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  Welcome Back! But To What?

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  Roger Waters: US + THEM. Live DVD

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Snow Patrol Live in Manchester


Manchester O2 Apollo, 1 December 2019

Band Members

Gary Lightbody (vocals, rhythm guitar)
Nathan Connolly (lead guitar, backing vocals)
Paul Wilson (bass guitar, backing vocals)
Jonny Quinn (drums)
Johnny McDaid (piano, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)

Seamus Heaney, my favourite poet of all time, said at 71 that he was only discovering what some of his poetry means, and this is coming from a Nobel Prize-winning poet. It’s a great testament to inspiration,” says Lightbody. “Sometimes it takes you five years to write the thing. Like now. And you know for sure when you finish an album like that, where you’ve poured over every detail and put every atom of yourself into it, everything makes sense and I bet you I’m never not proud of this record.”


I first witnessed a Snow Patrol performance back in the late 90s at the Dublin Witnness Festival. Back then the band was well loved in Ireland but yet to make its mark in the UK. The band climbed slowly in the popularity stakes until the release of ‘Run’ in 2004 which hauled them up the ladder by many rungs. It was, and still is, a classic pop rock song containing all the vital elements - melody, choruses, words and passionate performance. The band’s song-writing has improved dramatically and in my view was better than the icon of the day, Coldplay. Many of the band’s songs have charted around the world from several albums but it was in 2006 with ‘Chasing Cars’ that the band’s popularity and recognition was cemented into UK pop history. I saw them perform again in 2007 at the V Festival and I witnessed a band full of skill, enthusiasm and confidence - they played a blinder in front of the biggest crowd at the festival.

So here I am again and 2020 is knocking on the door, thirteen years later and in the event of a new album release called REWORKED which as the name implies welcomes in new updated versions of some of the band’s most popular songs plus a couple of new ones. I arrived at the iconic O2 Apollo venue in Manchester an hour early to grab a free parking space and was surprised to find, well, nothing! No people, no cars and I thought I might have arrived on the wrong day. But no, the band coaches were present together with some young fans waiting in anticipation at the back gate to the venue. A bit later people and traffic began to arrive until the seated venue was full and the excitement palpable.


The large stage was packed with instruments which were soon claimed by the band at the allotted hour. Massive cheers erupted from the audience as Lightbody claimed his central and leading spot on the stage armed with an acoustic guitar and a very large smile. In the dark background I spied a violinist and established that this show would have all guns blazing. And I was right. ‘You’re All I Have’ opened proceedings with an explosive drum intro and quickly Lightbody’s wonderful vocal. It was a great opener full of great words and truckloads of melody, and was it crowd singing that I could hear from behind my camera? It was the inspiring opening to the year’s best live show.

Lightbody was in light and talkative mood explaining that there would be no break in the show as previous and there had been doubts as to whether the band would play due to illness but no way was he not going to play Manchester - to bellowing cheers from his audience. I really don’t remember the singer sounding as good while the band matched his vocal performance with wonderful instrumentals and backing vocals. What followed was a setlist made in heaven and spanning no less than seven albums. The stage set was magical with video backdrops matching songs and sound management that enabled every lyric to be heard with great clarity.


The audience started to sing in earnest as the show progressed. Special moments were many but the first arose when Lightbody talked about his much loved grandmother back in Northern Ireland and sang the most emotional song dedicated to her. Lightbody kept up the audience discourse with both comedy and more serious observation. It was a masterful and supremely entertaining display that for me took this band into new skilful and entertaining heights. In short it was a triumph, most welcome at a time I feel the UK music scene is at its lowest and most mediocre ebb.



You’re All I Have**
New York*****
Warmer Climate**
I Think of Home****
Crack the Shutters*******
Take Back the City*******
Spitting Games***
A Dark Switch*
Heal Me*
Set the Fire to the Third Bar**
Called Out in the Dark*****
Shut Your Eyes**
Chasing Cars**
Open Your Eyes**


What If This Is All the Love You Ever Get?*
Just Say Yes******



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