Well, this was certainly a treat to kick off 2019. I won’t claim to be an avid fan of Snow Patrol because, well I’m not. Yet, I did really like their hits and their sound was always one that stuck with me to a certain degree. I mean, Final Straw & Eyes Open were definitely something special and I think most of us can agree that the big hits like “Chasing Cars”, “Run”, “You Are All That I Have” and “Just Say Yes” are going to be timeless songs that we’re still going to be humming along to, for many years to come. Well, last year they came back with a bit of a bang with their album, Wildness. I quite like the new songs, as I have said, I’m not a big fan but it was nice to hear them again after a bit of time away. At first, I was sceptical of them playing Manchester Arena but after seeing those seats fill up so quickly and the standing room getting taken over, yeah, I was more than convinced that this was going to be a good show.
Making her way on to the stage first was the young multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Roe. I do like an artist that can get on a stage that big on their own and just play to a massive crowd. She had the chops, I’ll give her that. Also, she had the tunes, decent little indie-pop ditties that were more than satisfactory. The bright electro synth style was really nice and filled the arena really well. Roe is a great singer, she doesn’t have a particularly powerful or forceful vocal style, but it fits the sound quite nicely. The performance was super tight and she felt like she was in control of the stage throughout her set. A nice blend of bright pop tunes and soft ballads showed off her diversity as a songwriter and kept the set dynamic and interesting. This was a solid performance overall from her and I would more than happy to hear more from her.
Next up was a surprise. Since I didn’t bother to look up who the supports were I didn’t fully brace for this. It was only, Kodaline, a band that I do really love listening to. So, I was expecting good things and I was not disappointed. I will admit though, it was a bit of a slow burn of a set. It started quite slow and the band seemed a little distant with not much enthusiasm or energy. That definitely changed and the band loosened up through the set and started to get the Manchester crowd singing and dancing. The songs were very well performed and they made their short support slot feel like a headline act. They just had that feel to them, especially when they started to pick up steam and put some energy and fun into their set. The crowd were definitely into it and you could hear people singing along to the words and the ones that weren’t singing were moving and clapping along to the tunes.Songs like “Brand New Day” and “High Hopes” were certainly crowd pleasers. Yet the song I think most people will remember from their set is “The One”, which was so well performed by frontman, Steve Garrigan. Ending their time on stage with “All I Want” was a great finish and left the crowd nice and warmed up for the main event.
The lights went down and the crowd show their appreciation for Snow Patrol as they came on stage. The band opened with “Take Back The City” and it wasn’t best of openings with Gary Lightbody’s microphone not really sounding great and sounding a little muffled. This was corrected quickly though. From that moving on to “Chocolate” and “Crack The Shutters” which was great and I feel this is where the set really began and Snow Patrol found their stride. You can tell that the band were genuinely humbled by the passion and energy that the crowd were giving them. I was liking the chemistry between the band as the performance was super tight. They were a well-oiled machine as they continued to crank out the new material and the old hits. The lights dimmed as they burst into the massive hit “Run” which, the band barely needed to sing as the crowd really stole this performance from them, with that iconic chorus echoing throughout the arena. It wouldn’t be the last time the crowd would highjack the set, nor would the band mind in the slightest. You could tell how much it meant to the band to be playing these new songs as they must have been sitting on some of them for a while. In particularly “Life On Earth” which sounded excellent. The live production was really good with every member sounding great with every note. Once the band were in that groove, there was no stopping them. The main set was capped off with the double whammy combo of the mega-smash hit “Chasing Cars” and my personal favourite tune of theirs, “You’re all I Have”. Definitely a strong finish to a great set.
After a moment’s break, the band returned to the stage for the encore. Which comprised of the new song “What If This Is All the Love You Ever Get?” and the slick and polished “Just Say Yes”. An impressive finalé, I must say. This was a great show, albeit, with a rocky start, it was still very entertaining. It really is impressive how ubiquitous their music is, I think you could have come to this set having never bought a Snow Patrol album and still know most of the songs here and have a good time.
Review by Mick Birchall
Photos by Philip Goddard