Photo Â© Ramsey Cardy www.shoottothrill.co.uk/
The Waterfront Hall, Belfast
23rd Dec 2013
2012 saw Snow Patrol complete yet another world wide tour, only to come back to their hometown of Belfast to finish with two special âAcoustic Christmasâ shows at the Waterfront Hall. Compared to the arenas the band are used to playing, these were set to be very intimate gigs indeed, both selling out completely in just a couple of minutes. Alana Turk was lucky enough to score a ticket for one of these shows & here’s her review.
âItâs not as acoustic as we let onâ admits frontman, Gary Lightbody, as he enters centre stage. Stepping over numerous cables and monitors, he is joined by keyboardist Johnny McDaid and lead guitarist Nathan Connolly. The threesome swiftly open with one of their first hits âChocolateâ. It is apparent from this point that this is going to be a very light-hearted and relaxed concert as the crowd take control of the lyrics and the band beam back at them.
âWeâve already done a matinee and now you are the evening show, so Iâm expecting a little more drunkenness… and just general misbehaviour. Alright, letâs do it” exclaims Lightbody as more recent single âCalled Out In the Darkâ strikes up – and he was right. Without a doubt the most electric and lively acoustic gig Iâve ever been to, the crowd did not remain seated for very long. Providing a succession of hits one after the other, including âRunâ, âIn the Endâ and âNew Yorkâ, the small venue echoed with the audiences own vocal harmonies and wobbling shadows.
Everyone returns to their seats in a respectful manor as Miriam Kaufman joins the band onstage to perform the melodic track âSet the Fire to the Third Barâ. Yet as quickly as the audience had sat down, they were back up again as Tim Wheeler, of Ash fame, is invited to take centre stage to perform his own track – a personal favourite of Lightbodyâs – âShining Lightâ with the help of Nathan Connolly. It was at this point that the atmosphere really pulled you in, with even Lightbody and McDaid visible offstage dancing and singing their wee hearts out.
A couple more songs, a heart-rendering performance of biggest hit âChasing Carsâ and an encore later, finds Wheeler joining the band for a second time to perform âTeenage Kicksâ by The Undertones – âthe national anthem of the youth of Northern Irelandâ as Lightbody describes it. Snow Patrol then finish up the set with crowd pleasing track âJust Say Yesâ.
As Lightbody explains that the money raised from tonight has all been donated to Childrenâs charities and hospital wards, a sense of pride, but also admiration, waves through the audience – and I feel it too. Â£30,000 from ticket sales, another Â£30,000 matched by the band themselves and a further Â£10,000 from Snow Patrols agent proves to be a most thoughtful gift at Christmas time.
The love and devotion this crowd shows the band, and vice versa, is quite special indeed – something Iâve not seen on this magnitude for a long time.
All words Alana Turk. Photo Â© Ramsey Cardy www.shoottothrill.co.uk/