REVIEW: Snow Patrol deliver knockout blow on their return

LONG before Gary Lightbody dedicates his famous hit Chasing Cars to Leeds’ world champion boxer Josh Warrington, he already has the First Direct Arena in the palm of his hand.

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in action at First Direct Arena (PIC: ANTHONY LONGSTAFF)

Making the tribute, in the penultimate song of the main set, merely affirms the crowd’s love for the Snow Patrol frontman.

“I’m a big boxing fan,” says the Bangor-born lead singer.

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“I saw probably the best fight I’ve ever seen recently involving a Northern Ireland person and a guy from Leeds.

Snow Patrol in Leeds (PIC: ANTHONY LONGSTAFF)

“Josh Warrington is an absolute legend - as is Carl Frampton - and I dedicate this song to that fight. So brave.”

The lyrics ‘we’ll do it all, everything, on our own’ could not have been more apt.

The show got off to a flying start with Take Back the City and it did not really let up in terms of quality, highlighting the depth of both the band’s historic and present material.

Chocolate and Crack The Shutters follow before Lightbody breaks off to let the audience know they’re going to do some of the new album.

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody on stage in Leeds (PIC: ANTHONY LONGSTAFF)

“It took us five years to make it so we better had,” he explains.

“It only took the Beatles six years to change the face of music but it took us nearly as long to do one album!”

Without doubt, though, Wildness has been worth the wait since their last release Fallen Empires back in 2011.

There’s countless epic songs in there which already sound as legendary as Open Your Eyes, Run and You Could Be Happy which also receive great treatment here.

Empress, Life on Earth - which Lightbody explained was the point when he realised his creative talent hadn’t dried up during one bout of writer’s block - and the towering Don’t Give In all go down great.

Going back further, Lifening, about his father, is clearly an emotional moment for him but he is instantly back firing things up again.

It is great to see Snow Patrol touring again after such a long hiatus.

The last time they were in Leeds was at Millennium Square in 2011 although Lightbody recalls playing in front of just one person at Joseph’s Well earlier in their career.

“There was more people on stage than in the audience!” he says, clearly loving being back in the thick of it all again and often thanking the crowd for arriving in such massive numbers here.

In between songs, there’s plenty of amusing anecdotes, not least from earlier in the night when an officious steward told him he couldn’t watch support act ROE as he doesn’t have the right ID.

“When people ask me what it’s like to be famous, I always tell them - I don’t know!; I can’t even get to watch someone at my own show!”

Lightbody asking the crowd to sing such big sections of the chorus during some of their biggest hits is a little disappointing.

That said, to much amusement, he has to genuinely ask for their help during the high bits in the spine-tingling ballad What If This Is All the Love You Ever Get? which forms part of the encore with the rousing Just Say Yes as a finale.