Snow Patrol, Birmingham Arena, 25th January 2019

Over the years I have been to lots of concerts with various members of my family. Helen and I have been to many and I have been with the boys to a number but I can’t remember us having all gone to one together. That changed last night when we all had a family outing to see Snow Patrol in Birmingham.

For reasons that I cannot remember now we were sitting in different blocks of the arena although physically not that far from one another. This also afforded Helen and I these rather nice credit card tickets while the boys had to make do with paper ones.

I have to say that the tickets were the nicest thing about our seats in the arena which is clearly designed with sports in mind and not concerts. The stage was at one end and so you had to be sat at least at 45 degrees to be able to see anything. Similar to Wembley Arena the acoustics were also pretty awful too.

While we were waiting for the band to come on Helen turned to me and asked whether, as we were so far away, there would be screens. I looked and couldn’t see anything and so I said I thought not… Turned out that the whole of the back of the stage was a screen and was used to show videos and live images of the band. This being an arena tour they made good use of visuals to make up for so many people being a long way from the stage.

There were clearly some super-fans in and the girl in front of us was getting a bit twitchy wanting to get up and dance which, eventually, she plucked up the courage to do. For moral support she also roped her clearly reluctant partner to do the same (it’s hard to dance well in a small space when your arms are crossed so tightly across your chest). Despite this being right in front of us it wasn’t really an issue as we were doing this weird 45 degree thing in our seats. The couple to my right, however, were blocked completely and shouted the dancing couple down. The girl then spent the rest of the concert checking for signs of dancing elsewhere and as soon as the majority were up she was out of her seat again. Joined I have to say by me,

During the lull between two songs another girl, although I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was almost dancing girl, shouted in the direction of singer Gary Lightbody “I love you.” He chuckled at this and responded something along the lines of “You don’t know me, I’m a nightmare” and after a few seconds thought added “Haven’t you listened to the latest album?” I’ve commented on this before in that his songs do seem to be him basically arguing with some unknown partner all the time and a long battle with alcoholism can’t have aided his mood much.

But what about the music I hear you say! Well I like Snow Patrol I really do and that is why we were there but why do bands on big stadium and arena tours not recognise that some songs simply don’t work. So “You could be happy”, possibly their greatest song, just is not right for the vast open space of the Birmingham Arena. “Hands Open” on the other hand, perfect and we all enjoyed ourselves singing along.

So, in closing, visuals good, songs good, company great, acoustics awful!