It has been six years since Snow Patrol last performed in Ireland but on Saturday night, they performed to a sold-out Opera House in Cork.
The last time Snow Patrol played in Ireland was on the back of the release of Fallen Empires in 2012, at Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Who would’ve thought back then that there’d be such a long wait before they’d take to the stage again? With only two weeks till the release of their album Wildness, Gary Lightbody and co. returned to Cork.
Joining the band on their string of dates across Ireland were Belfast pop-punk band, Brand New Friends. Opening up with a short set, their emphatic melodies and luscious beats had the early arrivers in the palm of their hands. Receiving a good reception, the band repaid the audience with thrilling hooks and heartfelt and fun lyrics.
Frontman Taylor Johnson, was like a sugar-fuelled kid in a candy store, bouncing around the stage as he played out fast-paced riffs. Then adding an emotional layer to the songs was Lauren Johnson on keys. Overall, it was an uplifting way to kick off the night, added with the fact that those who missed Brand New Friends, can catch them at Indiependence Festival later this summer.
Snow Patrol put fans out of their misery and ended a long, long wait, finally coming back on stage. With a glowing smile on Gary Lightbody’s face, he picked up his guitar and began the entrancing hook of ‘Open Your Eyes’.
In a way, ‘Open Your Eyes’ was a perfect song to begin the show. Filled with a rising tension from the beginning, it roared to life with the hair-raising instrumental. It set the bar high for the night as Lightbody, lead guitarist Nathan Connolly and bassist Paul Wilson thrashed around the stage. One thing hadn’t changed over the last six years, the band still let their emotions dominate their performance.
It was a career-spanning set with empassionate sing-alongs and total adoration to the five men on stage. The likes of ‘Take Back The City’ and ‘You’re All I Have’ received an emphatic reception. However, it was during the mammoth fan favourites ‘Run’ and ‘Chasing Cars’, where Gary was merely background noise as the crowd deafeningly overpowered him.
There were moments that the Opera House was made to feel even more intimate, with a breathtaking, extended ending to the Eyes Open track ‘Make This Go On Forever’ and the performance of ‘Set The Fire To The Third Bar’ before it, which Gary pointed out would be done alone, with no female counterpart to duet with on this occasion.
Of course there was the small matter of a new album to tease and the new material that was given an outing mixed nicely with the old. ‘Heal Me’ is one for fans to be excited for. While ‘What If This Is All The Love You’ll Ever Get?’, one of the most delicate songs Snow Patrol have made to date, which says a lot, sounded stunning as it echoed through the observant Opera House.
Culminating with the vibrant ‘Just Say Yes’, it was a triumphant return from the ‘Chocolate’ rockers. Cork fans have waited over 15 years for Snow Patrol to return to the city, when they were just about to release a career-defining album in Final Straw.
After such a rapturous welcome and a newly refurbished stadium back open, maybe the next visit to Cork mightn’t be so far away.
Wildness, the seventh album from Snow Patrol is out on May 25th via Universal Music Group.
Last photo taken by Patrick Williams, check out more of his pictures on his Instagram by following @pawilliams2016