The Strokes wrap up UK comeback by headlining RockNess festival

Plus band celebrate USA's World Cup draw with Scottish crowd

The Strokes concluded their first series of UK shows in four years last night (June 13) by bringing Scotland’s RockNess Festival to a close in front of 35,000 people by the banks of Loch Ness.

The New Yorkers‘ return to Scotland – where they last played at T In The Park in July 2006 – was by far the best-attended event of the weekend, with their crowd dwarfing those of the festival’s Friday and Saturday night headliners, Fatboy Slim and Leftfield.

The band played a greatest hits set similar to their Isle of Wight appearance the night before, again taking to the stage to the strains of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ before opening with ‘New York City Cops’.

Frontman Julian Casablancas, wearing a rhinestone-studded leather jacket, remarked to the rabidly enthusiastic crowd declaring that: “Fucking Scotland! Man, I forgot how frickin’ rad you guys are.”

He also referenced to the USA‘s 1-1 World Cup draw with England the night before, and laughed before ‘Reptilia’ that: “You guys are pretty pleased that we took two points from England yesterday, I guess. Well, you’re welcome.”

The band seemed to be enjoying themselves, and Casablancas was in unusually chatty form throughout.

Upon spotting a flare going off in the audience during ‘Soma’, he remarked: “Nice flame, bro! We’ve got our very own Statue Of Liberty in Scotland.”

Later, after being repeatedly targeted by one fan with a green laser pen during ‘Red Light’ he told the crowd: “There’s a dude with a laser pointer in back, why is that dude always here? Even after all these years, he’s still going to festivals and thinking to himself, ‘Yeah, I’m going to laser point the shit out of these guys!'”

After bringing the set to an end with a riotous ‘Last Nite’ – during the solo of which Casablancas sang a few bars of Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’, which it has been likened to – the band returned for a four-song encore that kicked off with 2005 single ‘Juicebox’.

During ‘Under Control’, Casablancas managed to confuse drummer Fab Morretti by singing a couple of lines from The Bangles‘Eternal Flame’, before sheepishly apologising.

The show came to a end with the band’s traditional closing number ‘Take It Or Leave It’, before which Casablancas bid the crowd – and the fan with the laser pointer – farewell by saying: “I hope you all have fun in the tents tonight. Us yanks, we don’t go to festivals, so we’re not really sure what goes on in there. OK, I see laser pointer guy is back. There’s my cue.”

The Strokes played:

‘New York City Cops’
‘The Modern Age’
‘Hard To Explain’
‘What Ever Happened?’
‘You Only Live Once’
‘Vision Of Division’
‘I Can’t Win’
‘Is This It’
‘Red Light’
‘Last Nite’
‘Under Control’
‘Heart In A Cage’
‘Take It Or Leave It’

Get this week’s issue of NME, on UK newsstands this Wednesday (June 16), for The Strokes‘ only interview about their return.