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Review: Books, Theatre, Movies, Albums & Gigs.

Snow Patrol live in Liverpool 2009Snow Patrol

Take Back The Cities Tour

Echo Arena, Liverpool.

Friday, February 6th 2009
1hour 20mins.

Snow Patrol’s latest offering, A Hundred Million Suns, is a nice, compact album of thirteen new songs, three of which – in the band’s own words – have been stitched together to form The Lightening Strike. Of these thirteen, four truly stand out as rivals, though not beaters, of songs such a Chasing Cars and Run upon which the band have made their name.

One of these four, Rocket, opened proceedings and it all gets off to a flyer, with the packed crowd responding to Gary Lightbody’s cajoling and frequent references to the “beautiful people” of Liverpool at every opportunity.

Snow Patrol live in Liverpool 2009Chocolate, Spitting Games and the fabulously self-detrimental How To Be Dead all follow on, interspersed with Hands Open, You Could Be Happy and Shut Your Eyes quite nicely, thank you.

Then Lightbody disappears and ends up at the side of the Arena armed with an acoustic guitar and an audience member named Claire to hold the microphone so that he can sing Run, the enigmatic song of ripped up relationships that all but saved Snow Patrol’s career single handed.

Why it’s given such rough treatment here, then, is something of a mystery. Okay, some audience participation is always welcome but continuous interruptions in order for a singer to interact with his crowd only serve to render the piece almost meaningless.

Back on stage, its not long before Lightbody’s teasing with the opening bars of one of the greatest songs ever penned finally culminates with a solo rendition to the opening of Chasing Cars is finally ended by the powerful closing section that has everybody bouncing and singing along at full pelt.

This is more like it and then, just to add to the fervour, Shut Your Eyes has everybody repeating the tagline as one, with hands held suitably aloft. Surely the two remaining hard-hitters from A Hundred Million Suns are on the way, now that the mood’s with the band? Or maybe, hopefully, the one true classic that wasn’t a single from the Eyes Open album, Make This Go On Forever?

But no. A great version of Set The Fire To The Third Bar, an excellent Crack The Shutters – another of the four that deserve the term “classic Snow Patrol” –
and a rousing Open Your Eyes and Take Back The Cities bring proceedings to a halt, before a huge white sheet drops to explain the reasons as to why The Lightening Strike became one rather than three songs “stitched” together. Something about a power cut whilst recording and some unexpected time for reflection, as a sensational light and image show is performed before the audience.

Snow Patrol live in Liverpool 2009Lightening Strike is a nice, calm series you’d quite rightly enjoy in the arms of your loved one after a decent night down the pub. But as a closing assault on an audience desperate to go home on a high it doesn’t work and you suddenly become aware halfway through, how much more room there is in which to move around.

Polite applause, that is somewhat echo-ridden by its end, duly arrives before You’re All I Have finally brings the gig to a close with Lightbody staying back awhile longer than his cohorts to applaud the “beautiful people” into the night.

Bizarrely it seems there is to be no performance of either Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands, the fantastic piece of reflective story telling from the new album, or the tailor made gig song, Disaster Button, which tells of the highs of, well, playing and being at a gig that lives with you forever. A song that by being omitted is nearly Disastrous in its own right.

The White Lies played four songs in support, including arguably their biggest hit to date, Gonna Live My Life, and served their cause no end of good, setting out their stall of power ridden guitar and vocals so as to demand further investigation.

But it was Snow Patrol we’d paid to see and although this was an excellent gig, filled with all the right songs to make a difference between okay and mesmerising and with an interesting and at times jaw-dropping light show, with the omission of some of the band’s newer heavyweights there’s a strange atmosphere of anti-climax by the time everybody has trooped off stage. “Ripped up ticket stubs”, indeed, and little sign of being “up and on my broken limbs”, as the rain fell from a damp night’s sky.

Chris High.

See also: Snow Patrol review 2012


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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