Snow Patrol: Waterfront Hall, Belfast

Photo © Ramsey Cardy

Snow Patrol
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 ‘Acoustic Christmas’ 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.

“It’s not as acoustic as we let on” 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 ‘Chocolate’. 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.

“We’ve already done a matinee and now you are the evening show, so I’m expecting a little more drunkenness… and just general misbehaviour. Alright, let’s do it” exclaims Lightbody as more recent single “Called Out In the Dark” strikes up – and he was right. Without a doubt the most electric and lively acoustic gig I’ve ever been to, the crowd did not remain seated for very long. Providing a succession of hits one after the other, including ‘Run’, ‘In the End’ and ‘New York’, 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 ‘Set the Fire to the Third Bar’. 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 Lightbody’s – ‘Shining Light’ 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 ‘Chasing Cars’ and an encore later, finds Wheeler joining the band for a second time to perform ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones – “the national anthem of the youth of Northern Ireland” as Lightbody describes it. Snow Patrol then finish up the set with crowd pleasing track ‘Just Say Yes’.

As Lightbody explains that the money raised from tonight has all been donated to Children’s charities and hospital wards, a sense of pride, but also admiration, waves through the audience – and I feel it too. £30,000 from ticket sales, another £30,000 matched by the band themselves and a further £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 I’ve not seen on this magnitude for a long time.

All words Alana Turk. Photo © Ramsey Cardy

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