Last modified: 14 Dec 2005
Navigating the streets of Bournemouth turned out to be slightly trickier than I had anticipated. This resulted in me arriving about half an hour later than planned. Finally however I found the Italian restaurant that Jon had described to me on the phone while I was going round one of Bournemouth's many roundabouts for about the tenth time. Thankfully they'd saved me a seat opposite Jon and as I sat down a young American lady stretched her arm out towards me to shake my hand and said "Hi, I'm Kendall". Next to Kendall was Stu G, deep in conversation with Rusty (the new guitar tech) and next to Rusty was Little Dave (the other guitar tech). Martin, Stew and Tim were on various other tables with the rest of the crew. Arriving late at a restaurant is never a good idea, and there's always that awkward moment when you realise that everyone else has finished eating and are all watching while you eat. With the meal finished, we all walk down the road to the Opera House, the venue for tonight's gig. As we passed a large double decker bus parked outside the stage door, Little Dave invites me in to have a look around the tour bus.
Inside, the tour bus is decidedly cramped with minimal head room. Downstairs is a toilet and a small lounge. Once you climb the stairs you find yourself in a larger lounge area (see above) and behind you is a series of beds either side of the walk way (see below), stacked two-high like bunk beds. There is just about enough space to lie down in each bed, but it's pretty 'cosy'. With the tour bus tour finished (it didn't take long) we head inside the venue and I find myself in the 'production office' chatting with Ian, the band's tour manager. This highly informative chat brings up all kinds of useful information. Ian confides the band's tour plans for next year (expect a bigger UK tour in the Autumn and a few new countries around the world) and explains how he selects the venues for a tour. Apparently on this tour they chose venues that were self-contained in terms of sound and lighting equipment, rather than taking their own on tour with them.
Next door to Ian's mission control is the Delirious? dressing room (see below). Inside I find Jon and Stu with red marker pens engrossed in colouring in the previously pink flowers on Stu's current black and white floral tour trousers. It's probably best not to ask them why. Kendall Payne's dressing room has an adjoining door and she wonders in, chatting away to the band like old pals. Actually they are old pals since Kendall also supported the band on their UK Tour 4 years ago. I quickly come to the conclusion that Kendall is a lovely girl, and she chats to me in a friendly manner for several minutes. There is a hilarious moment when Stew asks her when she is getting changed into her stage clothes, only to be told that these are her stage clothes. Soon it is time for Kendall's set, and she heads downstairs to the stage and from the dressing room we hear a huge applause as she starts to play.
With the sound of Kendall playing on stage in the background, Martin works out the band's own setlist. The band decide to drop Heaven and go with My Glorious and pretty soon Ian has printed out a finalised setlist for each band member. I cheekily request my own copy, to which Ian kindly agrees. Looking down the list I see they have 7 songs from new album The Mission Bell, but tracks like Stronger, All This Time and Our God Reigns are not including. I enquire about these, and Jon tells me that they're saving a few of the new songs back so that there is something new still to play on next years UK tour. Finally Ian announces that it's time for the band to go on stage. I'm honoured with the task of saying the ritual pre-gig prayer before we head down the stairs and into the darkness on stage. I find an ideal position to watch the gig, just to the side of Jon in the wings of the stage, and watch as the crowd goes wild. The concert is as incredible as ever, with so much energy and passion being ploughed into every song. I snap away with my camera and watch with interest as Little Dave scampers onto stage to replace a cable connecting Jon's bass to his amp after they've exchanged a few puzzled glances as to why his guitar has fallen quiet mid-song.
During Paint The Town Red, Martin climbs into the crowd and Ian comes rushing past me diving into the security pit to grab hold of Martin's ankle just in time to stop the crowd swallow him up completely. He pulls Martin to safety and almost throws him back up onto the stage. Clearly having strong arms is part of the job description for a tour manager. Apparently all is not right as Martin starts gesturing towards Trevour the monitors engineer. Presumably his ear piece is playing up and so Trev frantically twists a few knobs on the sound desk in front of him and soon Martin seems satisfied again. Once the gig is finished, Tim and Martin make a quick exit for the drive back to Littlehampton, while Jon and Stu are content to hang around and catch the tour bus on to the next gig in Bristol the following night. I say my goodbyes to band and crew and head back to my car, hoping I can find a quicker route out of the city than I took on the way in.