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Snow Patrol makes superb return to Seattle
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Snow Patrol makes superb return to Seattle

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Snow Patrol
October 14
Paramount Theatre


Two and a half years is a long time to wait for a band to come back around, so the stakes are that much higher and the expectations that much greater when they finally make it here. On Wednesday night, Snow Patrol cleared this hurdle brilliantly by delivering a memorable set of songs to a packed crowd at the Paramount Theatre, allowing them to fall in love with these guys all over again.

The band, nearing the end of a very long tour that includes dates with Coldplay and U2, opened their 90-minute performance with "If There's a Rocket Tie Me to It" from last year's release A Hundred Million Suns. My eyes immediately shifted to lead singer Gary Lightbody, wearing skinny black jeans and matching sportscoat, green T-shirt, and a white belt, with a fluffy head of hair that fell evenly on both sides of his broad shoulders.

"Chocolate," one of several numbers from the group's major label debut Final Straw, drew cheers and wide smiles from longtime fans who perhaps remembered how delightful it sounds from a live stage - it received a meatier bassline this time around by Paul Wilson, who was five days away from his 31st birthday. "Hands Open" found Lightbody roaming about the stage, getting everyone to raise their palms in the air during the chorus.

"The Golden Floor" was infused with a tribal-like drum background from percussionist Jonny Quinn, which gave it a more atmospheric feel. "Shut Your Eyes" was poppy and danceable, and it was here when the show shifted in energy, as Lightbody got a somewhat sleepy audience to sing loudly along and clap with full force on the second half of the song. From this point on, the concert picked up much-needed momentum.

"This city is where it all began for Snow Patrol, really," Lightbody said, looking out to concertgoers on the main floor and those seated in two full balconies. He was, of course, referring to Nirvana - the iconic Seattle outfit has always been a source of inspiration to them.

Snow Patrol didn't sound as sharp as they did in June, when they zipped through a rapid set at Vancouver's GM Place as a supporting act for Coldplay, but understandably a few of the band members were under the weather this week and small signs of exhaustion were certainly apparent. That said, the Grammy-nominated quintet was still consistently wonderful as it played cuts representing nearly a decade of music.

"Run," the second most popular hit by this UK five-piece, began acoustically as Lightbody performed two of its verses solo, and then came to a powerful finish from the entire band - Wilson, Quinn, guitarist Nathan Connolly, keyboardist Tom Simpson. "Chasing Cars," a worldwide smash from three years back, was met by concertgoers moving their lips to the words and swaying lightly, while scattered couples embraced romantically.

"How to Be Dead" was a surprise addition to the set list, an early Snow Patrol favorite that rarely gets played anymore, and "Take Back the City," a regular entry on the band's live roster these days, gave the Paramount a nice, firm jolt.

A fantastic encore, the best given by Snow Patrol in the many times I've seen them in concert, included a stunning rendition of "The Lightening Strike" and a rather enthusiastic version of "You're All I Have."

This was a well-executed performance, filled with many absorbing moments that reconnected Snow Patrol with local fans. Those who stood under the drizzle of a cloudy, wet afternoon for hours before the doors opened were probably the happiest people on the streets late Wednesday, and, like me, they hoped and prayed they wouldn't have to wait another two and a half years to see the group's next return.

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