Saturday, May 23, 2015

3: Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble - Delirious/Cutting Edge Band

Oo, that's a surprise. Delirious? Really? Third best piece of music of all time?

Even given the Southampton connections and my experiences of them as "Martin Smith and the Cutting Edge Band" circa 1994, this is a surprise. A few other Delirious tracks made the long list - Obsession was the last to be kicked out - but this one started near the top and never got moved. And that's because of what it says, what it does and how it manages to be over nine minutes long without you even realising it.

But it's mainly in there because you can pick up the guitar, start chugging away at it and it can go anywhere. The original album version gives the basic outline - stay mainly in D, go to G and add an E note in there sometimes, then back to D; use A sparingly as a build-up to the chorus, but aside from that it's mainly just those two chords. And that's all you need. You can follow the words or go somewhere else entirely - there's an ad-lib section from a concert circa 2000 where Stu G - the lead guitarist - goes into a very catchy riff before merging it with the key musical phrase from 'Run The Hell' by Pink Floyd. And the song is open for that, you can do what you like and go where you want, exploring words, rhythms and melodies that can come and go like the wind.

One of the most memorable examples of this for me was one of the first occasions I heard the song, at a Cutting Edge event in early 1995, back before they were 'Delirious' and when they still had female backing vocalists. And off they went into an unplanned section, the female vocalist ad-libbing amazing poetry about freedom and "dancing on the chains". And I remember the tears in the eyes as I had to sit down right there on the floor, feeling not just the weight of emotional burdens lifting from my shoulders as I realised negative feelings and circumstances had no hold on me, but the incredible realisation that the chains were now just sitting on the floor, ready to dance over in victory, ready to fly from, ready to never threaten me again. If I could share one feeling from my life with the rest of the world, that would be it. And this tune, this song, this... framework almost, comes as close to expressing that as anything else I've ever known.

Dancing on the chains.

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