The Courteeners play first of two huge homecoming shows at Manchester's Castlefield Bowl (July 5) The Courteeners Tickets

Blondie's Debbie Harry pays backstage visit to Liam Fray and co before show...

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The Courteeners played the first of two huge homecoming shows at Manchester's Castlefield Bowl last night (July 5).

The band returned to their home city to kick off their double-header at the outdoor venue yesterday evening, following the release of their third studio album, 'Anna', in February of this year. Previously, frontman Liam Fray had told NME that they had chosen the venue to provide a different experience from their show at Manchester Arena in 2010, which was their biggest headline gig to date. "We're a different animal to that of four years ago," he said. "We've a much larger back catalogue to pull from, and we're now aware that you shouldn't open with a song that no-one has ever heard before."

Staying true to his word, Fray and the rest of his bandmates kicked off their set with 'Are You In Love With A Notion?', the opening track from 'Anna', before ripping through a set which drew upon material from all of their studio LPs, with 'Lose Control' - also from their most recent record - swiftly followed by 'Cavorting', a single from their 2008 debut album 'St Jude'.

Referencing the weather, which had stayed sunny and warm all day, Fray told the crowd: "Isn't this lovely? Mother Nature must be a Courteeners fan." They then treated the crowd to renditions of 'Cross My Heart And Hope To Fly' from their second album, 2010's 'Falcon', as well as old favourites including 'Please Don't', 'Kings Of The New Road' and 'Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips'.

The band, who were watched on by Blondie icon Debbie Harry - who had earlier visited Fray and co backstage - then played two encore sets: the first consisting of 'Last Of The Ladies', 'Marquee' and a cover of The Smiths' 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out', while the second saw them sign off with recent single 'Not Nineteen Forever' and 'What Took You So Long' as masses of confetti fell upon the crowd.

The Courteeners played:

'Are You In Love With A Notion?'
'Lose Control'
'Cavorting'
'Acrylic'
'Cross My Heart And Hope To Fly'
'Van Der Graaf'
'Please Don't'
'Kings Of The New Road'
'Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips'
'Bide Your Time'
'That Kiss'
'When You Want Something You Can't Have'
'Take Over The World'
'The Opener'
'Welcome To The Rave'
'Sycophant'
'Last Of The Ladies'
'Marquee'
'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out'
'Here Come The Young Men'
'Not Nineteen Forever'
'What Took You So Long'


Earlier in the day, meanwhile, support had come from hometown band The Heartbreaks and teenage newcomers The Strypes, while Miles Kane also later took to the stage clad in a Union Jack suit. The Courteeners will play the Castlefield Bowl again this evening (July 6), where they will be backed by Findlay and James Skelly And The Intenders.

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