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"Set the Fire to the Third Bar"
Single by Snow Patrol featuring Martha Wainwright
from the album Eyes Open
Released 14 November 2006 (UK)
Format CD; 7"
Recorded 2005
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:22
Label Interscope
Producer Jacknife Lee
Snow Patrol singles chronology
"Hands Open"
"Set the Fire to the Third Bar"
"Open Your Eyes"
Martha Wainwright singles chronology
"Far Away"
"Set the Fire to the Third Bar"
"Bleeding All Over You"
Music sample
"Set the Fire to the Third Bar"

"Set the Fire to the Third Bar" is a song from Snow Patrol's fourth album, Eyes Open, featuring Martha Wainwright on vocals. The song was released as a single on the 13 November 2006.



The song is about a long distance relationship[1] and its lyrics talk of a couple involved in one: ("I'm miles from where you are") and their longing to be together again ("I pray that something picks me up/ And sets me down in your warm arms"). After their long journey to meet each ("After I have travelled so far") they would settle down in front of an electric bar fire ("We'd set the fire to the third bar") and enjoy being together and warm.[citation needed]

Other versions

The song has been remixed by Anu Pillai of the band Freeform Five, a friend of Gary Lightbody and Tom Simpson.[2]

On November 12, 2009, Snow Patrol performed a version of "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" featuring Cheryl Cole for BBC Children In Need performance at the Royal Albert Hall.[3][4]


Guest vocalists

Snow Patrol have featured many guest vocalists on the song Set the Fire while on tour. Singers such as Lisa Hannigan, Miriam Kaufmann and actress Maria Doyle Kennedy have joined them during performances in the Republic of Ireland.[5][6] In the UK they have been joined by artists such as Cheryl Cole, and for their Royal Albert Hall show Andrea Corr[7] and unusually by a male vocalist, comedian James Corden.[8][9]

Music video

The video was filmed in the UK, directed by Paul McGuigan who also directed the video for "Signal Fire". The music video uses a split screen technique showing the couple very close together but at the same time far away from each other. Gary Lightbody is shown in a white interrogation room. Martha Wainwright is an observation room painted dark blue. He sings into the two way mirror, she looks back at him, close but still separated from him.

Track listings

  • CD Single:
  1. "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" - 3:22
  2. "You're All I Have" (Live in Hamburg) - 4:42
  • 7" Vinyl:
  1. "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" - 3:22
  2. "Chasing Cars" (Live in Hamburg) - 4:30
  • Promo CD:
  1. "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" (Radio Edit) - 3:16
  2. "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" - 3:22


Yahoo! Music's Dan Gennoe made comparisons of Snow Patrol with Coldplay throughout his review, calling the song "Gary Lightbody & co's decision to 'do a Coldplay'." He defended Snow Patrol stating that they "spent many a year making quirky, interesting and inspired music, which few wanted. Given the million selling opportunity afforded them by chart-eating anthem "Run", it'd surely be a fool who chose to return to obscurity." He reviewed the single positively, giving it 7 stars out of 10. Though he felt the song wasn't "boundary-pushing", it was "certainly interesting", with "Lightbody once again displaying the melodic lightness of touch which has served him so well both pre and post fame." To him, Martha Wainwright's "country quiver" was an "added interest" to the song, which helped "break-up bouts of dourness". He called the song "a bleakly beautiful ballad" and it was a "rare moment where Snow Patrol's emotional ache feels genuinely heartfelt rather than borrowed from Chris Martin."[10]

MusicOMH's Alvin Chan reviewed the song positively, calling it "a beautiful track", but felt it was "formulaic through and through." He heaped praise on the music, calling it "artful in its simplicity and, if one is in the right mood, vividly evocative. The unfussy melody is bolstered by gentle strings and buzzing keyboards." He also felt "Gary Lightbody delivers a characteristically raw vocal performance without sounding sappy or indulgent. Lightbody's vocals are perfectly complemented by Canadian songstress Martha Wainwright, whose arrestingly haunting voice is put to good use." He worried the "band's worrying overexposure" could lead the song being "heard in the background of every single TV show, commercial and dramatic montage."[11]

CityLife's Stephen Gilliver felt the song was the standout in a "disappointing" album, and called it "glorious". He said that Martha Wainwright's contribution to the song made it "a trademark brooding Snow Patrol epic of Run or Chasing Cars". He liked the contrast between Wainwright's expressive singing and Lightbody's dry delivery.[12]

The song is featured in a trailer for the 2010 film Dear John, which boosted the song's popularity enough for it to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, four years after its initial release.[citation needed]


Chart (2006) Year Peak
Belgium Ultratop 50[13][14] 2008 41
Ireland Singles Top 50[13] 2006 22
UK Singles Top 75[13] 2006 18
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 2010 54


Other personnel

  • Guram Lubaggi Jiménez - artwork[15][16]


  1. ^ Smith, Sean (20 March, 2007). "San Diego Music - The band Snow Patrol!". San Archived from the original on 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  2. ^ Barrie, Stuart (24 August, 2007). "The DJ Q & A - Freeform Five". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  3. ^ Coleman, Maureen (12 November 2009). "Snow Patrol team up with X Factor judge Cheryl Cole". The Belfast Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  4. ^ Snow Patrol & Cheryl Cole : 'Set The Fire To The Third Bar ' Children In Need 2009 at YouTube. Retrieved on 2009-12-06.
  5. ^ Ed Power (2009-12-04). "Review: Snow Patrol, Olympia Theatre, Dublin". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  6. ^ Lightbody, Gary. "Official Snow Patrol Blog". Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  7. ^ Maureen Coleman (2009-12-08). "Snow Patrol keep promise to stage Bangor concert". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  8. ^ "James Corden sings with Snow Patrol". BBC News. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  9. ^ "Gavin & Stacey’s Smithy star James Corden shows he’s on song". The Sun (newspaper) (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  10. ^ Dan Gennoe (2006-11-16). "Snow Patrol - 'Set the Fire to the Third Bar'". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved 2009-06-23.  7/10 stars
  11. ^ Alvin Chan (2006-11-13). "Snow Patrol - Set the Fire to the Third Bar (Polydor)". MusicOMH. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  12. ^ Stephen Gilliver (November 15, 2006). "Snow Patrol feat. Martha Wainwright - Set the Fire to the Third Bar (Fiction)". CityLife. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright - Set the Fire to the Third Bar". aCharts. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  14. ^ "Snow Patrol feat. Martha Wainwright - Set The Fire To The Third Bar" (in Dutch). Swisscharts (Hung Medien). Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  15. ^ "Snow Patrol - Set The Fire To The Third Bar". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  16. ^ "Images for Snow Patrol Featuring Martha Wainwright - Set The Fire To The Third Bar". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 

External links


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