Ok, so Sunday sees the end of an era with the last Delirious concert, when they play Hammersmith Apollo. As part of the end of the road type stuff Christianity Today, the US evoish mag, has an interview with Martin Smith. The article, through two questions asked, gives an insight into how the US religious media does and doesn’t get the UK as much as it does Delirious. In his answer it is touching that when others are disparing about some of the stuff happening in the CofE, (like the prospect of cuts due to budget deficits as reported in this weeks Church Times,) Smith gives a message of hope regarding this great institution.
“Is there a big worship music scene in the UK?
There are pockets of it that are alive. And there’s big pockets where they’re not. The UK’s similar to everywhere else in the world: It’s a secular culture and you’ve got the people of God raising the banner and saying, “Hey, I think there’s another way.”
Is it hard to break through to the secular culture in your homeland, even with the Church of England and Catholicism being so prevalent?
I think there are radical elements in each denomination just as there are conservative elements in the radical denominations. I’ve got friends in pretty much all of them. You connect with the people that want to see the world change. There are pockets of people in all shapes and disguises that want to see great things happen. But The Church of England is an amazing denomination with incredible things happening within it. I think that’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next year.”
My own memories and views on Delirious are mixed. I’ve heard them over the years in a range of settings: Glastonbury, Guildfest, Greenbelt and Folkstone and have to admit I have found them variable in quality. Folkstone was a kick ass gig where as in other settings they have been more mediocre sometimes. I remember seeing them at Greenbelt one year and being most underwhelmed. It was, I think, when they were going through their Big Audio phase and well, it was the worst in what used to be known as soft rock. For me the thing about Delirious was as a worship band they were actually very good, but as a secular band they were quite average. It was to do with content and delivery I think, and the attitude of the audience. Smith was excellent at manipulating the audience and was/is, at heart, an evangelist with a passion for pop. With the Christian stuff they also had material that a certain type of audience knew how to react to and that audience were their core market. Without the spiritual dimension to “entertain” with they were just another set of guys in t-shirts and jeans with a bit of talent for guitars and keyboard, etc.
This You Tube clip of History Makers shows my favourite Delirious song.If you listen all the way through, to how it ends, you find it nicely illustrates what I was saying about Smith and the audience.