Playing their 8th T in the Park, Friday night headliners, Snow Patrol have Run a long way since their first set here in 1997.
Opening with one of their heavier tracks, Hands Open, Gary Lightbody and his merry men looked delighted to be back in their spiritual home. Taking it easy on stage in his leather shirt with Take Back This City, this ease may have translated to some... ahem, me, as them coming across as, dare I say it, a little boring. Well, a lot boring.
With the crowd going a bit limp and fading into more animated chatter the further from the front of the stage you moved, I began to wonder if perhaps Snow Patrol were just too blasé for the crowd who were simply raring to give it large. It was Friday night after all, and not just any Friday night. This was T in the Park.
This doubt turned out to be fleeting, as reliably Snow Patrol pulled it right out of the bag and delivered. Announcing that they had two special guests for their headline set, the lustrous Lisa Hannigan soon joined them on stage. The fellow irish musician, best known for her work with Cannonball Damien Rice, took on the vocal of Martha Wainwright in the haunting Set The Fire To The Third Bar. Bringing some luminescence to the previously dull set, the Snow Patrol classic still wasn't fully appreciated by the crowd. This is where chart stormer Run triggered proceedings into action.
Dedicating the track to DF Concerts for having them time and time again, the band finally ignited a more notable crowd response for the anthem. With Gary Lightbody describing the moment as the highlight of his year, I thought it wasn't going to get any better than this, and with the bass overspill from King Tut's Wah Wah Tent tugging at my earlobes, I decided to maze through the vast crowd for an alternative finish to Friday night.
The dense crowd took a bit of working through, and luckily I was still around for another firecracker to light up the stage. Cue boy of the moment, and potential future patron saint of Irn-Bru, Ed Sheeran, to burst on to the stage, for a rare rework of New York. Singing a close harmony in the song, which is about a faraway lover, the pair took on the romance of the track comically, and the harmony was delivered surprisingly heartfelt, as they embraced in matey fashion.
Reinforced by Lightbody that the performance was a T in the Park special, Sheeran jogged off the stage before he could loop a guitar, and electronica legends, New Order had to be investigated further.
Rollocking into the well-trampled King Tuts Wah Wah Tent in time for Bizarre Love Triangle, the atmosphere this side of T was much more electric, not even counting the 80s synths and samplers which sculpted the party fast sound waves.
Arriving at the stage of their set where they were less post-punk and more influential electronica, True Faith was teamed with dancing robot visuals, not that you could see much from the back of the packed tent. With most of the crowd leaping with their hands in the air, this seems to have been the Friday night finish hand-picked by the T in the Park party animals.
I'm not sure if he had already thrown his toys off of the stage earlier in his set, but last night Bernard Sumner was positively delighted, telling the crowd that they'd play all night if they could, but Steve, their drummer, wasn't into it anymore. Yes, it's true, Barney did indeed crack a solitary joke.
The obligatory Blue Monday of perfection had all the robot dance floor moves you could imagine recreated, before the youthful Temptation to finish. Ambling back across the expansive site to Snow Patrol's Just Say Yes, and their set ending on a mammoth high, I'm glad I said yes to New Order and got the best of both worlds.
Friday is crossed off the list, the site is still very much mud free, and this rumoured downpour is still just a rumour. Let's hope The Stone Roses don't start the Waterfall tonight.