I don't really know where to start. Last night was amazing. I was already in high spirits having enjoyed a Romano Padana in Pizza Express before the gig, and was only slightly deflated by arriving at the Hammersmith Apollo to find a looooong queue waiting for us to join. Kindly, a woman behind us offered bin-bags to use as temporary waterproofs. She was either a girl-guide leader, or had done a lot of outdoor queueing in her life.
When we got inside the support act was already mid-way through their set. It must be tough to support Delirious? but the Cutting Edge band did a good job. Sporting early 90s clothing and a wig or two, this young band performed some classic worship tunes to an eager crowd. One of my song predictions - "Open up the doors" made an appearance here, as did fifteen or so excitable children; the offspring of Delirious?, who lead us in a good old knees-up.
[I am beginning to annoy myself by always including the ? in Delirious?, but it is their name... The Apollo left it off on their board outside. They also made another small blunder, in that they played "always look on the bright side of life" when the gig had finished*. Hmm.]
Anyway, after a lot of anticipation Delirious? walked onto the stage to perform for the last time (officially, at least). They rocked, and this is why:
1) Lasers! Ok, so that's not to do with the band, but the lighting was cool, and it helped create the atmosphere. I'll get on to the better stuff now...
2) Stu G! One of the best guitarists I've ever seen, and yet previously I'd never witnessed a real guitar solo from this king of Christian rock. This time was different; he let rip on a couple of occassions. Go Stu G! He also performed solo, treating us to a blues version of King of Fools, played on a guitar as old as his mum.
3) Stew Smith! Stew left the band two years ago, but last night he made one last appearance as a second drummer for Investigate. I would suggest that his facial expressions while playing surpass those of even Alan Rose.
4) Deeper! Yay! I really wanted to hear them play Deeper, as I've never heard it live and it's one of their best songs IMHO. When they kicked in with the intro the crowd went wild. A man towards the front of the stage stood on his friends' shoulders and lead us in singing. He was repremanded by stewards, but later Martin Smith (lead singer) presented him with his ubiquitous red and white megaphone as a gift.
5) Videos! At various points (between encores) they showed humorous and poignant videos of the band on a big screen. One fan remarked, "Yeah, Delirious, they're a pretty good as a band, I like them. I haven't seen them or anything," which was funnier than it sounds.
6) Historical moments! Wives being presented with bouqets, thank-yous to managers, friends and saviour... It was very, er, special. It was good to be a part of it, I'll keep my ticket for as long as I can. Maybe one day I'll tell my grandchildren, "yes, I remember seeing the great Delirious play for the very last time..."
*[Update: I emailed the Apollo about this and they replied saying that the song was chosen by the band/promoters so I might take it up with them. Confusing though.]