As Manchester Arena slowly began to fill with music fans looking to enjoy a good night, and warm themselves up, it was left to relative newcomer Roe to get them ready for the main event a few hours away and she did so with considerably aplomb. Her excitement and pride at playing such a big venue, in support of such a well known band, was palpable and her new single “Down Days” proved to be particularly popular.
Things have been pretty quiet in the Kodaline camp lately, but that didn’t stop the band from turning up the energy as they began their 8-song set with “Follow Your Fire” and from there delivered strong performance after strong performance. The rather balladesque “High Hopes” meanwhile saw the now vastly grown crowd begin to warm up their own vocal chords as those familiar with the song joined in. Ending their time on stage with “All I Want,” the quartet disappeared from view knowing they’d done a good job and hearing the applause to prove it.
Roughly six years since their last tour, when Snow Patrol finally emerged on stage, to applause that this reviewer for one has heard on a much stronger and louder scale, they did so with what appeared to be a renewed sense of familarity with venues and crowds, and kicked things off with “Take Back The City.”
From there, they continued with “Chocolate” and “Crack The Shutters” but it wasn’t really until “Empress”, the rousing anthem from their latest album Wildness, began that the tempo and feel of the evening – for Snow Patrol at least – began to vastly improve. With that said, it wasn’t until the seventh track of the night, “Run” started up, that the band finally hit their stride, Lightbody and his band-mates playing and singing their hearts out to what will forever be one of their biggest hits.
As the set went on, “”Shut Your Eyes” and Set Fire To The Third Bar” were good – albeit far from strong – and, turning things over to the audience, Lightbody on more than one occasion all but had the crowd sing for him as he dipped in and out of verses and choruses. Had the crowd been in full voice – and not probably still trying to un-thaw themselves from the biting cold outside – it might have worked, but tonight, even when it came to “Chasing Cars”, the performances were considerably lacklustre.
The band then closed out their close to two hours on stage with an encore that consisted of “What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?” and chose one of their strongest songs, “Just Say Yes” to end the night with. There’s no denying that Snow Patrol are a talented bunch, but tonight, perhaps largely hindered by their many years away, they struggled considerably from the outset and certainly judging by the somewhat half-hearted cheers they received from a large portion of the crowd as the final notes played out, they’ve delivered much stronger sets and performed a lot better.