Paint The Town UK Tour - Abundant Life Church, Bradford UK (09 Dec 2005)
Last modified: 09 Dec 2005
Venue: Abundant Life Church, Bradford UK
Author: Andrew Murray
Date: 09 Dec 2005
The Abundant Life Centre, Bradford, home of the Abundant Life Church is an impressive venue, situated in the North of England and tonight hosting Delirious?, freshly back from South Africa and now playing the opening night of their latest tour to promote their latest set of songs.
Around 2500 people were packed into the main auditorium that was decorated with two huge Christmas trees and Christmas lights and saw 3 massive screens and various other plasma TV's at the front of the stage. The whole evening was filmed and played on the screens, meaning that everyone could see the action. For Delirious' set the words to all the songs were also displayed meaning that everyone, including those not familiar with the lyrics could sing along and join in.
Kendall Paynes' warm up set was well received by a very enthusiastic crowd before the lights dimmed and a gentle instrumental track played in the background as the 5 members of Delirious? took the stage. Martin grabbed the mic and began to sing the words "Here I Am Send Me" before inviting the crowd to join him. Suddenly Stu's guitar burst into life and the lights came on to reveal the band. Martin was dressed smartly in his suit, Stu was wearing a black shirt and black and white trousers (not sure how you would describe them, kind of zebra stlye-ish!) Jon looked incredibly cool with wrap around shades, Tim was wearing a bright red shirt and Stew was behind the drum kit wearing a vest top, displaying his drummers arms!
"Here I Am Send Me" sounded fantastic and after that the band launched into two World Service tracks that got the crowd in a frenzy - "Rain Down" is now a classic and got everyone jumping and "God In Heaven" had the crowd singing along.
Martin then welcomed everyone to the gig and explained that tonight was the first night they would be playing many of the new songs in the UK and as such to expect a few bum notes! He also made everyone applaud Stu's trousers! Then followed an hilarious moment when Martin was offered some Pringles by someone on the front row, so he stopped taking for a mid-concert snack! After the laughter died down the singer went back into serious mode - encouraging the crowd to worship as he sung the chorus from God In Heaven a few more times before a superb performance of Solid Rock (complete with Martin on tambourine!). TOBYMAC did his rap over the phone, but the song didn't loose any of it's momentum, and I personally found it quite powerful listening to Toby's vocals and reading the words on the screen.
If ever there was an album that was created to be heard live, surely it's The Mission Bell. "Fires Burn" was up next and again was brilliant, even better than the album version. As Tim played his keyboard, Martin then spoke about how the next song was written before launching into the incredible "Miracle Maker" - surely a concert staple for years to come. The whole audience were lost in worship and the song continued after the big finish, with everyone singing the chorus over and over with just Tim playing in the background.
Next up was the first surprise of the night - "Lead Me". A song from way back in the Delirious? archives. This didn't seem to go down as well as the more recent songs, as many people probably didn't recognise it - but for a hardcore fan like myself it was a brilliant surprise and even those who weren't singing along were surely impressed by Stu's brilliant guitar playing.
The opening bars of "History Maker" had the place in raptures and there was no doubts that everyone knew the words to this one! As the song quietend down, Martin took a trip into the audience and spoke to the crowd about the bands journey and how it still had the same fire and passion about inspiring a new generation of history makers. As Stew's drum beat got wilder and wilder Martin led the crowd in "Holy Is The Lord" before the song came to an explosive finish.
Next up - surprise number 2 as the familiar guitar riff introduced "Heaven", a superb track from Mezzamorphis that was a welcome return to the set list. "Paint The Town Red" continued the high tempo with Martin leading the crowd brilliantly - what a superb front man he is! "Take Off My Shoes" was my highlight of the evening. Simply superb. Martin sung clearly and passionately the words and the instrumental ending was quite simply breathtaking.
"Majesty" followed as the crowd were encouraged to raise their hands to the coming King. As the song ended, one of the most powerful moments I have witnessed at a Delirious? concert took place as Martin began what could only be described as a sermon, lasting at least 5-minutes. He began by telling the story of the crippled man by the pool who was waiting for a miracle and came face to face with the Miracle Maker. He then spoke to non-Christians in the audience, telling them that tonight they could meet Jesus, and if they did they would never be the same. He then challenged Christians to live out what they believed and make a difference in education, politics and the arts. I was so proud as he boldly declared he didn't give a stuff about record deals or topping the charts - it was all about changing lives.
After the preach, the band continued with Majesty and ended the song with the instrumental bit that is now customary. The main set ended with "Now Is The Time" which was one of the highlights of the night. After the "Jesus, Jesus," bit instead of the Stu G solo, Martin went into the crowd again and led them in the chorus several times. He then got out his Bible before realising he couldn't see in the dark! It was quite funny as he had to borrow a light from an audience member before passionately reading from Hebrews about God's glory. Then came the guitar solo and the band departed to a huge round of applause.
The encore began with another huge surprise - "Love Falls Down" - a much more rockier version than on the album with electric guitars making it seem more of an anthem. Sounded great. Martin then went to the Rhodes and the audience were invited to get out their cell phones and ring a friend. "Every Little Thing" closed the evening - everyone was singing along and Stu's guitar solo was again breathtaking.
Delirious? are now elder statesman in the Christian music scene but rather than resting on their past achievements they just seem to get better and better. Tonight the new songs sounded incredible, great to see some old favourites return too. Jon was in great form tonight - his bass pounding out throughout the evening. As for Martin, in the space of 90 minutes he switched seamlessly from rock star to worship leader to preacher and back again. Over the past few years I have left Delirious? gigs feeling blessed, encouraged and happy. Tonight was different. Tonight I left inspired. Inspired to ring the Mission Bell and paint my town red with the blood of Jesus!