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Gig Review: SNOW PATROL Hit The Hydro In Glasgow

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SNOW PATROL made a triumphant return to Glasgow and filled its largest venue to the rafters.

Time to come clean, I am a metalhead but for as long as I can remember Snow Patrol have been my “dirty little secret”. I first became aware of them with “Final Straw” which I am sure was where many of the gathered crowd tonight fell in love with them. After all these years I finally got around to seeing the boys live and after this show I realised just how much I have missed.

As if to apologise for their absence and as a statement of intent they open with “Take Back the City” and boy did they do it in style. This was no one way street though as the smiles on the faces of every band member clearly stated ”we are back”, back in a country that accepted them in and are happy to call them one of their own. A long time ago these Norn Irish boys attended one of our best universities and the seeds were sown for this now globe busting band.

Next up was “Chocolate” and those familiar tones floated through this massive venue. This is where we first get a taster of their magnificent stage show. The lights were dazzling and for a venue that sometimes struggles with good sound quality tonight it was crystal clear…in fact if you shut your eyes you could not tell that this was live it was so close to the recorded versions.

With “Crack the Shutters” three huge transparent curtains enveloped the stage and the band and lasers painted pictures all around. As the beautiful sound of keys and vocals floated to my ears the vision took me back to a time long ago, in my bedroom where I had made a tent and had a cheap, crappy torch with interchangeable fronts in the shape of pumpkins, skeletons and ghosts. That was something I had not thought about for a very long time.

The first big hitter tonight was “Open Your Eyes” from the album of the same name that threw the band onto the world stage. The crowd reaction to those first chords said it all and it was this moment that made me shake my head at the fact I had left it so long to see this band live. As a man who sees so many bands in dirty, dingy venues here in Glasgow I can only imagine what it would have been like to see this band way back. From this first live experience I instantly knew I would have been in awe back then as much as I am tonight. This band is exceptional and no matter what your music tastes are talent is talent and it cannot be denied.

From one huge hit to another with “Run”, and the band would have been as well taking a four minute and 26 second break as the crowd tonight were in amazing form. The Glasgow choir showed just how they got that name and the irony is not lost as we are all screaming “ even if you cannot hear my voice”. This moment was so special, holding back tears due to the sheer power of this performance I realised this moment was to go down as one of my all time gig moments and as happens with music I will take it to my deathbed.

As if to accentuate the last song “You Could Be Happy” comes on and again I get taken back to another life, another moment and another time in my life that was a story told in song and that was something that was lost in my past but with those lullaby tones it was back.

With new song “Life on Earth” we are told that it took five years to write and the boys have obviously been studying at the school of Axl Rose for delayed releases. Joking aside this was another beautiful moment and hopefully the crowd reaction let the band know all that time and pain was worth it.

Another biggie in “Shut Your Eyes” and the boys are firing on all cylinders and enjoying every moment as they stare out to 12,000 fans. As if there was not enough personal emotions tonight we are introduced to “Lifening” which is dedicated tonight to Johhny McDaid’s late father. We are told of how he made an impact in a country like Glasgow that has been plagued by sectarianism. It is personal stories like this that make a difference, this is why I go to live gigs and this man sounded like a complete legend.

The emotions are in the ringer again as “Chasing Cars” comes to life. One band in one night has reflected my life from past to present. As this songs states just forget the world and this again is what music does…no matter what is happening in your life as you walk through those venue doors the world is left behind and it is not lost on me that the person standing next to me has had a really tough time recently and the smile on their face tells its own story, a story that music can change anything.

For the encore we get another new song and for me the stand out track from Wildness in “What if this is All the Love You Ever Get” and if those lyrics told a true story everyone here would be happy with the end result, especially as we had to help out on those high pitched notes.

Tonight was eye opening for me and I can confirm that Snow Patrol are back with a bang and bigger than ever. Before this show was even half way through I was thinking I will not miss a show of theirs again and with what I take it was a deliberate slip that band inform us they will see us at TRNSMT festival this summer…I for one will be there.

Images and words Ritchie Birnie for metalplanetmusic.com


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