Snow Patrol, Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre, Friday, September 10

ON FRIDAY evening, Celtic rockers Snow Patrol performed at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre in what was their first full show on English soil for over two and a half years.

It was my first time seeing them since they were on the bill at 2011’s Children in Need show at Manchester Arena, and apart from their last album Wildness we’d kind of parted ways since then so I was looking forward to catching up with the band's music.

Snow Patrol had huge success in the early-mid noughties with their 2003 album Final Straw spawning five memorable singles and laying the groundwork for the best-selling UK album of 2006, Eyes Open.

Comparisons to Coldplay are made regularly and not without merit. Like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, singer/guitarist/songwriter Gary Lightbody has a knack for writing songs that are tailor made for large arenas. Melodic guitar and keyboard based tunes with dramatic build ups leading into choruses that practically beg to be sung at full volume by the audience. While this might be sniffed at by some for being too clinical and too engineered there’s no doubt that both bands are masters at it. And to be fair, it’s generally what their audiences want and expect.

York Press: Snow Patrol delight fans in ScarboroughSnow Patrol delight fans in Scarborough

Opening the evening just as a downpour started was the effervescent Dublin-born Lucy Blue who, accompanied by a guitarist and drummer, played a short set that included the singles Taxi Driver and See You Later.

Much to everyone’s delight Snow Patrol kicked off their evening in lively fashion with Chocolate. The band were into their stride quickly with the only signs of any ring-rustiness from their live lay off being Lightbody occasionally stumbling over the lyrics, most notably on Crack the Shutters and later in mid-set during Life On Earth.

The band looked as delighted to be back on stage as the crowd was to see them. Their 18 song set drew mainly from three albums – 2006’s Eyes Open, 2008’s A Hundred Million Suns and their last album 2018’s Wildness.

There were no special effects like previous tours’ mesh curtain and lasers, just tasteful but spectacular lighting and that was fine. We were all there for the songs not fancy visuals and the band delivered pretty much a greatest hits style set.

Before releasing the Wildness album, Lightbody had confessed to suffering from writer’s block for several years, but that album contributed some of the evening’s high spots, notably Heal Me, What If This Is All The Love and a wonderful version of Life on Earth. Before the latter he told the audience that “This song has only three chords but it took me five years to write the lyrics, and it only takes five minutes to sing them.”

York Press: Snow Patrol in Scarborough. All photos by Dave LawrenceSnow Patrol in Scarborough. All photos by Dave Lawrence

Naturally, there was plenty of opportunity through the evening for the audience to participate as Lightbody encouraged us to sing along during anthems like Open Your Eyes, Run and Chasing Cars.

The main set ended powerfully with a rowdy version of You’re All I Have before the band returned for an encore of What If This Is All The Love and Just Say Yes to wrap up a triumphant live return.

On reflection post-show it would have been nice to have heard a couple more tracks from Final Straw or for at least one of the songs from last year’s Fireside EP get a live debut but it’s hard to believe that any Snow Patrol fan left feeling disappointed after the show.