Last modified: 09 Mar 2006
After getting stuck in Bath city center traffic jams for 15 minutes or so, I finally managed to find a car park, find the venue and find the nearby restaurant where I was meeting Delirious? It was a little later than planned, and band and crew were near the end of their meal - so I said a few quick hellos and left them to finish. Across the road the queue was forming (those dedicated d: fans like to turn up nice and early) so I stopped for a chat with the lovely Clare and Lizzie who were numbers 1 and 2 in the queue. I then wondered inside the venue with Jon and Dave-the-roadie as they left the restaurant, and took a look around Bath's The Forum. The outside didn't give away much, but inside it was pretty impressive. Built in the 1930's as a cinema it is very art deco, spacious and grand. A huge video screen hung at the back of the stage which would be used for lyrics and videos during the show. A sizeable pit between crowd barrier and stage allowed plenty of maneuvering space when it come to taking photos, and a quick trip up to the balcony would allow for some aerial shots.
From the stage a short corridor led to the band's dressing room. A large, fairly empty room with comfy blue chairs and little else. A few greetings with the rest of the band take place and Stew comments, in mock disgust, that he's annoyed that people in the queue knew who I am when the day before in Swansea he walked right through the crowd before the gig and not a single person said "Hello Stew" or recognised him. (So if you go to a gig this week, make his day and say Hi). There are various new members of crew around, that I haven't met before, to do the front of house sound and monitors. One of the crew wheels his aunty into the dressing room to meet the band. "I'd like you to meet Aunty Ethel" (names changed to protect said people's privacy). "Hello Aunty Ethel" the band say, and all kindly get up to shake her hand and chat. Tim compliments Aunty on her scarf and Martin talks with her about "posh churches".
Support singer Jon Bilbrough leaves the dressing room and a few minutes later a big roar can be heard from the crowd as Ian the tour manager introduces him on stage. The band are starting to get ready for their set, Martin's hair dryer is going. I leave the band to their warm ups (Stew taps on his knee drum pad, Jon twangs away at his bass, Martin lalalas away to his iPod) and go and watch JonB's set. He's very good, with some really strong songs and he holds the crowds attention well. I bump into Paul the merchandise guy and we have a quick chat before I head back to the dressing room to find the d: boys. They're all changed and ready to go. As always Ian leads the way down the corridor to the stage. As the band wait in the wings ready for the house lights to go down, I make my way to the 'pit' and prepare to spend the gig rushing around taking photos. Finally the lights go out, the crowd goes crazy and Delirious? can be seen taking to the stage through the shadows.
Being a church-based gig the stewards and security are all fairly nice normal people instead of the hard-staring bouncer type muscle men at the secular venues, so I don't get the usual hassles of being told that even with a pass I can't stand 'there' (it doesn't matter where 'there' is, it's always the wrong 'there' if a security guy takes a disliking to you). So I snap away in the pit, take a few more from the sides and head up into the sparsely populated balcony for a few more. Delirious? are putting on a great show and the crowd are extremely receptive, clearly loving every minute of it. For a few songs I watch from the back of the venue behind the sound desk, before heading back to the pit to take a few more photos. Stood directly below Jon (the stage was quite high) he catches my eye as he notices me pointing a camera at his face and flashes a brief smile, which I fail to capture as the lights go low at the wrong moment and the picture comes out as a blur.
The gig comes to an end and I catch up with the band backstage in the dressing room. They all seem pleased with the show and feel that it was a great night. Stew asks if I got any nice photos of him and Martin enquires if the gig felt too long. Pretty soon Tim, Martin and Stew head off to drive back to Littlehampton for the night, but Jon and Stu are hanging around and catching the tour bus on to the next venue, Norwich, with the rest of the crew. Jon and Stu have nominated this as the Squash Tour and have initiated a daily game of Squash before each gig - so they plan on finding a leisure center in Norwich the next morning. I chat with them for a little while before taking my leave. Outside the crew are loading endless boxes of equipment onto the lorry. Another gig put to bed.