Hammersmith Apollo
Last modified: 24 Apr 2006

It was a bit of a last minute decision to go and see Delirious? in London last night. We had a friend staying for the weekend, and when he left I made a dash to the train station to head up to London. As is always the way when you're tight for time, you turn up at the station just as the train is pulling away. Not a good start. Thirty minutes later I catch another train and finally head towards London. As I recalculated my arrival time, I realised it was going to be shortly after 7pm before I arrived at the Hammersmith Apollo, venue for tonight's Delirious? gig. "Shouldn't be a problem", I thought to myself. Since when have Delirious? even been on stage before 7pm? But just to be safe, I sent a quick text to Jon to find out what time they were due on stage.

A few minutes later my phone rang. It was Jon. Turns out they're due on stage at 6:40pm. Bum. Looks like I'm going to miss the first 20-30minutes of their 70minute set. Two hours (each way) on the train for an incomplete 40minute gig was starting to sound like a bad idea. Oh well, too late to turn back now. I arrive in London and dash to the underground to take a train along the District line to Hammersmith. Feeling slightly breathless at my exertion, I find myself in a carriage with several people wearing London Marathon medals around their necks. Their 26mile run earlier that day puts my 2 minute dash across Waterloo station into perspective.
Photo from the side of stage

Finally at 7:10pm I arrived at the venue and as I walk around the side to the stage door I can already hear Martin belting out Paint The Town Red. Through the stage door I'm met by a security guy who takes my name, nods (they never talk to you unless you've done something they don't like) and leads me through a corridor to the stage area. I find myself standing behind the monitors desk, to the side of Stew's drum kit which is bouncing up and down in time to the song. A quick glance at the setlist on Trev's sound desk tells me that they're only on the third song. I've missed Here I Am Send Me and Rain Down, but I'd expected to have missed a lot more arriving 30minutes after their scheduled start time. It turns out that the band were late going on, something about the dance act before them over running. God bless those dancers.

Since I'm on the side of the stage I decide to take a few photos where I am, creeping right up to the side of Stew's drums to take a shot and getting deafened in the process. As I crawl behind the equipment to surreptitiously take a few photos of the band on stage, I discover that my stealthy maneuvers have drawn the attention of a headphone wearing lady loitering in the shadows of the stage. As headphone lady comes over to whisper in my ear I sense I may be in for a difficult time. Apparently she's the stage manager and wants to know who I am, as she hasn't seen me before, and why I don't have a pass hanging around my neck. I'm surprised to find her very amicable as I explain that I arrived late and wasn't given a pass by security at the door, and that I'm here legitimately with the band. She would have been perfectly within her rights to ask me to leave immediately - I've met enough people backstage in the past to know that you can expect to be met with little sympathy if you don't have that all important AAA pass. But she takes a friendly approach, and I watch as she goes off to find Delirious' tour manager, Ian Cattle, and points me out to him. Thankfully Ian knows me very well - he's at practically every d: concert and we've spoken on numerous occasions. He nods his head, whispers something in headphone lady's ear, and she turns back to look at me. Gives a little smile and nods her head. I'm officially approved. Phew.
Crawling around at the back of the stage

As I continue watching a few songs from behind the monitors desk, Jon glances over and spots me, as do Stew. I smile and they grin back at me realising that I'd made it at last, albeit it several songs late. Having taken several photos from this position I'm ready to head out to 'front of house' (as the techy's call it) to get some shots of the stage. It occurs to me that if I don't want to have to go through this same routine with the security person who is certain to be stationed at the door to the main arena, I better try and get myself a pass. I walk over to Ian who shakes my hand and says hello before handing over a pass to me.

Out the front I discover there is no photographers pit in front of the stage, but I manage to squeeze my way to the front anyway since most people are in seats and only a few have chosen to stand in the aisles or at the front. I snap a few shots of Stu, Martin and Jon and notice that Tim has spotted me and gives me a wave. Next I decide to head up to the balcony for some aerial shots. I find the balcony about three quarters full, which is not bad since it is absolutely huge. It offers a great view of the stage and is ideal for taking a few photos since there are wide empty aisles down to the front of the balcony where I can crouch and rest my camera on the railing.
The stage seen from the balcony

I return to my favoured position on the side of the stage next to the sound desk to watch the rest of the gig. The band finish on Our God Reigns and make their way to the side of the stage. They greet me and lead me back to dressing room A1 - a room I remember from when I last saw the band at this venue back in 2002. I apologise for missing the start of their set, and point out that it is the first time in 42 gigs that I've ever missed part of a d: gig. The band chat for a while and I discover that they're due to go back on stage for a further few songs when the event's speaker, Colin Dye, has finished his talk. Martin tells me that the band got mentioned on TV that morning. He says that one of the runners in the London Marathon was interviewed on TV and said that he was looking forward to going to a Delirious? concert that night. A nice little mention for the band.

Ian comes into the dressing room to tell the band it's time to head back to the stage. Colin Dye is still on stage speaking, but the band silently creep on stage, pick up their instruments and quietly start playing What A Friend in the background. Lots of people have come to the front to request prayer for healing, and the security guys between crowd and stage look decidedly uncomfortable with what's going on. Delirious? had been due to play another four songs, the set list had I Could Sing, Take Off My Shoes, Love Falls Down and Paint The Town Red listed, but Colin's talk is over running and the venue's 9:30pm curfew is fast approaching. So Ian grabs a mic at the monitors desk and speaks directly to the band via their earpieces, to let them know that time is nearly up and that they'll have to finish after this song. Even so, What A Friend has now lasted nearly 15 minutes as the band keep it playing in the background while Colin and his helpers have continued praying for people in the crowd.
Jon smiling for the camera

Finally the band finish and leave the stage. Back in the dressing room they are particularly pleased with the transition from Majesty to Our God Reigns. Most of the band are heading off back home, but Stu is staying over in London as he's due to be a guest presenter on TV's 'The God Channel' the next day. I head back home on the train, having thoroughly enjoyed the show and glad that I ended up only missing a few minutes of the gig.