Live Review: Snow Patrol

12 August 2019 | 10:36 am | Beck

"How do you play in the round and still have everyone on your side?"

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Gary Lightbody, you bastard.

How dare you walk onto the stage at the Sydney Opera House and turn it into a family gathering? How dare you crack jokes and speak with that mellifluous Irish lilt in your voice and then slay the entire audience with your lyrics that speak of heartbreak, heartache and heartfelt moments of bliss and despair equally and often in the same breath?

How exactly is it possible for you stand there, exposed like a frayed electrical wire, all nerves bared, all pain rendered into music and verse, all joy encompassed in three chords, and then toss quips involving exploding guitars about like you haven’t just devastated a poor wee lass in Row R? So much so that she sobbed ever so quietly on her understanding husband’s shoulder. Meanwhile there was a trio of 30-somethings in Row N who you managed to charm so thoroughly they actually stopped posting pics to Instagram and stowed their ever-glowing phones in their clutch bags.

And all only three songs in.

How can you be surprised that the hall erupted into song for the chorus of Run? It was irrelevant how old your fill-in keyboard player (young, earnest and hugely talented, Ryan McMullan filling in for the thankfully on the mend Johnny McDaid) was when it was first released. It’s beloved and was rendered artlessly and joyously off key by all attending regardless.

Even when you messed up Set The Fire To The Third Bar the entire room was on your side, and considering a quarter of them were sitting behind you, that wasn't easy. How do you play in the round and still have everyone on your side? 

Then you went ahead and played songs from your 2018 album, Wildness, the album that took you seven years, like it ain't no thing and made them so poignant and worth the wait. Life On Earth was worth every day of the five years it took you to write. 

And how you ever thought you could get away with not having all on their feet, stamping, clapping and singing along to Open Your Eyes is a mystery.

Stop looking so incredulous and grateful.

You’ve given a lot more to the people in that audience than they’ve ever given back to you. Although, tonight may have come close. And it was only an acoustic set.