I have taken a half day off at work, simple reason: Snow Patrol gig! Oh yes, I’ll be in that queue fighting for my place at the barriers. I’m going with my friend Neil, it will be his first time to see the Patrol, but I bet it won’t be his last!

We got to the HMV Forum at around 2:30pm, quite a few people; about 20 are already in the queue. But that is fine, plenty of room for everybody. It was a bit annoying that we had to move right to the corner and along the building, as there is no shelter (and it did start to rain), but there we are, cold wet and excited…..a proper fan is not put off by a bit of liquid sunshine, but HMV, it would have been nice if you’d let us shelter a little longer from the rain. Mind you, one of the security guys was amazing….I will tell you later about him!
So there we are, standing in the queue, chatting to people in front, side, behind…..The girl in the front is waiting on her own, her friend will join her later, she couldn’t get time off. Funny enough, we were behind her in the queue from Winter Wonderland at Brixton too….! The girl behind, Alice, is lovely and very excited, there is also a young man whose name I didn’t catch, but I did see him at Shepherds Bush queuing!!
I decided to nip down  to Sainsbury’s to get some food supplies, I left Neil guarding our spot….I came back with bags full of food, I must remember not to go shopping hungry, you always buy much too much. The time does pass surprisingly fast, specially as a couple of hours into the wait I can hear someone shouting “GARY”, I look up, and there he is, the man himself! The atmosphere is quite frankly electric, you know, when you do these tiny little steps (nobody really notices them) to keep you from jumping up and down (after all we are all responsible adults), and you try very hard not to push in front and wait your turn…..Gary stops and smiles and chats, poses with everyone for photos, when he arrived he was carrying a bunch of flowers, he past them to his mate that was with him so he could do his public relation bit! Awwwww, he is so lovely! Finally it was my turn, Neil ready with the camera!! I ask Gary if he would do me a huge favour and pretend to give those flowers to me, and as you can see he did. 🙂
After that everything changed, more interacting with each other, posting pics straight to face book, comparing photos! Tell people that came later of our chance encounter!
While we were waiting a ……., hmmm, what do I call her without being offensive? I guess she was a homeless person, a girl down on her luck. She came along the queue asking for money, for a can of cider, that made us laugh, at least she was honest. She was very funny actually and pointed at my eyes saying how amazing they were….anyway I did tell her that I wasn’t going to part with them. She seemed a nice person, it makes you wonder what happened in her life to reduce her to life on the streets and begging. Yet again a little reminder of how lucky each and every one of us in this queue is, we can manage to buy SP tickets and spend a day waiting without having to compromise any of our others comforts. A reality check every now and than is a good thing.

Just than the security guard I mentioned earlier came round with a raffle book. He said he would give us number of where we are in the queue so we could go and get a coffee and warm up somewhere. Now, what a brilliant idea, we ALL love this man!! If I remember rightly we were no.18.

We went off in search of coffee, should we go to the pub, The Bull and Gate? No, it seems packed, We go a bit further and find this little coffee place tucked between kebab shops, that will do!! Alice and Tanja had come along with us, we grab a table, order coffee or tea and …yes you guessed, talked about Snow Patrol. Tanja tells us she made this huge poster for Pablo, and that she may need help putting it along the barrier. A little while later another 2 girls arrive, Debbie and Anna, I don’t know how Neil coped with 5 girls drooling over the SP boys!
Time to go back to our place in the queue, only another hour of waiting to do!  I have to admit, it is quietly satisfying to come back to a very much longer queue and slip into your place in front of everybody. But hang on, why are there so many more people in front now, we count and thinking that’s not right…..and then we find out! The GERMANS (I know I’m one too…but…) added 8 more people to the person in the queue, how not right is that?  Fair enough if you hold a space for one more person or even two, but nine? No way! So I say to the German fans: Nein to NINE !!! There was a little bit of justice though, when the doors opened they were actually on the wrong side of the queue so we still got in front of them. So, we got in, we got to the front, stage right as usual……so excited!! Tanja is next to us and we put the banner across the front.
Jamie N. Commons is the support act, what a voice, deep and lovely, just right to be singing Blues. Definitely one to watch, as it happens we do have tickets for the 1st March meanwhile, he is playing at the Hoxton Hall Theatre.

The second Support band, Ram’s Pocket Radio come on stage, an Irish band, they sounding good, but I guess I need to listen a bit more to them to fully appreciate their sound. I suppose that is what support bands are hoping for, exposure so people will get to know and like them. Some bands you like instantly, others are just not for you and some need to grow on you. Ram’s Pocket Radio could well be a grower.

Finally Snow Patrol come onto the stage, people are shouting and screaming, Gary standing in the middle smiling…come on, bring it on!!
They start with “open your eyes”, straight into “take back the city”, that’s it, the crowed belongs to them. I like the way they mix their new songs with the old favourites, let’s face it, we all love the well known SP songs, as much as we will love the brand new ones in time. “garden rules”, brilliant, “this isn’t everything you are” amazing! Somebody once asked me which is my favourite Snow Patrol song, I really can’t say, it changes like my moods! But I guess my most precious memories are attached to “chasing cars”, so does that make it my favourite?
Pablo spots Tanja’s Banner and makes sign’s at her, and a little later he passes down a signed set list…..lucky girl, well done Tanja. 
Half way through the set Gary makes his way off the stage to the barrier, you see many hands reaching up to him to get a handshake or just a feel of his clothes, and then, one excited fan in his eagerness of reaching him shoots his hand up and manages to hit Gary at a ever so delicate spot. Gary makes his way back on stage and makes a joke of “I can’t believe I just got punched in the nuts”,(or something like that) but he carries on regardless….

Gary invites the Shauna Tohill from Ram’s Pocket Radio on stage to sing “set the fire to the third bar” with him, she does it brilliantly. It’s fun to see various girls taking Martha Wainwrights place for that song, I wonder if I ever will be able to witness the original??
I also love the lighting effects, the stage washed in yellow, purple and turquoise light, not at the same time of course. The sound is brilliant too, as always, I cannot fault their gig. SP finish off with “just say yes” and “chocolate”, how come a couple of hours can pass so quickly?
I manage to get a set list…woohoo, and a plectrum or two from Pablo.
Right now the world is a happy place, as always I feel deliriously happy and emotionally drained……I wouldn’t  have changed my place for anything in the world.
Thank you Snow Patrol, roll on 2012 tour!!

PS: we actually made it into the Q magazine December issue……fame at last 🙂

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About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

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