Saturday, October 10, 2009


A governor mandated furlough day scheduled for Friday meant it was a short week. Coupled with Columbus Day, it turned into a long weekend. Unfortunately, the combination of poor weather, a lack of family interest and my sons worsening cold did not result in the fruition of my original plan to do some in state traveling. Being home bound, I stayed busy with other things.

Realizing that we had no plans to leave home, I purchased a ticket Wednesday to see Snow Patrol and Plain White T's perform at the Fillmore in Denver. Thursday night an inch of snow fell at the house (the seasons first), requiring I start a fire in the fireplace to ward off the frigid outside temperature. Cleaned the garage of all the residing tools and supplies, making room for the car once again. A trip to the landfill helped remove the final evidence of a summer spent working on the house. On to other things. More snow was predicted to fall Friday night following the concert.

Plain White Ts, an American pop rock band from Chicago, opened the show. I moved up front as close as I could get without having to push through the tightening crowd around the stage. They put on a good show, which included their Grammy nominating hit "Hey There Delilah" and "1,2,3,4", and certainly warmed me up for the act to follow.

His anaesthetic
Slow drip into the bloodstream
Tequila's warm glow

Traders on Wall Street
Know death is profitable
Our red yields their green

Snow Patrol closed the show this evening. A second great performance.

Delvin Neugebauern of the Colorado Springs Gazette wrote this about the show:

DENVER - The Glasgow-based rock band Snow Patrol gave a stirring, uplifting performance to a capacity crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium on Friday night.

The show got off to a shaky start, though. During the opening song, “If There’s a Rocket Tie Me to It,” bassist Paul Wilson experienced some problems with his amp set-up. Singer Gary Lightbody apologized to the audience, and promised that once the stage hands resolved the issues, the band would pick things up “as if that never happened.”

After five minutes, the group returned and started into the song “Chocolate.” By that song’s end, it did seem as if the initial gaffe never happened. The rest of the performance erased any concerns over Snow Patrol’s ability to deliver the goods.

Snow Patrol specializes in hymn-like melodies set to driving rock dynamics. Its songs build up to surging choruses before dropping into more hushed passages. Augmented by a percussionist and an occasional third guitarist, the quintet - Lightbody, Wilson, guitarist Nathan Connolly, drummer Jonny Quinn and keyboardist Tom Wilson - maintained this balance of the anthemic and the intimate perfectly throughout its show.

The set list included plenty of songs that made people raise their hands and cheer and yell. Yet in song after song, I could look around and see rapt wonder on many faces in the crowd. They stared at the stage as if they were in a small room, with the band playing just to them.

The only thing that could jar such a mood was a reminder of the day’s headlines. Lightbody dedicated the song “Run” to Barack Obama, calling it “a great day for America” that the President had won the Nobel Peace Prize. This drew a mixed response from the Denver crowd. Once the singer started into the song, though, any stirred-up rancor was forgotten quickly.

Like most singers who come to Colorado on tour, Lightbody had some difficulty performing at this altitude. His voice began to lose some of its strength on the high notes. Apparently, he decided his voice needed a break mid-set, letting the audience handle a lot of the singing on “Shut Your Eyes.” “One of these days,” he told the crowd afterward, “you’re all going to have to come over to my house, and I’ll sing for you there.”

Apparently, spending the summer as a warm-up act for such heavy hitters as Coldplay and U2 hasn’t affected Snow Patrol’s onstage presentation. The group kept its stage relatively simple. The lighting and the full-length video screen behind the band were fairly standard stage equipment for a venue the size of the Fillmore.

The group started winding down its set with “the world concert premiere” of the upcoming single “Just Say Yes.” The song seems to have been circulating online: I heard quite a few voices around me singing along. After that new song, the band finished its main set with “Take Back This City” and “Open Your Eyes.”

A minute later, text began scrolling on the projection screen, receding back as it scrolled, “Star Wars” style. The text announced the first encore: “The Lightning Strike,” the three-part song that closes Snow Patrol’s most recent album, “A Hundred Million Suns.” The band played this 17-minute piece in front of a video that presented the whole history of the universe - from galaxies forming to life beginning on Earth, right up to the Snow Patrol concert itself - with animated folded-paper figures. Following that, the band played the more compact rocker “You’re All I Have.” to close the show.

Contrary to their band name, opening act Plain White T’s dressed for the occasion in white dress shirts and ties (except for guitarist Dave Tirio, who wore a leather jacket onstage). The Chicago quintet’s crowd-pleasing set was full of tight pop-oriented ensemble playing and four-part vocal harmonies. The 40-minute set included one brand-new song, “Boomerang,” that sounds destined for inclusion on a future movie soundtrack.

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