Liam Fray and co deliver a heartfelt homecoming in the face of tragedy
The Courteeners played an emotional and defiant homecoming show at Manchester’s LCCC Old Trafford cricket ground last night – even covering Oasis‘ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. Check out footage, photos and the setlist below.
The band vowed to go ahead with the gig after a terror attack at an Ariana Grande show in the city earlier in the week left 22 dead and 59 injured. As a result, there was increased security and police presence in and around the site, but with support from Cabbage, Blossoms and The Charlatans, the atmosphere was not threatened by fear or tension.
Opening the show, frontman Liam Fray created a heartfelt sense of unity and celebration by again reading the Ryan Williams’ poem ‘The Bees Still Buzz’ to the sold-out 50,000-strong crowd, in tribute to the city. Setting the tone for the evening, the audience erupted in cheers – in particular for the lines ‘we’re a city of workers, a city of shirkers, a city of tracksuits, and bibles and burkas’, and ‘if you think you can beat us, you don’t know who we are’.
From there, the band came on stage and kicked off with ‘Are You In Love With A Notion’, the start of a set packed with Courteeners classics and fan favourites that saw the swelling capacity crowd in constant dance and song, lit by flares as the evening sky set in.
While highlights came from ‘Acrylic’, ‘Lose Control’, ‘Fallowfield Hillbilly’ and ‘Take Over The World’, the centre-piece of the evening was Fray’s solo acoustic performance of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ – a song that Manchester has recently found new relevance in, in the wake of last week’s atrocities. This week even saw it re-enter the charts.
Ending the show with the ecstatic closers of ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ‘What Took You So Long’, Fray told the crowd: “Manchester, I’d wish we’d met under different circumstances. You’re a credit to yourselves.
“I want to say thank you for coming down and being so brave. It can’t have been easy. This has been the best night of our lives.”
The Courteeners played:
Are You in Love With a Notion?
No One Will Ever Replace Us
Bide Your Time
Take Over the World
Don’t Look Back In Anger (Oasis cover)
Here Come the Young Men
Not Nineteen Forever
What Took You So Long?
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The Courteeners return to play at Glastonbury festival next month.