hard to beat. So long, D-boys…

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