Royal Albert Hall, London UK (09 Oct 2005)
Last modified: 09 Oct 2005
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London UK
Author: Dave Wood
Date: 09 Oct 2005
The Royal Albert Hall in London is not only a massive tourist attraction, it's not just an incredible piece of stunning architecture built in the 1800s, it's also one of the most outstanding concert venues anywhere in the world. With it's circular perimeter, dome shaped roof, blend of red bricks and beige trims, the outside is certainly impressive to behold. But the Albert Hall really comes into it's own when you reach the arena inside. The huge round room with an unbelievably high ceiling is surrounded by stalls and balconies reaching up to the roof. Seats, carpets and drapes are all in a deep plush red, giving a grand regal feel to this most impressive of venues.
For once, Delirious? weren't the headline act for tonight's concert. They'd been invited to be the support band for a certain 'dubya' from America. No, not President George 'dubya' Bush, but Martin's good friend and namesake Michael W Smith. The man is a legend in the USA, having sold millions of copies of his 18 albums and 10 books, and still busy touring the world after two decades in the music business. Michael's brief passage through the UK allowed for a stop at one of London's most exclusive music venues, and the 5000-odd seats sold out weeks in advance.
And so the scene was set. A wide, tall arena, packed to the age-old rafters with music fans of a multitude of generations. The general buzz of anticipation gave way to rapturous applause as the house lights dimmed. With the stage in darkness only the eclectic wail of Stu G's guitar rang out, echoing off the circular walls and reverberating into the dome above the crowd's heads. As the band appeared the applause grew louder still. Opening song Rain Down rang out with thousands of voices singing along to the chorus.
Keeping the full-throttle energy emitting tempo going, Delirious? continued with God In Heaven. The frenzied light show poured down onto the stage as Martin strutted around the stage like he owned the place. As band and crowd regained their breath, Martin took a few minutes out to teach the audience the chorus to one of the songs from their forthcoming album. Now Is The Time has recently undergone some major studio-surgery since it first emerged as a freebie-CD over the summer, and tonight the new version was given an airing. Set at a faster tempo, with guitars and drums now even more resplendent, the song sounded fantastic and Martin had a visible smile on his face at the crowds reaction.
Referring to the 'Royal' nature of the venue, Martin announced that they'd decided to dress up a bit for the show, although he conceded that the pink cravat that hung around his neck might have been a little over the top. The beautiful sound of the worship-ballad Majesty came next. The stage was drenched in blue light and as the song reached the chorus Martin invited people to raise their arms to God if they were comfortable doing so. Every single pair of arms in the building pointed heavenward and the atmosphere of worship hung in the air like an early morning mist. Not letting the moment end too soon, the band continued with an extended instrumental ending to the song.
History Maker brought the crowd back to life with it's ability to demand every mouth join in with the words. The beams of light from high up in the ceiling circled around the audience, lighting up the history makers as they sung. As Stu continued to play the familiar riffs, Martin opened his bible and read to the crowd. The loudest cheer yet was reserved as a response to the words "God is alive!". Martin followed this by singing "And my heart burns for you" - a line that was instantly repeated across the room. As the song ended Delirious? thanked the other Smith, Michael, for having them along for the night, before sensing a perfect opportunity to let the crowd know about their new single. Paint The Town Red roared into life with it's punk-rock style vocals and full-on tune. The lights fell dark in perfect synchronization with the end of the song, and the Littlehampton five made their way off stage to a standing ovation. It may have been "dubya's" crowd in the Royal Albert Hall, but Delirious? were shown recognition of more than generous proportions for the stunning 40 minute performance.