'Something I've Never Seen Before'

7 Aug 200967
Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol was so knocked out by last night's show in Katowice that he sat down and wrote us this piece.

I had to write about this. I simply had to. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here as this is U2's site and hallowed ground for all of you but this story needs to be told. The shows so far on this tour have all been amazing and each night the crowd's reaction to U2 has been loud and joyous and passionate. Last night in Poland though was something else. Hard to explain. Let me try.

I have never in my life seen a crowd reaction like that of Katowice last night. Right from opener Breathe there was a daft magic in the air. Insanity everywhere you looked. People's faces clothed in the kind of joy I've only seen in gospel churches and then only on the TV so to see this religious fervour up close was overwhelming. The city outside the stadium could have been under heavy fire from alien spacecraft and I don't think anyone would have heard, saw, or indeed cared that much.

Then The Edge takes to the piano for New Year's Day (playing it guitar pick still between his fingers!) and the place is bathed in red and white instantly. Red cards held aloft by the people on the floor and white cards in the seats to make a giant Polish flag you could probably see from space. It took the breath clean out of me. By the end even Bono was speechless, for a few seconds anyway. The things he said next are lost to me verbatim but what I won't forget is the tears that came to me then. In floods. And when I turned to check if anyone had snared me for blubbing I realised that every single person around me also had tears in their eyes. We were sharing something that simply never happens at rock shows anywhere. A collective emotional and spiritual surrender of epic proportions. This was majesty and tenderness married and that is a rare thing indeed.

Last night was something I've never seen before and I can't quite fathom it. Not sure I ever will or even want to. It will sit alongside the greatest nights of my life and I thank U2 and Poland for that. Also thank you to the Polish U2 fans for giving us the best reaction to our own set we've had on this tour so far. All in all then a night of triumphs.

I would tour with this band (we all, us Patrollers, would) 'til the last grain of sand tipped gently into the bottom half of the hourglass and yes that sounds (and perhaps is, why not) a massive hint hint to stay on this magic carpet ride a little/a lot longer but believe me when I say this: this is the greatest show on earth. Why on earth would you buy just anyone's cockatoo? Long may they reign!

