On Friday night Biffy Clyro played the first of their soon-to-be legendary “album” shows at Glasgow Barrowland. On each night the band will play from just two of their six albums with all six covered by the time they finish the three-show stint.
With Gig #1 nobody knows what to expect, beyond the setlist featuring only songs from Blackened Sky and Puzzle. At 8:30 the lights go down and the band appear to a raucous welcome. It’s fitting that the first song is also the first track from their first album, ’Joy.Discovery.Invention.’ The song ended with a huge sing along from the excited Barrowland crowd.
Taking a minute to consider the Barrowland, Biffy Clyro wanted to play these one-off shows in this room because it is such an iconic venue. A rite of passage for most bands, and especially so if you are local. They even took their time preparing the room, from the song lyrics adorning the staircase entrance, the extra curtains at the back to add weight to the sound, and the removal of the centre glitter balls to aid perfect acoustics as a result of the extra row of speakers which hung half-way down the hall.
I can’t describe the setlist here, it would take too long. However in just over two hours we are treated to all but one track from Puzzle, all but two from Blackened Sky, and a handful of b-sides from both albums. 30 songs in total, some of which Simon Neil admitted they had never played live before, and I’m not even going to pretend to have known them all. However each was greeted with joy from the crowd, who were only slightly more ecstatic than the band seemed at playing these shows, whose setlist was curated by the fans (through voting). It is worth a note on how strong the show sounded given they were constrained to only picking from two albums. But then that’s also the point in showcasing two albums each night!
Extra measures were put in place to make sure that tickets were bought and used by fans. Stringent photo ID checks were in place to ensure these gigs were truly for fans only, and no exploitation occurred through secondary markets and ticket touts. This was absolutely the right thing to do, as proven by one moment I saw last night; Biffy were playing a song (I didn’t know what it was), in fact only a handful of people were singing along, but there was one girl just standing singing word for word with tears streaming down her face…she looked SOOOO happy!
In that moment I saw why these shows are so special, so definitely for the fans, and how Biffy Clyro have attained a level in their career that so many bands can only dream of. Roll on gigs number 2 and 3!