The Vision

And I saw a burning chariot,
And the four horsemen of the apocalypse,
Waiting on high,
And I heard the thunder rolling in,
And behold our leader on a pale horse riding in the sky;

And I saw this land a battlefield,
With a hundred thousand men,
Fighting hand to hand,
And I heard the sounds of victory,
And the rivers ran red with the blood of our enemies;

And I, I saw fire from the sky,
I saw fire, and I saw paradise, (paradise,)
Fire from the sun, I saw fire,
And I saw Alpha and Omega;

Fire, I saw fire,
And I saw paradise, (paradise,)
Fire, I saw fire;
"It's actually three songs, and one of my long specials! Quite simply, what happened was that I was in a hotel in France. We'd just flown in from Gatwick on a couple of small aeroplanes last summer for a tour, and were in this empty hotel having lunch. As I've probably told you before, I'm very affected by visual images - and quite often photographs and pictures - and I looked up and there was this picture done in an almost pre-Medieval, birth of man style of art. It depicted a group of warriors holding spears, and wearing furs and bear skins. They were standing in a semi-circle, with their backs towards me, and on a beach where the sea had gone out a long way. There were little pools of water, and up in the sky the sun was behind the clouds - but you could definitely see it reflecting off the water and the dark clouds. They were all looking up expectantly and waiting for something to happen. I thought it was a fantastic picture, and I stared at it for ages. Then, suddenly, I got the impression that what those warriors were doing was waiting for their leader to come back - and that's where the song began. I've taken that kind of pre-historic feel from it and filled it full of images. For example, I've mentioned Stonehenge; 'A circle of stones on the head of a hill - tonight is where it will be'. This group of people wait for their leader to come... I've deliberately tried to make Biblical references, but as you go through the song you'll notice that it's actually got nothing to do with Biblical times - and everything to do with what's happening today. I think that people who know me and know my lyrics will absolutely have a treat here, because of all the different allusions. From the Book of Revelations, comes the pale horse of death and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And the singer is standing in this desolate place waiting for something to happen because he's received a message, 'Tonight is the night'.

Suddenly, this incredible movie explodes in front of his eyes with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, hundreds and thousands of men fighting hand to hand, thunder rolling in - and he sees his country, his own land, is the battle-field. He hears the sounds of victory and sees 'the rivers ran red with the blood of his enemies'. He sees fire from the sky, he sees paradise, he sees the leader - who is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last - and this incredible explosive vision is right in front of him. It's really exciting - we've thrown the kitchen sink in! At the end of the piece, the thunder rolls away and we're left with the wind and the silence. It runs into a third song, What About Me?, which goes 'I'm left in the night, trembling with fear. I have seen the future - and the future is here. Our leader will bring victory, but our land is in flames. And as the final sounds of battle disappear I had to say 'What about me, and you - and the ones that we love?' What this is really about is today's leaders; Reagan, Thatcher, Gorbachov, Gadaffi - anybody like that who claims to be the leader who will bring peace. What they are, people like that, are the ones who say 'We'll win the battle'. What this humble man in the song sees is his own land totally destroyed in the fight - and the leader comes along and says 'OK, I can look after things'. There's this absolute, seering cry at the end of the piece - when you hear it, you'll feel the emotion. It's to do with 'Why? - why? So we've got a strong leader, but why does our country have to be destroyed?' So it's very much about what's going on today but, again, I tend to enjoy putting things into old settings. People can make the parallels in their own minds. And finally, this extraordinary emotion is silenced and we come right back down to just the wind and this lone figure standing on a hill."
The Getaway Gazette, May 1986


"The Vision" appears on the following albums:

Into The Light