After Christian rock band Delirious? wraps up their concerts in South America this weekend, the five-man group will be heading home to the United Kingdom where they will head out some of their last-ever U.K. shows.
"[Y]ou have twelve chances to see them," the band's promoters informed fans on the band's website. "[T]welve chances to jump, shout, wonder and leave feeling inspired, propelled and more than a little uncomfortable."
It's been less than three months since Delirious? announced their intention to break from recording and playing as a band at the end of next year.
The decision, they say, was triggered by a request from lead vocalist Martin Smith to be released from the band to pursue new projects including his work with the charity group CompassionArt and the desire to be at home more with Anna and his children
"We have of course honoured this request and made a decision together that now is the time to end this chapter of our lives," stated the band, which includes frontman Smith, guitarist Stuart Garrard (also known as Stu G), bassist Jon Thatcher, keyboardist Tim Jupp, and drummer Paul Evans.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that although this decision has been extremely painful and difficult, we are still great friends and our respect for each other is unquestionable ," they added in announcement made public on July 6.
" We love playing in this band together and know that even though 2009 will bring an end to this current journey, there will be more adventures together in years to come."
Delirious? is regarded internationally as a galvanizing force that helped change the face of worship worldwide and currently has 14 songs on the CCLI charts, including such international classics as "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," "Shout To The North," "Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble" and "Majesty."
Mercy Me's Bart Millard has recognized them as "one of the most important bands in the past 10-15 years," while worship artist Chris Tomlin recalls the days he spent with them on his first tour as "some of the most important days of my music-life."
"They've redefined the praise and worship scene," commented Christian hip hop artist tobyMac in his endorsement of the group. "[T]hese guys are true artists who point the way to God. They're also one of those rare bands whose music appeals to nearly all generations."
Over the past decade, Delirious? has closed for the pope in front of a million people in Germany; played in front of hundreds of thousands in India; headlined the 2004 Olympic Celebrations at the Omonia Square in Athens, Greece; toured with Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, and Matchbox 20; and was a headline performer at SWR3's Arena of Sound 2004 music festival, where more than 80,000 fans filled the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart, Germany.
Delirious? traveled to at least 25 countries in 2007 alone, and has traveled this year to Colombia, Brazil, India, Australia, Slovakia, Portugal, Holland, France and the United States.
The band's final tour in the United Kingdom next month is part of the promotion of its current album, Kingdom of Comfort, which was inspired by a sermon from popular Mars Hill pastor/author Rob Bell.
"Rob was talking about the contrasts in the lives of David and his son Solomon," Smith recalled. "David built a kingdom of heaven. And Solomon was more concerned about himself. All the decisions he made regarding intermarrying and wealth led to building a kingdom of comfort. Of course, hearing that makes us ask an obvious but important question: 'Are we focusing on building our lives with eternal things?'"
Recent tours have taken Delirious? to some of the poorest countries on earth, where they've faced encounters with life that made poverty personal and forced hard questions to be asked by each member of the band. According to the group, it sparked a newfound commitment to social justice and compassionate ministry.
"Playing in places like India makes us think about how we distribute our finances and how we're living our lives," Smith said. "It's imperative that we reach out and be a friend to the poor. That's the only way that God's light will shine upon us."
Taking their renewed faith, thoughts and questions about these journeys into the studio for its current album, Kingdom of Comfort, the band emerged with an album full of songs that encompass every aspect of highs and lows they faced in their travels.
"Seeing children looking for scraps on the rubbish dump they call homes in Cambodia and the education and feeding projects in the slums of Mumbai really had an impact on us," recalled lead guitarist Stu G. "It wasn't possible to simply proceed with business as usual. We had to ask ourselves, 'What am I building? A kingdom of comfort? Or a kingdom of heaven?'"
Smith echoed Stu G's sentiments, saying, "We just can't carry on the same way in any sphere of our lives."
"Everywhere you go there's a shift happening. People are evaluating what's truly important in life, and I think our new album reflects that urgency," Smith said.
Earlier this year, Stu G and Smith teamed up with Christian music stars Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Darlene Zschech, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Chris Tomlin and other internationally-respected songwriters for an unprecedented songwriter's retreat held in Scotland.
Together, the songwriters wrote 22 songs that will benefit the charities of their choice and a charitable project agreed upon by all 12 songwriters involved. The songs will be featured on an upcoming album that will also raise money for the charities.
So far, 14 songs have been recorded, and future recording sessions with the songwriters are being planned.
The release date for the star-powered CompassionArt album is set for Nov. 24, 2008.