Challenging each other to football is one way to level the playing field. So the crews and musicians of Coldplay and Snow Patrol are engaged in a series of soccer games on this tour. Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody describes the games as round robins in which both sides have won and lost. Despite inequities, the games put both groups on an equal footing, writes canada.com today.
As he notes, it's rare for a headlining band such as Coldplay to take an interest in its opening act but he also says that "this has been on the horizon for a long time."
No doubt he means that Snow Patrol frequently is mentioned with Coldplay. The Irish/Scottish Snow Patrol released its first album around the same time, 2003, Coldplay was experiencing its first rush of success and there are similarities in the sound, direction and open-mindedness of both. The difference is scale.Despite hits such as Run and especially Chasing Cars, which could have made Snow Patrol a headliner in its own right, the band is opening. "Our job is to warm up the crowd," explains Lightbody. "There are no egos. It's a good opportunity to play for a lot of people. We're having a ball."
It's also an opportunity for Snow Patrol to do a quick introduction without pressure. If the first two albums yielded a few hits, the current A Hundred Million Suns makes more use of the studio, is denser, and therefore doesn't translate as easily to the stage. Lightbody, the band's writer and singer, acknowledges that some of the album tracks will remain album tracks. "We're only playing a couple of songs from the new album and they seem to be fitting in," he says. "There are four or five that do work live, but there a few that don't. I'm proud of all our albums but I realize that once you put it to bed, that's it. It's done for all time."
With heartfelt rockers Snow Patrol now on the road with Coldplay as their latest support act, the official site asked frontman Gary Lightbody how it's going...
Hello Gary, how are you?
Hey there, am grand thanks.
Where are you?
On our way from Texas to the show in Des Moines, Ohio tonight.
How have the first few days of the tour with Coldplay been?
They've been great. We've been treated really well and they have a lovely crew that are being great with our crew. Also they are kicking ass each night. Their show is spectacular. Shaping up as a perfect tour really.
Do you approach support slots differently to headline shows?
You have to really. It's not our crowd and we want to win them over for sure, but also we are the warm-up act and we want to do just that. We try our best to get the crowd as energised as possible, so they're well warm by the time Coldplay come on. You leave your ego at the door for support slots. Best that way.
Have the Coldplay crowds been receptive?
Yes they have. They've been great. There have even been a few singalongs. Hard to know what to expect when you're the support act, but they've been really warm and lovely to us.
You go straight from Coldplay to U2 stadium shows. Are you looking forward to those?
Yes definitely. We toured with U2 in 2005 and we're delighted to be asked again.
For any Coldplay fans who aren't familiar with your music (though lots will be), please could you tell us a bit about Snow Patrol and what you sound like.
The hardest question of them all!! For any band. Two things really first and foremost: melody and honesty. Although live we are a hell of a lot more rock than people might expect. We've been going 15 years so we've been about a bit, but the fire is still there. You'll see that if you get there early and catch us.
Last.fm's auto-recommendation software suggests that Coldplay fans might well like Snow Patrol and vice versa. Would you tend to agree?
Yes I think we write from similar places (as above) although I don't think we sound particularly alike. Essentially we both write big, beautiful music from the heart that, yes, I'm sure would appeal to both sets of fans.
How did you come to be on the tour?
They asked us. Coldplay are one of the few bands that have been around as long as us that we haven't played with til now so it's great to finally get to play together.
Had you met them before?
A few times but only briefly really. Didn't know them very well but they are gentlemen for sure.
Have you been enjoying their shows?
Yes, very much. The stage show is spectacular and their playing is awesome. Chris's voice is exceptional live. Also they are playing my favourite song, Glass Of Water, so that's a bonus too.
Have you had chance to hang out with the band yet?
Yes, we hung out yesterday as two of their lovely crew were having a birthday party and we were invited. A very great day in the texas sunshine. Til the tornado hit that is. Seriously. Exciting though.
Is there any time for any sightseeing on this tour?
You have to make time or life becomes a scooby-doo backdrop (tourbus, gig, tourbus, gig, hotel, tourbus, gig, etc). We're good at getting out into a city and exploring.
What's the best on tour sightseeing you've done?
In my life? Well, I jumped off the southern hemisphere's tallest building a few years back in New Zealand. That was fun. Also we did some boat-surfing (?! it was new to me too) yesterday, which I'd never done before and am now maybe addicted to. I may need to talk to someone. Not sure a sharkophobic surf junkie is appropriate. Only in land locked water for me!
Are you travelling around on a tourbus? If so, what's the best way to pass the time on the journies? (apart from sleeping!)
Reading (at the moment I'm on David Mitchell's debut 'Ghostwritten' and David Niven's autobiography 'The Moon's A Balloon', both of which I recommend) listening to music (anything by James Blackwell, Mstrcrft, The Maccabees, The Lowly Knights, Foy Vance, too much to mention) and watching some films and TV (30 rock, Earl, etc, funny stuff is best for the bus I find)
Pete Yorn spoke highly of Coldplay's catering - what do you think?
Yes, it's been great each night.
What have Snow Patrol got planned for the rest of the year?
We're going to be on tour, with U2 and by ourselves until December. Christmas off methinks.
Our final question is always "what's your favourite Coldplay song?". But you've already answered it.
Yes, I'll stick with Glass Of Water, though there are many greats. It's just a thrilling piece of music isn't it. Live especially. Look close enough each night and you'll see my ever-growing haystack hair, shaking joyfully to it in the wings.
For more information on Snow Patrol, head over to snowpatrol.com.