The Courteeners – Old Trafford Cricket Ground

Manchester have had an awful week, a place of music and happiness was completely ruined and turned into a place of fear. The people of Manchester have come together in solidarity to remember the victims of the attack. Love always wins.

The Courteeners, a band from Manchester holding a gig for 50,000 people isn’t an opportunity that every band gets and a lot of you are going to be rolling your eyes at me already, but this has been built up to be one of the biggest gigs of the year. For most people and for me. The build up is always exciting, it’s special and it’s tense but a good feeling knowing that your favourite band are going to step out onto a large stage and sing to 50,000 people. The feeling is surreal. Walking into the stadium itself made me feel emotional, everyone was piling in, running to get a good view but what most excited me was the fact that people were chanting and singing already, everyone was ready for their night.. they were prepared to have the best night of their lives.

Cabbage, Blossoms and The Charlatans opened the show, the crowd showing no fear, enjoying the support acts – the three bands who are some of the biggest in the music industry right now, all played amazingly, attracting large crowds with immense atmosphere to go with it. I witnessed a few middle-aged adults pulling their faces at the explicit content in Cabbage’s song ‘Dinner Lady’. I guess not everyone can like them. They pulled it out of the bag last night after sexual assault claims over the bands leading man Lee Broadbent last month. Blossoms and The Charlatans were phenomenal as well, with large crowds cheering and dancing; the hype for the Courteeners was getting stronger as the night went on.

At 20:45 Liam Fray stepped on the stage, a roar of cheer echoed and boomed through the stadium. He came out to pay his respects to the victims of the Manchester attack. He came out alone and read the heartfelt poem by Ryan Williams ‘The Bees Still Buzz’. It was emotional and silent and it was a perfect moment to remember the twenty two people who died in a place of music and community. It was a time to reflect on how much joy music brings to people’s lives and we were going to celebrate that. After sharing an emotional few moments with us, Liam walked off the stage only for us to hear ‘Morning Glory’ ringing in our ears. It was finally time. The atmosphere was at its highest, everyone was bouncing, screaming, cheering and clapping for the opening song ‘Are You In Love With An Notion?’ which is one of the most popular and well known songs by the Courteeners.

It’s never a Courteeners gig without a smoke bomb though, is it?

There was something different about last night, and it wasn’t the fact that I am normally used to being inside a hot and sweaty room.. it was the fact that it felt like Manchester needed a boost. Everyone was happy, no one seemed to be worrying about the occurrences over the past week. No one had a care in the world, throwing their dark fruits, dancing like mad-man. I saw men and women in their thirties moshing and singing every single word to each song. It was amazing seeing so many different age groups coming together to enjoy this very special night.

The next three opening songs were ‘Cavorting’, ‘Acrylic’ and ‘Lucifer’s Dreams’ and then he stopped to tell his fans that they should never stop doing what they enjoy the most..just before ‘Push Yourself’ was played. I saw a different side to Liam Fray last night, he was vulnerable, friendly and he wanted to make the crowd happy, he wanted them to feel as if they could enjoy themselves. I talk to people and they tell me how much of a ‘prick’ he is, and how ‘pretentious’ they think he is too, but not last night. He was a different person, he was passionate and he showed this throughout the gig. He was different.

“Never stop doing something that you enjoy” – Liam Fray

The atmosphere remained the same, it was energetic and there was strong bond between everyone.

The most special moment of the gig and I think you all know what I am going to say.. the Oasis cover. It was so unexpected but it was so stunning. I shed a few tears whilst singing my heart out. I felt grateful that I could be there in that very moment, I felt happy that I was there to witness such a euphoric performance. 50,000 people singing ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ will stick with me for the rest of my life. This was for the 22.

All of the songs played for the encore were upbeat to keep the atmosphere lively and loud, but there was never one dull moment last night and I can happily say, it was one of the best gigs I have ever been to.


I asked a few people who went to last nights gig what they thought of the show:

“A truly iconic evening of pure Manchester gold. It showed that even in the face of disaster we will continue to do what Manchester does best and that’s have a fucking good time. Liam Fray was incredible, as always, as were all 3 of the support acts. But the bit that won it for everybody was the atmosphere, never have I been to a place where 50,000 people all stood together and everybody seemed to be in their own piss-stained beer-covered heaven. Thank you Cabbage; Thank you Blossoms; Thank you Charlatans; Thank you Courteeners but, most importantly; Thank you Manchester for THE best night of my life” – Steve Wright

“My first time seeing Courteeners was probably one of the best gigs they’ve ever played. The timing of the gig and how much it meant not only to the people of Manchester, but people across the country was so important. The atmosphere was surreal. I never really let my emotions get the better of me, but when the crowd were all shouting the lyrics to ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and were singing tributes to the victims of the Manchester bombing, I shed a tear.. or a few. Top, top night” – James Mackerness


Here is the setlist:

Are You in Love With a Notion?
Lucifer’s Dreams
Push Yourself
No One Will Ever Replace Us
Lose Control
Bide Your Time
Fallowfield Hillbilly
Take Over the World
Small Bones
The 17th
Please Don’t
Don’t Look Back In Anger (Oasis cover)
Modern Love
Here Come the Young Men
Not Nineteen Forever
What Took You So Long?

Image by @ethancking

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