Well, here it goes, Snow Patrol in Berlin at Tempodrom with Martina! It can’t get much more exciting than that!
I have tried over the past few month to get something special for her organised, but sadly Q-prime who manages Snow Patrol just made a lot of empty promises, they didn’t even want to take a call from a friend of mine, she works for a prominent record label, she was refused a conference call. Although I do truly understand that there are millions of SP fans and every single one  wants or needs a special time…. they didn’t understand that is was all about Martina….lol!! To have your hopes raised and than dashed just day’s before the gig isn’t nice, we the fans are the ones helping to make the band a success….I’m not impressed with the SP management, why not just say: ” there is nothing we can do, why not try…blah blah blah……rather than “stick to your plan” which was going to the gig in Berlin and Basel with Martina.
There weren’t even VIP tickets, I would have spend the extra money for her to meet the boys, specially Gary! I tried the venue, no they couldn’t help, my son (who also works in the business), no luck…..the frustration was immense. but, it made me so much more determined to achieve my mission: Martina at the barrier in front of Gary and a picture taken with him…..not too much to ask is it? But if you have Multiple Sclerosis and walking/standing is a problem…..it seems a lot! My last resort was a letter I had written To Gary Lightbody asking for a BIG favour, well 2 really: a hug for Martina and the song “lifening” dedicated to her. I was hoping that I would managed somehow to get the note to the band, maybe through his trusted techies, Coatsey or Troy.
I arrived at the Meininger (the Urban Travellers home) at around 11am  to be greeted by Martina who arrived a couple of hours earlier. As we couldn’t have our room yet we got ready in the WC and left our luggage in the luggage room, we also made the main desk aware that we wouldn’t be back until quite late, so they kindly gave us our keys. I have stayed at the Meininger a few times, and I must say, value and service has always been spot on! I highly recommend it. Also it is only a 10 minutes walk away from the Tempodrom.
We got to the venue at about 12:30, thinking nobody would be there yet, how wrong we were, already 5 people queuing and familiar faces they were: Janie and Emma from the UK, Elena and her friend, Bianca (not 100% sure of her name, sorry) from Germany and Virginie from Paris.  It looks as so we are heading for a fun afternoon. We weren’t too sure which door to queue at, as there are about 5, but I did manage to find a person in the know and she said the three middle doors will be opened simultaneously. Perfect, all of us there are first in line at one of the doors. It was pretty cold though, mind you, not as bitter as it was in London!  We sat, chatted, reminiscing about past gigs, making  plans which is the best way to go in, agreeing that whoever gets to the barriers first will save places…..this little Snow Patrol community is fun, we all there for the same reason, and even though we may never meet again, feel very close.
More people arrive as the afternoon wears on, Alexandra from Munich, Pamela from Ireland, Sam from the TTB site…..
We moved about, took a walk to the stage door, just in case, you never know do you! Martina and I also went for a pizza and warm drink at a great little place called the Anhalter Cafe. The lady in there was just lovely, and the pizzas were freshly made. She told us that she had been told month ago that she has to leave as the whole building was going to be demolished, but it wasn’t going to happen now and she is staying and starting all over again. So, if you are at Tempodrom, pay her a visit, we don’t want too loose those lovely little places!!
On the way back from the cafe, we talked to a couple of girls  that seemed to keep an eye on the stage door, one said “Pablo smokes, so he may show”……we went back to our spot and started to make our sign: “Famous Hug Please”, the plan was to hold it up to get Gary’s attention, so Martina can at least have a hug.
At some point I looked up and saw one of the girls we spoke to earlier waving frantically to someone, I thought I better go and check it out, something is happening. As I reached the corner and looked down to the stage door I could see Nathan, Pablo and Gary talking to fans, yes, that was my chance …..I made my way down there and waited for the right moment: “Gary…(he looked at me) would you please read this letter?”, he took it folded it up and put it in his pocket! I gave my camera to one of the girls standing around, she kindly took a picture of the 4 of us….and I walked back to Martina, who was blissfully unaware of what just happened. I couldn’t believe that Mr. Lightbody himself had a letter written by me in his trouser pocket, I also put in one of my FRS badges…..I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. I had a copy of the letter in my bag, I took it out and when I got to Martina I passed it to her and said: “I just gave this letter to Gary”, she had no idea what I was planning besides the sign. She read it and looked at me, all she said: “you didn’t?”…oh yes I did…lol, lets just hope he reads it and maybe even does one or both favours ask.
The mood changed quite dramatically once everybody got back from seeing the boys. Especially Janie was happy, it was her Birthday and she finally got a lovely picture of herself and Gary. Janie, her friend Emma and I went off at some point to find a toilet, the little cafe was closed, so we had no choice but visit a little smokers pub called Zur Traube, what a cute little place! The landlord was really nice, gave us a round of shorts on the house and even posed for a photo…..!
At last it was time for the doors to open, I gave Martina my bag so I wouldn’t be delayed too much on the way in. I was lucky and our door seemed to have been the first one open, tickets got scanned, down the stairs, ticket checked again and the race to the front was on. I secured places right at centre front, perfect! My fellow frontrowers all knew that Martina will be a little while before she gets here, and I told the people behind us that the space was taken and they seem fine about it. Funny enough they were Brits, but living in the Netherlands.
Once Martina arrived all we had to do is wait!
Finally the support band “Rams Pocket Radio” came on stage, I had seen them once before supporting Snow Patrol at the HMV Forum last October, I have to say, today they seem a lot better to what I remember. Still terribly young….but supporting the Patrol had obviously given them much more confidence. I especially liked “we are invisible” and “Aria” which is a brilliant track. Peter McCauley has undoubtedly got talent and I love the fact he is smiling all the way through his set, loving every minute of it.

