The opening line from Chasing Cars – “We’ll do it all, everything, on our own” – seemed apt for Snow Patrol’s stripped down concert at KL Live on Thursday.
Titled Snow Patrol Acoustic Live In Kuala Lumpur and presented by Heineken Live Your Music, the show featured only frontman Gary Lightbody, guitarist Nathan Connolly and stand-in keyboardist Ryan McMullan on stage, with the rest of the band – Paul Wilson (bass), Jonny Quinn (drums), and Johnny McDaid (piano) – absent for various reasons.
In an earlier interview with StarLifestyle, Connolly said that they decided to use the Snow Patrol Acoustic format as a way to reach out to as many countries and fans as possible, as it was simpler to move the tour around that way.
Not that we were complaining though. It may have been a more low-key and intimate gig than we were expecting, but it was still a memorable affair thanks mostly to the strength of Snow Patrol’s songs.
An accomplished singer-songwriter of his own right, McMullan doubled as the opening act for the show with a 30 minute repertoire of some lyrically vivid and storied ballads (that even included the chorus from Michael Sembello’s 80s hit She’s A Maniac, for some reason).
He set the mood for what was to come, as Snow Patrol started out their set with the hugely popular Chocolate from its 2002 hit album Final Straw.
However, it soon became apparent that Lightbody was struggling a little with his vocals on the song – his delivery was a little raspy, and he was clearly straining to hit the higher notes.
He later apologised for this, explaining that he had caught a throat and chest infection while on the tour, but decided to push ahead with the KL concert nonetheless instead of cancelling it and disappointing the band’s Malaysian fans.
Fortunately, the Malaysian crowd was more than willing to help him out throughout the gig, singing along not only to the mega hits like Run and Chasing Cars, but even the newer songs from the band’s latest album, Wildness.
The sheer glee (or was it relief?) on Lightbody’s face when he realised that the crowd could help him sing almost every single verse was worth the price of the ticket alone.
Of course, it also helped that the 14 song setlist (including the encore) covered the band’s most popular songs. While there were songs from Final Straw (Chocolate, Run), 2008’s A Hundred Million Suns (Crack The Shutters) and 2010’s Fallen Empires (Called Out In The Dark, This Isn’t Everything You Want), 2005’s global hit Eyes Open unsurprisingly contributed the lion’s share of songs (Chasing Cars, You're All That I Have, Eyes Open and Shut Your Eyes).
Happily, even those from Wildness scored well with the crowd, despite the relative new-ness of the songs, with fans singing along to the soaring Empress, Don’t Give In, Heal Me, and best of all, giving Lightbody a hand with the falsetto verses on What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get.
After they wrapped up the concert with the rousing Just Say Yes, there was really nothing to complain about (though it was a little disappointing that they didn’t sing How To Be Dead, a song I would imagine was tailor-made for this stripped down format).
On hindsight, we were fortunate to even get to see them in action. The KL concert would prove to be Snow Patrol’s last show in the region – the band was forced to cancel its subsequent concerts in Jakarta and Singapore, as Lightbody is under doctor’s orders to rest for a few weeks to recover from his illness.
Still, this was Snow Patrol’s first ever show in Malaysia, and if it can be this good with just half the band and a half-fit Lightbody, we really hope it returns with a full show in the future. Come on, guys, just say yes!