Gary Lightbody, aged 33, Bangor, Northern Ireland, Overwhelmed.x

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That was beautiful. Really heartfelt and says a lot about him as a person...I'm speechless. Much respect for Gary and the rest of Snow Patrol :) I'm glad I'll be seeing them later in the tour.
Thank You!
Hi Gary Having seen U2 on every tour since the early 80's, I still have my first experience of the 360 to come at London's Wembley. (Although been following all the dates so far elsewhere) I SO wish you were there Snow Patrol!!! I'll get round to seeing one of your shows very soon! Your music is something else! Run, Chasing Cars *takes me to another more peaceful place* U2 have been and always will be my first love, but Snow Patrol! Coldplay who? ;)
The synergy U2 brings to an arena cannot be characterized, but think Gary put it best, " People's faces clothed in the kind of joy I've only seen in gospel churches and then only on the TV." I've seen every U2 tour since PopMart and have felt exactly the same way each time--although I only ever seem to be the only one in my general section crying. I can't wait to see them in NYC!! I'll be sure to have my tissues handy!
U2 Polish Fun Forever!
I can't spike more. Everything i've read on this page is strictly real truth! A concert, bands (Snow Patrol and U2 of course), people, weather, atmosphere - all of theese were extremally amazing! Thakns for all foreigners (especially from Czech Republic - so many of You) for being with us in Poland!!!!!!!!!!! marepa
You're a Rock Star
Gary-- thanks so much for this piece---I was at the show on Friday night and I am still at a loss for words. I have been a huge U2 fan for years (wrote a piece about them recently : http://www.theaacl.co.uk/on-the-road/stalking-u2) and thought that I had seen some amazing shows. But Katowice topped it all. To see everyone holding up the red and white was fantastic but also, when the song was over, and everyone in unison kept chanting "Dzie ku je" took my breath away. Also, after we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Edge and then, again instantly and unscripted, the whole audience broke into a rousing rendition of "Sto Lat" (traditional Polish birthday song), well what can be said. I could tell U2 dug the evening as well; Adam, who rarely betrays emotion, turned to Bono as they were getting ready to walk off said something like "that was GREAT" (from what I could lip read). Then, as Adam left the stage, he smiled and did a pretty exuberant fist pump. Am going to the shows in London this weekend but I just can't quite imagine they will have the spontaneity, the expression and the heart like Katowice did. Thank you Gary for your piece, for your music and for expressing the inexpressible. Ginanne, London
Thanks :)
I was disappointed couldn't see Snow Patrol in Dublin and I couldn't be in Poland as well. But my heart was there, and I'm still crying when I'm watching NYD in Chorzow on You Tube...I wish I was there. Anyway, thx Gary for Your beautiful letter, You are a great men. Take care! Anna, Poland
I´ve been a U2 fan for 10 years now and I´ve seen many concerts of them and they are just amazing! It is pure magic to see them live! But the shows with Snow Patrol as opening act are PERFECTION! I didn´t really know them until I saw them in Berlin this year and I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotions! U2 AND Snow Patrol - nothing is better than this! So please PLEASE keep on supporting U2 on their tours, this is the best thing someone could wish for!!
U2 wow! Snow Patrol wow! :-)
I'v been to several U2 concerts: Zoo TV (1993), Pop Mart (1997), Elevation (2001), Vertigo (2005), 360° (2009),... A U2 concert is not just a concert, it's a unique experience full of emotions shared with so many beautiful people. Gary, I saw you guys playing live for the first time during U2's Vertigo Tour in Brussels 2005. I liked your performance a lot. Seeing you guys twice in Amsterdam and Gelsenkirchen on this 360° Tour was just amazing!!! I was completely overwhelmed by your fantastic performance, your positive energy and the warm reaction of the audience. You guys definitely rocked! Yesterday I heard your song "Shut your eyes" on the readio and told my boyfriend about your brilliant performance! I'm definitely going to buy all your cd's now. I hope to see you again on a U2-tour and especially on your own world tour! Thanks for your beautiful music!!! :-)
I'm still speachless
I absolutelly agree with Gary! That was something I have never seen! To see U2 concert was one of my dreams and I knew I will get best ever emotions and impressions, but feelings that I had watching the concert just exceeded my expectations! That was wonderful, amazing, just fantastic concert! And before, I couldn't ever understand ,why fans are used to cry while watching the concert of their beloved artist. Couldn't understand until I got to U2 concert. while listening to the music and feeling it's power, my eyes got filled with tears... It was such a power in the air! Something unexplainable! I don't think, there is anyone else but U2 that can raise such feelings and power! Sorry for perhaps rustic writing, but I'm still under a spell of the concert :) Thank You, U2, for all those unforgetable emotions! Ieva from Vilnius, Lithuania
That's way U2 shows are amazing...
Gary explained very well why people all over the world camp at the door of the stadiums and arenas days several days before the show, cause U2 is not just music, U2 is a way of live and a way to express our feelings and opinions. I'm waiting for you in Lisbon, Portugal guys.U2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You talked from my heart
Gary, I was searching for the words since Thursday night and in this letter, you just talked from my heart! I will never forget this evening; there was love, faith, magic in the air and the whole stadium was ONE. We were there from Hungary, but I am proud that we could have been a part of it! IT WAS MAGNIFICENT!!! So thank you Snow Patrol for the fantastic warm up, thank you U2 for the magic, thank you Polish friends that we could have been a part of it with you and thank you Gary for talking from my heart!
a fan's duty
i drove 600kms on thursday to stand in queue for 8 hrs staring at the sun. a few times i felt like i was too old for this: it was much easier in '93 in budapest. but i saw all the tours since (3 times each) and chorzow // vertigo // 2005 was the best of all. i expected "the flag" again, but still, it was simply massive. i will have to be early again on sunday, in zagreb! as a SP fan as well :-) hcs, 36, hungary
Thanks Snow Patrol and U2!
I had the luck to be there! It was the best day in my life! I was in the Amsterdam too, but this show was completely different, the most amazing in all 360 tour. There was such atmosphere, you can't feel anywhere else in this world. I'm speechless. There are no words to describe this wonderful event and feelings, which we all had there. Can't wait to see the best band in the world again!!!
Thanks a lot!
Thank You Gary! Now I know that for everyone, really everyone it was night to never be forgotten. I'm waiting for more nights like this one. It was priceless show, priceless hours of my life. We were one big family there. And thank You for being there Snow Patrol. I love your 'chasing cars' and 'you're all i have' Thanks a lot!