Now it is time, the stage is set, the lights are going down……Berlin starts playing as the intro with the animation playing on the huge L.E.D. screen at the back, and yes at the end it says Berlin rather than London. the crowd is clapping and screaming as Nathan, Pablo and Johnny come onto the stage….the noise increases tenfold when Gray runs up to his mic (right in front of Martina and I) and starts singing “I’ll never let go” and after that straight into “take back the city”. Earlier on Sam from TTB had given out red balloons and we blew them up and started bouncing them about during Take back the City, one oft them ventured onto the stage and Gary joined in bouncing it back into the crowd.
Even though I have seen this show twice now and it starts the same, it feels new all over again. Halfway through “this isn’t everything you are” I pass Martina the sign we made earlier, Gary sees it and that smile he flashed told us he had read my letter!  When he finished singing he tells us about his hugs and that down there is a Lady with a sign saying “famous hug please”….he carries on saying: “.. You gonna fucking get one right now….(click here)..” with that he jumps off the stage straight to Martina and hugs her…..wow, how amazing was that? Thank you Gary, you made one girl very happy.

The show goes on, and as always it is amazing, I’m blown away again. Shona from Rams Pocket Radio joins him for “set the fire to the third bar”, he sang “New York” this time, another favourite of mine…. 🙂
Somebody copied Tanjas “oh” oh” oh”oh’s” signs, the band goes with it and do the reworked version of “chasing cars”.
Some people also copied Leah’s wolf-hat, Gary ended up with 6 or 7 hats, and they weren’t as nice as Leah’s though. And Gary didn’t put a single one of them on or interacted with it like he did in London. He also mentioned that he was given one before and he gave it back, but he wont give any back from now on, he will keep them all! 😉

Far too soon the set comes to an end and they go off stage, we all know they will be back for 3 further songs, and the first song of the encore is “Lifening”, which I hope Gary will dedicate to Martina.
They come back on stage to more “oh”oh”oh”oh’s”……Gary starts talking, but not directing it at Martina, he picked out some guy behind us who he thought wasn’t enjoying himself, he said the following song was for him. I felt a little disappointed, switched my camera off …… just than he mentioned a letter he was given earlier on, click HERE to see the footage recorded by somebody else (we are so happy that that person did, what an amazing keepsake). Anyway, he mentioned Martina’s name and pointed at her to say the song is for her. Neither she nor I could stop the tears; it was such an emotional moment! Thank you Gary, for reading my letter, for hugging Martina, for singing the song for her, thank you for making Berlin 2012 the most amazing/special and memorable Snow Patrol concert for my best friend and I, after 37 years of friendship, ups and down, happy and sad it was just perfect, even though tear stained faces with running make up is not the most appealing look, we didn’t care! Everybody around us was very sweet, putting their hands on Martina’s shoulders, smiling….! Even just writing makes me choke up with emotions 🙂
I have to admit the very end all passed in a bit of a blur and we both felt emotionally drained when the lights came back up and the hall started to empty. We are so glad that we will do it all over again in Basel.

Trying to find the queue to the toilet, it kind of mingled in with the cloakroom queue, we managed to queue jump, the girl behind wasn’t impressed, so I told Martina to take the spot and I go to the back. The girl softened and told us to stay were we are, we started talking and I told her that this was THE Martina, she looked at us and said “no, I’m Martina”….she thought the song was for her, hoping her boyfriend somehow arranged it, She said: “don’t tell me anymore, I want to believe it was for me”…….we had quite an interesting chat, hugs and tears! Martina from Ireland, do say hello! 🙂

We buy stuff at the Merchandise stand, I know I shouldn’t, but I just had to, I I do love the hoodie I bought. We make our way to the stage door, there is still that photo I have to take, and loads of people are waiting. Gary and Johnny appear after a little while, we wait for a few minutes, but it has been a long day and Martina is getting tired. We push our way forward, reach Gary eventually, somehow I ended up hugging him (poor man, I’m not sure he knew straight away what that was all about), I said thank you and pushed poor Martina to him for the photo, and a lovely picture it is! I think at this point Gary knew what is was all about, he said to Martina: “and you take care”…… 🙂

After that we leave to go back to the hotel and get some sleep! On the other side of the road Virginie and Elena are waiting, they decided to just let everybody else have a go first. We will see Elena in Basel and I will see Virginie in Paris for my final gig. As we are walking back we pass a young man and his dog, he keeps looking back to see what is happening. I ask him if he wants to know what the excitement is, he says yes and we tell him it’s Snow Patrol and that we have just been to the gig and that we are massive fans. He smiles, he says you not fans, fans come and go, you are supporters!!

Perfect words for the ending of a perfect day! I’m sorry this has actually turned into a book; I hope you didn’t get too bored reading it, but it all needed to be said!!  🙂

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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!

5 responses »

  1. Martina Weidmann says:

    Just my Girl …. I was crying all the Way when i juat read it !!! Just amazing and the Most Special One i read and it will be my Most Special One forever then it is our Special moment !! Just amazing my bestest ever friend !!! Xxxx

  2. Aline says:

    Hi Stef! Nice blog! I enjoyed reading it. Hope you’ll make a little post for Paris gig.
    Happy to having met you and your cheerfulness.
    Aline from Paris

    • FrontRowStef says:

      Great to hear from you Aline, is was brilliant meeting you too! Of course there will be a Paris blog! :-), trouble is my day job gets in the way…hehehehe x

  3. Jill says:

    Just read your blog Stef. Fantastic. Keep writing like that and you won’t need the day job.
    I shall now listen out for Snow Patrol. I look forward to hearing about Paris when I get back. (No more internet access until then).

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