The last time I was I SWG3 there were Coco Pops thrown, rubber ducks won and dancing on tables going on around the room, this time couldn’t have been more different.
To celebrate 25 years and the release of Reworked – a collection of their biggest tunes reworked in a new style, Snow Patrol hosted a series of intimate gigs across the UK.
Originally planned for mid-December the gig was postponed due to sickness and fell on the busiest weekend of my year so far, however this was a gig I couldn’t miss.
An older crowd as expected meant less ruckus and a slightly more pleasant atmosphere – though it is still Glasgow so plenty of bams in attendance.
Having never been to a gig to small for a well-established band before I was taken aback by the warmth of the audience, with a jovial ambiance and an almost familiar attitude – even Gary Lightbody, known for his friendly demeanor – was encouraging hecklers and involving them in the show.
I attended the gig on my own, mainly because nobody was that interested in coming along with me, but also to try to prove that I could. Often my anxiety gets in the way of me doing things on my own, but I was determined to see one of my favourite artists in such close proximity.
I say close proximity, I was pretty much out the door – hence my terrible photos! Lightbody was obscured by a pillar for most of their set but I was mostly there to hear some of the songs that soundtracked my teenaged years.
Opening with the repetitive bars of Chocolate, the audience was rapt.
“With a name I'd never chosen I can make my first steps As a child of twenty-five”
This song feels particularly relevant to me now, I found it difficult in the past couple of years adjusting to the expectation of being an ‘adult’ once I moved out and got married while still feeling very immature in a lot of ways. I know this is a far cry from the message behind Chocolate, but as one of my favourite songs of theirs it has drawn me in again the past few months.
I always remember having a version of this on my iPod, taken from a notorious site for acquiring songs but it had a glitch and any time it played it would repeat the first verse over and over until skipped, meaning I could easily listen to the first few lines on repeat for an hour before realising.
Next, the opening bars of Crack The Shutters encouraged a hush over the room. Easily, in my opinion, their most beautiful song – Lightbody’s delivery invokes real emotion and his lyrics paint a clear picture.
Creating an image of lazy mornings in bed, in the heady days wrapped up in each other – while the ‘broken radiator’ implies a youthful ignorance and the idea of ‘playing house’.
Before breaking into their breakthrough single, Run, Lightbody expressed his delight in being In Glasgow ten years after writing the song that propelled them to fame in the city. At a time, he said, where they had no money, no girlfriends and he had no teeth, this song came at the right time and gave them a new beginning as the Snow Patrol we know today.
With the crowd drowning out his iconic velvety vocals, the euphoric atmosphere took over with every world sung back at him. The initial friendly atmosphere I felt at the beginning of the evening returned as the room felt every note of the undeniable anthem.
Peppering their songs with Lightbody’s always-witty commentary, he made light of a false start and slightly mis-sung lyrics with the proclaimation;
“I still don’t know the words to the fucking songs, but I promise I wrote them!”
With a slight change of pace, Think of Home was the next track to be delivered in the acoustic style they do so well. Dedicating it beforehand to his father whom he lost at the tail end of 2019, the audience were reverent in awe of this modern day classic.
And classic it truly is, the emotionally charged performance felt incredibly poignant – to be in a place he called home when younger at a time when he’s in such a vulnerable place, it was certainly conveyed and felt even at the back of the room.
In an incredibly raw admission, he acknowledged that with his singing, and our listening – a covenant of sorts was formed in that bond before dismissing himself, however I don’t believe that anyone in that audience would argue with that description.
The beauty of a gig as intimate as Sunday’s means that there is always an element of participation not felt at venues such as The Hydro, or even the 02 Academy to some extent – and with a back catalogue as engaging and well-loved as Snow Patrol’s, this aspect is very welcome.
With encouragement to sing along at the beginning of You're All I Have, a few fans at the front of the audience went one further and continued to add their own harmony throughout – and rather than it irking him it appeared to genuinely deliver Lightbody as he continued to engage with those at the front of the stage, even having lighting adjusted when it was proving to be too bright.
In a change of tone and one of the most modern of their performances, Heal Me proved – unfortunately – separate the most engaged fans from those whose interest seeming piqued at Fallen Empires with calls for Called Out in the Dark to be played instead.
However the almost-hypnotising delivery truly makes one feel like the only person in the room – of all gigs to attend on my own this was definitely a wise option as my attention was held from the very beginning.
The instantly recognisable intro to Chasing Cars once again had the crowd singing in a thunderous chorus. Notably the most-played song of the 21st century, it was always going to evoke a massive reaction in the venue.
With the invitation to ‘lie with me and just forget the world’, something easily done with the silky vocals, I could have listened all night. I’ll always remember this being the first Snow Patrol song I heard sitting outside a B&Q in the car with my mum, knowing instantly that I loved the artist but not having words to explain how, I simply told her how much I loved ‘his breathy voice’.
Ending on a high, Open Your Eyes brought another wave of anthemic singing to SWG3. Typically punctuated with heavy guitar riffs, this acoustic arrangement ended the evening on a high
With the crowd bellowing out the lyrics with head-throwing vigour, each Snow Patrol gig leaves the impression that they can’t possibly better themselves – however each time they prove this wrong and blow it out the water,