Thank you Snow Patrol !
It was a great night for us all. I guess everyone felt that there was something special this day going on in here. As from the beginning of the first Snow Patrol song I've felt that this night will be never forgotten. Thanks to Snow Patrol for their great music and for warming us up. Great night, great crowd, great bands, great show. What do we need more?
thank you thank you
I am sitting in front of the computer with tears steaming down my face. wow what beautiful words, I am lost for words! I am a massive U2 fan and have been for many years. I was in amsterdam and made sure that I was in the stadium in time to see the whole of your show, it was brilliant. I saw you in wembley too in 2005. Such emotion in your words Thanks
Beautifully said
Thank you Gary. thanks for the music and for those beautiful words. I was in the white part of the flag. And when Bono spoke, I also cried like a baby. I absolutely adore what happened last Thursday and I'm happy we all could be part of it. You were the perfect SUPPORT and I wish you come back to Poland very soon!!
I want to say thank you-to all polish fans,I knew it will be great show with you but this was THE BEST!fanstastic unbelievable...from the begining how fans organize themselves from the early morning and security guys fantastic also...and of course the show,the atmosphere.From now on Poland is the country I can´t miss any concert!Thank you!
Tom L
Snow Patrol Rocks!
Hi Gary.. U2 was fabulous but Snow Patrol rocks! One of the best supports I have ever seen.. Thanks a lot for your warm words.. this is just that we all have been a part of a celebration last night out there in Katowice.. Cheers everyone...
david b
Gary Lightbody
Gary , you and your band a true class. I have been a fan of yours since I saw you at Norwich Uea just after you released Run. You compliment U2 with similar ideals , I am delighted that you are supporting in Chicago , as we thought we wouldnt see you as you were not doing London , Paris , Sheffield or Cardiff , but my beautiful Fiancee got has treated me to Soldier Field , on my 40th Birthday!!! Remenber we will be supporting you in Chicago "Even if you cant hear our voices , We'll be right behind you dears "
Thanks Snow Patrol!
Thanks for these nice words... I'd like to add, that You - Snow Patrol - were the one who warmed this great People up:) So You were the part of us that night! Thank You once again Snow Patrol!
Gary, That was beautiful. I've seen you and your band on tour in the States (you and your guys are the next to explode) and to read your expression of what happened in Chorzow brought a tear to my cynical eye. Long live Rock 'n Roll and long may U2 and Snow Patrol reign the charts. Chorzow was what Rock is all about! Thank you!
AWSOME cant agree more! Cant wait till they come to the States!!
no words as well, Gary...
I feel proud and honored that we've become a source of true and beautiful emotions. It is tremendously rare and monumental - 70.000 people becoming one spirit for just one night. It was seen from the first tune of 'Breathe' till the last sound of 'Moment of Surrender'. I was standing there, totally unaware what was happening to me because I was so mesmerized and intoxicated indeed. There was standing a girl from Russia next to me. I'd never met her before and we hadn't even share a single talk just to begin to sing together and holding hands throughout the whole night few seconds later... I'm enormously happy I could be a part of this unforgettable and beautiful musical spectrum. I am unconditionally and inevitably under the spell of that night. Snow Patrol began to play, I was standing right in front of the stage and my gladness grew stronger as I saw you, Gary, smiling at us while we were cheering and having a great time. This was magical. Thank you, U2 and Snow Patrol equally, for bringing us at the highest point of the most raised, elevated consciousness and freeing our minds and souls by infusing them with your music. WE ALL LOVE YOU VERY MUCH Sandra from Poland xx
Collective surrender
I read this and was swept away in your U2 Moments!I believe that many, if not all, U2 fans have shared in a similar U2 experience...Tears streamed down my face when I saw Larry, Adam, the Edge & Bono making their way to the stage in Boston in 2001...and they had not begun to sing as of yet! A fan since I was 14, to see them live after so many years...I just knew what was coming!!! Anticipating Snow Patrol with U2 Boston 20 Sept. 2009!!!
A Very Emotional Ride
Thank you, Gary, for this very touching recount of the Poland show. I was listening to the audio feed as the concert was underway, and I was tearing up, as well. Seeing the pictures now brings me back to my own U2 experiences, and how I felt then, and they made me think of how I will feel again in another month or so. U2 shows are such magical moments, that it's hard not to get lost in emotion. I just wish that you and your fantastic band were a part of this tour the whole time, because that would make my N.Y. experience that much more magical, indeed. Thanks again - very beautiful!
It is really difficult to say something after reading such an amazing letter. Thank You. Yesterday I had the fortune to take part in U2's amazing show... And I must confess - it took my breath and tears away, and the thing is... That I don't want it back. We just went crazy! I would also like to thank You for Your great performance as a support for U2. I wasn't familiar with Your music before, but You can rest assured that I will catch up and buy Your cd's as soon as possible. Great band. I hope to see You again in Poland, Snow Patrol. Along with Bono and his friends. Best of luck! From Poland.
Gene Grabowski
Passion and Sincererty
As a 25-year fan of U2, I've always admired their passion and sincerety as artists. As a Polish-American, I understand the emotion of a song like "New Year's Day." I am so glad U2 has gone to Poland again! See you in Chicago!!
Deeply Moving - Thank You
As a devoutly religious person who has sat in many religious services, I can attest to an incredible spiritual experience at U2 shows - unlike any other concert. This letter alone gave me chills. C.S. Lewis once commented that there is something in us that longs for a deeper sense of community and fellowship (he sees it as evidence of the Divine - as do I) - and a U2 concert brings that out ... epically (if that's a word!).
Greetings from Norway to U2 and the Poli
Travelling all the way from Oslo, Norway, Thomas and Janne, devoted fans since 1986, attended the Poland concert and had the time of their lives! What an amazing night, it is something to be cherished forever! Our throats are still sore from singing, and it leaves us wanting more! Creating our own Milky way under a full moon was, although simple, a beautiful experience, and a night like this pulls us out of everyday life and into something we don't get to feel too often, a feeling of elevation, companionship, solidarity and wanting to do good for other people. We want the feeling to stay with us always! Thanks to the band and the Polish fans! Thomas and Janne Sandborg, Norway
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