Manchester MEN Arena - Saturday 7th March
My first introduction to Snow Patrol was way back in the early noughties when I first started to go to festivals with my friends so tonight is really bringing back some great memories for me with some old familiar songs like ‘Spitting Games’ and a few others from the Final Straw era.
The most striking thing at the beginning of the show is the visual display which precedes the bands entrance listing cities that, to them; feel like home. We have them all, Birmingham, Liverpool, Dundee and then it seems to finish. Amidst the initial buzz created by this there’s a distinct dip as you can almost see the question marks hover above the heads of the crowd thinking “well, where are we then?”.
Of course they don’t disappoint and we get our own screen that simply says “and now…. MANCHESTER” and the crowd erupts again as they finally enter the stage and launch into “Take Back the City”.
It’s a fantastic start to what turns out to be a mind-blowing gig. The impressive visual displays continue throughout, incorporating album artwork both old and new, all leading up to an astounding encore. If you haven’t witnessed it for yourself then look it up on whatever happens to be your favourite internet video site.
They lead into it by scrolling a back story on the screen in front of the stage which explains that during an electrical storm whilst recording the latest album, “A Hundred Million Suns” they came up with three songs which they merged together.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring to you… The Lightning Strike…” what follows next is the most amazing sequence of spiralling brightly coloured flowers and images of solar systems with the band playing behind it. When it comes to the second part the screen drops and it’s as if we have been launched into the heart of the sun. I can’t put into words how bright the backdrop is behind the band as they continue to play.
There were plenty of songs to sing to which we were encouraged to do, “Hands Open” and “Shut Your Eyes” being two which spring immediately to mind but by far the highlight of the whole evening was “Run” as Gary Lightbody ends up on the stairs in the seated lower tier, armed only with an acoustic guitar for accompaniment (and possibly protection) as he is soon surrounded by fans who are singing the song both with and for him.
He’s there for a hell of a long time, looks totally comfortable there and we are entertained further by a girl who forgets the words but also when he instructs everyone to turn their phones on and lean them upwards. As thousands of tiny blue and white lights appear he remarks “wow, look at that. It’s like doing a gig in space!”.
It was certainly a very beautiful thing!