When asked how his night was going, the beer man petulantly responded with, “unbelievably slow,” as he took $18 for two thimbles of Alexander Keith’s. To say the co-headlining gig with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Snow Patrol at Rogers Arena was sparsely attended is an understatement as the place felt empty. One can’t help but wonder if scheduling a Snow Patrol concert on a night when a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy was set to air was a costly oversight.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds took the stage and started with the 1994 Oasis b-side “(It’s Good) To Be Free”. Fronted by Britpop’s favourite hooligan, they’re basically an Oasis tribute band, albeit a very good one. The new material from NGHFB’s 2011 self-titled debut sounds like the band that made Gallagher famous, and they also play a lot of Oasis songs, which, of course, were received enthusiastically by the crowd.
However, the loudest cheers came when the U.K. icon gave the audience what they really wanted: him acting like an arrogant asshole. An overly excited fan upfront was yelling at Gallagher that it was his birthday. Much the crowd’s delight, the frontman responded with, “I don’t give a fuck whose birthday it is. It’s not my birthday. I don’t care.” A few songs later, as the fan, who apparently had a bit too much birthday cheer, was being escorted off the premises Gallagher kidded, “Getting kicked out for talking to me? Good!”
Looking like he was having a lot of fun, Gallagher ended his set with the Oasis classic “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” It was great end to a surprisingly good show from a legend who’s still got it.
Snow Patrol, the television montage–friendly alt-poppers from Scotland, took the stage next in support of their sixth studio album, Fallen Empires. Fronted by the sweet-voiced Gary Lightbody, the band opened with “Chocolate” while video screens showed a laughably cheap-looking computer-generated eagle flying around. The eagle remained there for most for the show, inspiring you to make more than one joke about how stingy the Scottish are.
The crooner tried his best to engage the audience with banter, working “Vancouver” into the lyrics of “Hands Open”, and attempting to get the crowd to join in. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well for him; you really haven’t witnessed depressing until you see a rock star try to start a sing-along with an apathetic crowd in a mostly vacant hockey arena.
Nine songs into its set and Snow Patrol had already played “Called Out In The Dark”, “Run”, and its smash hit “Chasing Cars”, which so famously played during the dramatic season-two finale of Grey’s Anatomy when Izzie’s malpractice killed Denny shortly after he proposed to her. It felt like Lightbody might have blown his load a little early. This wasn’t the case though as it turned the group was going to be playing a very short set. Snow Patrol only did a few more songs before finishing with “Just Say Yes” and left the stage without returning for an encore.
Undeniably, Lightbody has an incredible set of pipes. The more emotional Snow Patrol numbers make you want to run to the bathroom and cry while stuffing your face with a churro. But the people who dropped upwards of $90 for tickets to see the group were probably wishing they stayed home and caught that episode of Grey’s Anatomy instead of watching a rather curt performance.
this article was originally published in the georgia straight in October 2012