The gig was absolutely brilliant, but with just seven songs on the setlist, some fans seemed to be expecting slightly more.
Just over a month ago, when I saw a Facebook advertisement for an intimate Snow Patrol gig in Southampton city centre, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes – I knew I just had to be there. It seemed almost too good to be true, as the venue website said that the band (they asserted that, yes, this was definitely the REAL Snow Patrol) would be playing a 50 minute set to celebrate the release of their Reworked album in November.
In some ways, it was too good to be true. I say this just to get the complaints out of the way early on in this review. I had a wonderful time – as you will hear if you carry on reading – but I am aware that others were rather frustrated. After just over half an hour on the stage, the band said their goodbyes, wished us a lovely Christmas and left. And we, as an audience, were left rather bewildered. I don’t think I saw anybody leave the venue for the first five minutes or so after the gig ended – we all just assumed they’d come back for an encore. In fact, it wasn’t until the microphone stands and guitars had been packed away that everybody gave up and walked away. The atmosphere was a strange one – we’d enjoyed every second of the gig, but you couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed that it hadn’t gone on longer. It’s therefore quite hard to judge how many stars to award, because it arguably wasn’t any fault of the band’s – the event was just misdescribed and as a result our expectations were probably a bit too high.
However, this review will not be a negative one. Even though they did only play seven songs, those seven songs were absolutely perfect. It was absolutely surreal to see such familiar faces on a tiny stage. They opened the show with an acoustic version of ‘Chocolate’, a firm favourite of fans. It was the perfect balance between the original and reworked versions – lively enough to get the crowd going, but still stripped back and acoustic. ‘Crack the Shutters’ followed in a similar style, and the whole crowd were just in awe. Arguably one of the best moments of the night, however, came when they played ‘Run’, which frontman Gary Lightbody described as their only number one single (except it was actually a number one for Leona Lewis, but they’ll take what they can get). The crowd singing along gave me goosebumps – everyone sang at the top of their lungs, and the atmosphere was truly electric.
Their banter with the crowds was great – Gary unapologetically still has his lyrics on stage with him, confessing that after twenty five years he still doesn’t know the words to some of his greatest hits. When several crowd members shouted that they knew all the words, he joked that he was the one that was paid to know them.
They went on to play ‘Called Out In The Dark’ and ‘Heal Me’, before performing an incredible rendition of their biggest hit, ‘Chasing Cars’. The song was recently named the most played song of the 21st century on UK radio, and every single person in the room seemed to know every word – even if Gary himself perhaps didn’t! With the volume of the singing it seemed hard to believe we were in such a small venue – it was utterly incredible, and certainly seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Their final song, ‘Open Your Eyes’, had a similar reception; everyone was having such a good time, and I think this is why we were slightly baffled that it ended so soon. We were completely enthralled in the music, and lost all track of time. The fact that it ended earlier than expected was a real shame, but I think that even if we had had the full amount of time, it still wouldn’t have been enough.
Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic time at the gig, and The 1865 is definitely a venue I would look at going back to in the future. The sound quality was great, it didn’t feel too crowded, and they’re attracting some big names at the moment, so their album launch shows are definitely something to look out for. If the only issue I have is that it didn’t go on long enough, it’s just testament to the fact that Snow Patrol are seriously good live, and with tickets starting at just £12 when their normal tours are considerably more expensive, it would feel wrong for me to criticise it too much. I’d probably give it 4.5 stars if I could.
Let’s hope they come back somewhere local soon so they can finish off what they started!
Don’t miss out on any future album launch events occurring at The 1865 – you can find all events listed here.