Gathering MAX - NEC Arena Birmingham (27 Oct 2007)
Last modified: 27 Oct 2007

Venue: NEC Arena Birmingham
Author: Dave Wood
Date: 27 Oct 2007

The Gathering MAX organisers did everything possible to make this an event with the widest possible appeal to youths and their 'unchurched' friends from all over the country. Firstly they chose one of the most well known and well used music venues in the UK, Birmingham's huge NEC Arena. Its very location, right in the middle of England, made it accessible to the largest number of people possible. Secondly, they made sure it ended early enough for all those people who had traveled from the furthest parts of the country to get home at a reasonable hour. Then thirdly, and most importantly, they concocted an impressive line up of entertainment, culminating in a 12 song set from Delirious?

So with an afternoon's music already under their belts, the crowd were suitably warmed up by the time Delirious? hit the stage. The impressive arena, with its banked seating either side, was in darkness as the stage lights picked out the sight of the five band members on stage. As is their recent custom, they launched headlong into Here I Am Send Me, then moved seamlessly into Rain Down. As if wanting to fill every moment of their time on stage with as much music as possible they continued their opening run with the funky Solid Rock and then the anthemic Now Is The Time.

The gentle opening tones of Take Off My Shoes came next as the band, now firmly into their stride, took the performance to the next level. Stu's stunning guitar solo towards the end of the song drew the crowd in as they watched in awe at the master craftsmen at work. Continuing the quieter, more contemplative mood, Martin's almost unaccompanied vocals rang out the opening lines of the new and uncomplicated We Give You Praise. The song's simplicity quickly attracted the crowd to join in the chorus, before the vastly more well known History Maker had them belting out the words in competition with Martin. Jon's bass and Stew's drums bounced across the mass of heads in the crowd and made every seat reverbate in time to the rhythm.

As the song lingered in the background, Martin talked about the band's recent trip to Asia with their wives and children. He spoke of visits to Cambodia where they "saw the worst things you can ever imagine seeing". As the crowd contemplated his words, Martin found a relevant passage in the bible to share with them. After a quick introduction to his fellow band members, Martin moved things back up a notch with Paint The Town Red. The energy charged song apparently took its toll on him as he then commented "I need a cup of tea now after all that running around!"

Majesty was next and Martin even ventured into a brief cover of REM's Everybody Hurts towards the end of the song. Bringing the main part of their set to an end, Delirious? performed Our God Reigns with it's worldly and thought provoking lyrics. The band left the stage without fuss and were soon replaced by evangelist Mark Ritchie who gave the evenings address. When he was finished Delirious? returned to the stage to end the night in style. First up was the brand new God Is Smiling with its high pitch guitar riffs and fast rocking tune. The show finale was Investigate and Stu's guitar seemed sure to explode as he thrashed around the stage in a state of superb indulgence. The crowd clapped and cheered as Delirious? lined up to take a bow before leaving the stage for the final time.

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Live Photos: Gathering MAX, NEC Arena Birmingham UK (27 Oct 2007)