I want you to imagine a 15 year old, acned, curly haired, socially awkward, high school sophomore sitting at a computer in an empty classroom. It’s deadline week for the school newspaper. Tension is high, he has an entire school to impress. As if nerves and romances and AP classes weren’t enough, the final drafts were due to the editor tomorrow. Blank screen in front of him, nothing coming to mind, he sits. He waits. And he listens.
To his right, a computer mouse. In front of him, a keyboard. To his left, a 3rd Generation iPod Nano. You remember the one—more square than its ancestors, thin, sleek and silver. Or maybe mint green, or pink. Headphones on, he’s listening to the only thing keeping him calm; Gary Lightbody, lead singer of Snow Patrol, on repeat.
I feel like every teen in the early 2010s grew up with “Chasing Cars.” If you think you don’t know this song, you’re wrong. You’ll immediately recognize the first two notes, and you’ll be able to sing, at the very least, the chorus. My Xanax was “The Finish Line.” It was keeping me sane these penultimate hours before deadlines. Snow Patrol is my ‘Nostalgia Band,’ every song is accompanied with its own geographical point in my life. That empty classroom, long, intimate conversations with my best friend, falling asleep to the radio at my childhood house…
Music this special and personal had to be treated carefully, for fear of ‘overwriting’ the files on which they were previously written. After high school, they were used sparingly, maybe to relive the old high school days or introduce some Zen into an otherwise stressful finals week. But the songs never lost their sentimental charm. Connecting with music is a very human process, I think, and there are few better ways to celebrate that than seeing your musical heroes live. Problem was, Snow Patrol hadn’t toured since 2012.
Seven years trudged by, and finally I got notified, and naturally bought tickets as quickly as I could. I was even more thrilled to find they were playing at The Anthem in DC, a venue I’d previously attended and fell in love with. The stars had aligned. And I couldn’t be happier.
Friday, April 26th, 2019, I was able to relive my childhood while well into my 20s. Gary forgot words. Laughed in the middle of performances. Openly admitted his inability to hit high notes before singing, and then aptly proceeded to miss said notes.
But this was the greatest concert I’d ever attended.
I was captivated by his kind, soft, welcoming nature. The performance was raw, it was sentimental, and it connected him with every attendee, and every attendee with each other. It was the best way to cap a seven-year hiatus, and for that, I am forever grateful. It was everything I could ever ask for and offered incredible justice to the years and years of narrating the most formative and personal years of my life. It was both a conclusion and a brand new adventure and punctuated a dream I never thought I’d experience.
Take the time to indulge in these kinds of experiences. Opportunities like these can be once-in-a-lifetime. Make the time. Treat yourself, even if it means temporarily starving your wallet. You’ll thank yourself later.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Angels and Airwaves just announced their new tour, and I have tickets to purchase.