The Courteeners returned to Old Trafford Cricket ground for a massive homecoming show. When we say massive, we talking fifty-thousand tickets sold in ninety minutes massive. Joining Liam Fray and co for this homecoming party were The Big Moon, and fellow Mancunians Blossoms and Johnny Marr.

Sadly, a battle with Manchester traffic saw us arrive at the venue as London quartet The Big Moon were heading the other way. A huge roar went up as Stockport indie favourites Blossoms as they made their entrance and, in front of a crowd packed with many fans, Tom Ogden and the band made sure this early evening party was swinging. Opening with “Your Girlfriend” through fan favourites like “There’s a Reason Why” and “Honey Sweet” the psychedelic indie rock band were the perfect appetizer for what was to come.

Photo Copyright © Christopher James Ryan

Before he’d even taken to the stage, Johnny Marr’s name was ringing out around the stadium but, given his legendary status as part of The Smiths, it’s only fitting that he got this kind of hero’s welcome. “This isn’t wuss music,” laughed Marr after a particular raucous opener in “Panic”. Following that up with five more songs from The Smiths repertoire, Marr looked like he was loving every minute of his time on stage as did the crowd who lapped up the likes of “This Charming Man” and “Bigmouth Strikes Again” while “Easy Money” has the place absolutely rocking all enjoying an evening in the company of one of Manchester’s legendary sons.

Photo Copyright © Christopher James Ryan

A couple of weeks ago, The Courteeners woke up the sleepy seaside town of Scarborough with one of a few warm-ups the band played in preparation for the big homecoming. Like Marr before them, Liam Fray and co entered to a sound reserved for returning heroes and in front of a sea of red smoke and screaming fans launched into casually launched into “Are You in Love With a Notion?”.

There was nothing casual about their performance though as they rocked through a mammoth, fan-pleasing twenty-two song setlist that included “Acrylic”, “Better Man”, “The 17th” and many more. Dwarfed by huge video screens and banks of lights, Liam in particular looked like he was lapping up every minute of the experience while his bandmates simply sat back and soaked up the mayhem that was unfolding in front of them.

Bringing down the energy levels for a short acoustic session, it was a beautiful break in proceedings but, as the band returned for “Hanging Off Your Cloud”, chaos soon resumed. Bringing the night to a banging finale with “Not Nineteen Forever” and their first single “What Took You So Long?”, The Courteeners made sure that they sent fifty thousand fans back into the Manchester evening having had an unforgettable evening.

Photo Copyright © Christopher James Ryan




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