Fallen Empires Tour: Snow Patrol live in Manila Concert Review
Snow Patrol Melts Manila
“I have never been in a place where I have seen such GRACE, such HUMAN SPIRIT, such KINDNESS, such TRIUMPH in such dark times. You all are an INSPIRATION to the world”-Gary Lightbody
For the 9th of August, the rain showers seem to have taken a breather after days of battering the Metro in unpredictable squalor. Fortunately enough, the day was graced by episodes of sunshine, which turned out to be a much needed reprieve from the dark clouds and monsoons that loomed over Manila since the beginning of the month. Thankfully, for this day, it was stated Snow Patrol’s much awaited concert would push through. And who would have known, in all its irony, it was this Snow that melted a great part of Manila.
As thousands of the band’s fans and music enthusiasts flocked the arena, everyone’s attention was undoubtedly taken by the seven gargantuan screens that hung at the back part of the stage along with the flashy video camera that was dangling on the right side. It was also noticeable how multiple percussion instruments, keyboards and heavy amplifiers were spread out across the stage. Indeed, the setup was so far detached from the usual minimalistic one-piece banner, a few overhead lights and guitar-drums-mic setting that most foreign acts had utilized in their concerts. Seeing all these, the audience knew at the time that they were in for a different visual and aural treat.
By around 9 o’clock, the venue lights were turned off. The crowd was on the edge of their seats as a revolving ball of light occupied the screens as the introductory lines of “Berlin” played. Gradually, the ball spun and changed its colors until at last, the word MANILA appeared at the center and the band strikingly made their appearance. Then, the drums started pounding and opening riffs of “Hands Open” broke through the arena’s calm as the eclectic and energetic vocalist and frontman, Gary Lightbody, sprints and spins his way on to the stage. Thus, an unforgettable evening of great music and magnificent visuals began. And yes, it was a glorious spectacle, indeed.
This was followed by an exhilarating rendition of “Take Back the City” and “Crack the Shutters”, after which Gary took a pause to address the crowds regarding the recent rains that devastated many. “I’ve never seen a crowd with such gracious spirits. You are an inspiration to the world. This song is dedicated to you”, he warmly conveyed as the band proceeded to play “This Isn’t Everything You Are”.
During their concert, Snow Patrol radiated their music’s warmth, solemnity and power throughout the Big Dome. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Snow Patrol is known for their melodic ballads powered by a compelling concoction of silent introductions that slowly progress into rhythmic beats, the very trademark that makes their music affectively piercing. Their music is further amplified by the terse yet delicately poetic lyrics wrapped in Gary Lightbody’s baritone vocals. All this was graciously presented by the band in their concert. The experience was further heightened by the panels that showcased the most effervescent visionary display to have ever graced Manila. Every song was artistically choreographed with images from the arena itself, their previous tours and a few music videos. It was as though their music came to life with the colors, pictures and lights danced and exploded with it. For two hours, the crowd utterly lost themselves in all of it.
It seemed Snow Patrol together with Dayly Entertainment and That’s Entertainment mastered the art of concert entertainment. Their set list was brilliantly arranged to keep people glued. A diverse set of songs were played from their widely acclaimed albums “Final Straw”, “Eyes Open”,” A Hundred Million Suns” and of course, their latest “Fallen Empires”. There was much singing along to the band’s relatively popular hits such as “Run”, “Shut Your Eyes”, “New York” and the ever celebrated “Chasing Cars”. The lights flickered frantically as they dished out the more electrica-sounding tracks from their latest album – “Fallen Empires”, “In the End” and “Called Out in the Dark”, songs to which the audience grooved to in a frenzy. Other songs they played were “Set the Fire to the Third Bar”, “Make This Go On Forever”, “Chocolate”, “Open Your Eyes” and “You’re All I Have”.
The concert’s success was driven by Lightbody’s uniquely endearing charisma. Strangely enough, his goofiness is equally matched by a certain sullenness. Playfully, he would caress his band mates, jump around the stage, wave his hands above his head maniacally, yet his smiles were somewhat muted, his demeanor tamed and his mannerisms slightly awkward. He wasn’t one for introductions, but when he spoke, he knew the perfect words to move the crowd. In the encore, he again took one moment of sincere appreciation for Filipinos’ undying strength to move forward despite the recent tragedies. “I’d like to offer this song with our deepest respect and deepest sympathies to your country as a healing gesture of this time…I’d like to offer this song to you all out of respect for your grace, and your humanity and your kindness. Thank you all. We’ll never forget this,” Gary earnestly proclaimed as “Lifening” was played. Truly, that one song, which summed up the simple joys of life, stirred every single person in the stadium. To wrap everything up, the band revived and punctuated the energy in the stage with “Just Say Yes”.
For those who were there, their night was beyond complete. It was the reprieve, the spectacle, the music – all these things and more were contained in the span of 1 hour and 50 minutes as Snow Patrol’s warmth permeated through their souls and their senses.
For an hour and fifty-minute set, Snow Patrol won the hearts of Pinoy concert goers. The show was inspiring. We admire how they put emotions into songs.
The staging and the set visuals were strikingly amazing, the way they put the audience on screen, never seen an alternative rock concert setup like this. Seven huge LED screens hang above the stage. We’re totally blown by their lighting design and graphic projections. The sound quality was top the notch, it’s balanced from the opening to the end. It would have been a perfect set list if they perform Signal Fire but nevertheless this is one of the best alternative rock concerts I’ve ever seen in years.
Snow Patrol live in Manila Concert Rating:
Sound – 10
Stage Setup/Design – 10
Venue – 10
Set list – 9.5
Overall Production Values- 9.8/10
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Sandra Mae Laureano
Cen Sulit (writer/admin for Philippine Concerts)
Carla Barretto (writer/photographer/admin for Philippine Concerts)
Sandra Mae Laureano