(State Theatre, Detroit, MI - April 1st, 2007)
Having met at the University of Dundee in Dundee, Scotland, students Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland started up a band (originally named, believe it or not, Polar Bear!) and in late 1995 began performing gigs at the University and surrounding pubs. However, due to legal threats from an American band with the same name, they soon became Snow Patrol ... and thank God for that, 'cause (and let's be honest here) how many fans would flock (or admit to flock) to see a band named Polar Bear?!
Taking the stage at 9.30pm, having had L.A.’s Silversun Pickups and the highly-impressive Ok Go open for them, the Scottish-Irish quintet known as Snow Patrol - Gary Lightbody (vocals, guitar) Jonny Quinn (drums), Paul Wilson (bass), Nathan Connolly (guitar,) Tom Simpson (keyboard) - know how to rock the house; from the very first chord struck to the very last one plucked, left to infiltrate the night.
Backed by a black backdrop of stringed-together bright white lights and some crazy-spinning color strobes, Lightbody and Co. - now bathed in a deep red rush - introduce 'Spitting Games' as their first song of the night, neatly followed by 'It's Beginning To Get To Me.' Commencing the first of his many chats with the crowd, Lightbody tells everybody that, "It's good to be back here in the heart of Motown. We've been listening to Motown songs all day in preparation, so expect the rest of the show to just be all Motown songs," he jokingly ends, before breaking into 'Chocolate.'
Then revealing a story about Ok Go's lead singer, Damian Kulash's recent hard slap on his "fragile Irish arse," the Snow Patrol spokesman quickly moves into more music with both 'Grazed Knees' and (under the aura of bright yellow spots) 'Headlights On Dark Roads.' 'Shut Your Eyes' is next up followed by a song sung to the "mean-faced" security guard at front stage, 'Wow.'
The new hit 'Chasing Cars' is next - including Lightbody's question to the audience about what face to put on for a lite rock out to the slow, semi-rock chords towards the songs end! - and then 'How To Be Dead,' 'Make This Go On Forever' and 'Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking' all come banging out of the gate. However, it should be noted that just prior to this trilogy of songs that their (male) drum tech comes out dressed as a B-movie hooker (self-named 'Solonge') and tries to make out with Lightbody ... as, after all, it was April Fool's Day!
As the show is brought into the final turn, for the duet track 'Set Fire to the Third Bar' (originally sung with Martha Wainwright), Lightbody chooses an already-known (from the gig the night before in Montreal!) young lady from the crowd to come up on stage and sing Wainwright’s part. Complete with a microphone and a pair of headphones she matches Lightbody word for word, lyrically tone for lyrically tone, never dropping the merest of chords or breath.
The ever-popular, and always-requested anthem song 'Run' is next - complete with mazy, erratically-flashing strobes that light up (geddit?!) the entire stage and crowd therein (so much so that if you had been an epileptic you would have been in fits of shock like you'd never felt before!), before bringing the set to a close with the piano introduced 'You're All I Have.'
Coming quickly back out for both 'Open Your Eyes' and the wonderful 'Tiny Little Fractures,' the show is finally over, the sold-out crowd now blinded by the house lights, all resigned to heading home, mountains of tour merchandise in hand. Unless you were like the lovestruck Daniel Marshall and chose to fly back to Kansas City the morning of this show, then you too missed the whole bloody thing!!
Review by Russell A. Trunk
Photography by Albert D. Soto