And how they succeeded. Not only is tonight’s gig a sell-out –
no mean feat given the venue’s overwhelming standing capacity
– but what’s more is that the gig comes hot on the heels
of another outing in the city just two weeks previously at the MEN Arena.
Mind you, kicking a gig off with a song as mind-blowing as Spitting
Games is always going to guarantee bums on seats, isn’t it?
is a situation which appears to come across as a little strange to front
man Gary Lightbody, as Spitting Games gives way to a three-song
intro which begins with a cacophonous medley and stadium-style light
display and ends with play-list stalwart Final Straw and the singer
professing his love of playing before Manchester’s audiences.
Rightly so. Here, they gave him the welcome befitting a prodigal son,
to which – at times - he seemed genuinely overwhelmed at the end
of How To Be Dead, the classic song of argument and make up
and, ultimately, break up.
Before an illuminated backdrop of moving screens, flashing lights and
dry ice, Snow Patrol conduct a show worthy of its venue and use Lightbody’s
obvious charisma to the Max, as he chats to the crowd, telling anecdotes
and asking if the crowd believe in love, before introducing the biggest
selling single of the year, Chasing Cars, the most moving song
on the album, Eyes Open, by far.
The set list also offers older, more obscure songs like Starfighter
but wherever they came from and no matter how old the songs were, they’re
all so well executed with an irrepressible energy that saw Lightbody
bopping around the stage like an excited schoolboy with a freshly strung
tennis racket in his hands, who knows full well Mum and Dad are out
for the night and all with the captivating ability of managing to remain
in control of both guitar and voice.
recent single, the ridiculously brilliant Set The Fire To The Third
Bar, sees Lisa Hannigan step into the absent Martha Wainwright’s
shoes; a role she fills with all the poise and sheer talent for which
she is renowned. Which is only bettered by the strongest new album track
of the night, Make This Go On Forever, which is just, well,
is sublime too light a word for such mastery?
Yet the highlight of the show, for all of its energy, gusto, creativity
and excitement, is not this but rather a superlative rendition of Run,
which makes an appearance just before the encore. What a song this is.
Moving, empathic and, certainly not to overstate its case, iconic, Run
is destined to become one of those songs everybody knows where they
were when they first heard it, surely, and Lightbody’s vocal –
which has, in previous times, struggled with the low register of this
track – is flawless tonight. Not that it would matter anyway.
The crowd sing loud enough to carry the song right to the end, in a
magical conclusion befitting of a sterling performance.
on the rhythmic humping and dumping of You’re All I Have
and Open Your Eyes left the assembled eleven thousand, as they
should be, that is to say begging for more, after an hour and three-quarters
of top class entertainment.
One more thing. This is only the second gig to be held at the G-Mex
in ten years and previous visits – notably to see Phil Collins
and Sting in the early nineties – brought fears that the gig would
be ruined by crap acoustics, over zealous security guards and –
simply – bad management. Not a bit of it. The venue has come on
leaps and bounds and it is with expectancy rather than trepidation that
gigs should be anticipated in future.
This was one solid night out from start to finish with, clearly, the
most exciting band of the moment.
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