This show promised from the start to be very exciting! It has been about 18 month since I saw their last concert, which was in Berlin. And this one is a pre-tour just for fans gig. In order to be able to buy a ticket you had to fill in a survey a few weeks back (nobody knew at that point that there was a special treat in store), all the people that did had to register their details…..and a couple of days later you were send a unique code which enabled you to buy 2 tickets for their Fallen Empire show at Shepherds Bush. Once you bought your tickets, you could only buy 2, you had to print out your email, take it to the box office on the day and exchange it for your wristbands. I thought that was a brilliant idea, no selling on ebay for extortionate prices, and the second person had to be with you too, otherwise no wristband was given. This didn’t only mean that real fans had a chance to be there, but also that there would be no “keeping a space in the queue” for another 5 people that turn up much later. I decided to take my son’s girl friend, a fellow Snow Patrol fan, took half a day off work, let’s face it, front row Steff needs to be in the front row.
By the time we arrived at about 3pm there were already about 30 people in front of us, still in with a good chance to the front row though. We joined the queue, sat down and took our picnic out, got to keep your blood sugars up you know! The wait didn’t seem to long, you chat to fellow fans, run off to get coffee or find a loo, pose for photos …..come 6pm you can feel the excitement growing, people are on their feet now and just etching that little bit nearer to the door. You can overhear bits of conversation of strategies how to get the best spot, fans shouting out “30 minutes to go”. Robyn and I just can’t wait, silent questions: “will the boys still be as amazing as I remember””will they play this or that song”…….only a few minutes to go now! The water bottle is safely hidden under my clothes, handbag open, ready to be inspected, there is no time to lose for getting to the front. At last the doors are open, the race is on….we manage to get a front row spot to the stage right, right in front of Nathan, we are happy with that, now we can relax and continue the wait for the support band (no idea who it is) to come on at 8pm. We take it in turns to go to the loo, I also went to buy a couple of t-shirts, Robyn puts hers on straight away, I’m already wearing the one from the last tour.
Nearly 8pm, commotions on stage, it must begin shortly, “who is the support” we wonder.
Gary appears on stage, taking the microphone and announced that they send the support band home as they want to do an acoustic session themselves. Brilliant idea, all us fans loving it, as we get extra time with our heroes.
They are starting with “give me strength” and it just sounds fantastic. Gary is really chatty and funny in between songs, it kind of feels like he is with you in your living room. You forget the hundreds of people that packed out Shepherds Bush. “One night is not enough” , awesome, another of my favourites. They finish with Katy Perry’s “last Friday night” …..The crowed is roaring, singing, clapping, the atmosphere is amazing.
Eventually they come back on stage, the first few riffs, everybody known’s the song and start singing with Gary…”all this feels strange and untrue and I won’t waste a minute without you…” another of my favourites! Hang on, 90% of SP songs are my favourite!!! He carries on with “Take back the City”, he has the crowed in his hands! Robyn and I are totally enjoying the show. It stirs emotions in me I thought I had buried, so I’m laughing, singing and crying all at the same time. Memories flash past, Snow Patrol is so much more to me than just a brilliant band.
When we hear “run” coming on the whole of Shepherds Bush Empire starts singing, Gary just stands on stage smiling strumming his guitar, eventually he joins in, there are no words to describe how very special and emotional that felt. Leona Lewis had spoiled that song for me, but that night it was given back to me.
In between song Gary chats and jokes as usual, he picks out a young man/boy in the crowed, he calls out to him: “I bet you were made to come here with your Mum”, “it’s not too bad is it?” “ do you want me to come down and give you a hug? I give brilliant hugs”………If only he had ask me, I wouldn’t have refused…lol. That poor boy must have been quite embarrassed….
Gary invites Emmy the Great onto stage to sing “set the fire to the third bar” with him, what an amazing voice this girl has. I found out later that she is dating Tim from Ash and that the two of them releasing a Christmas CD, which by the way is very good. Gary is smiling and laughing, cracking jokes and when he announces “Shut your Eyes” he says that this will be the last time they use this song as Audience participation……..everybody joins in.
They finish the set with “Fallen Empire” and go off stage.
The crowed is clapping, screaming roaring shouting for more. We all know they are going to be back for an encore, and still the crowd is going berserk.
And they back, going straight into “just say yes”, oh yes, memories, sweet sweet memories, it is being followed by “casing cars”……..I don’t need to say anything know, because people who know me well, they know!
Robyn and I decide to hang around by the stage door for a while and see if we can get to see the boys. Quite a few people have the same idea. I claimed one of the big posters that were hanging outside, it seemed to have a sticky back and was very easy to pull off.
Time passes slowly, we wait, we sit, and we stand, wondering if they will appear at all.
Robyn spots Emmy the Great, we go over have a little chat and have our pictures taken with her. What a nice young girl.
Back to waiting, it’s about 1am, and no sign yet! We decide to wait till 1:30am; we are cold, thirsty and bored!! 1:30, no sign yet…..ok, another 15 minutes and that’s it! Just as we were going to leave they turned up! Nathan and Johnny first, Than Pablo and Gary…result, all that waiting was so worth it!
They chat and take time to talk to everyone, having pictures taken. Eventually it’s our turn, a photo taken of the 3 of us……
They boys signed my set list and Gary and Johnny also signed the poster I took of the wall, it is now hanging on my bedroom door! Just as Gary was moving on to the next person I stopped him : “Gary, one more thing, you said you give brilliant hugs…..can I please have one” Of course he gave me one, and brilliant it was.
Robyn and I made our way to the night bus. We both agreed, what an amazing night…..totally awesome. Thank you Snow Patrol