LIVE: Courteeners @ Manchester MEN 07.04.18

Courteeners live shows are something which boarder on a religious experience – especially when they take place in Manchester. Their homecoming shows are stuff of legend with the band recently playing to 50,000 people at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, making tonight’s mere 21,000 sell out at the Manchester Evening news Arena something of a more intimate affair. Although 20,000 is obviously not intimidate, when every single last person there is as devoted as a Courteeners crowd is, they could be playing to a million people and it would still feel like they were in your front room with all your mates.

Tonight’s show is in celebration of their debut album, ‘St Jude’, an album which at the time of release saw the somewhat outcast band against the odds rise to the top of the tree with a sublime offering which beautifully sound tracked modern life in the UK. In the process the connection they made with indie fans resulted in a dedicate following. The show came a night after the band released St Jude ‘Re:Wired’, a beautiful acoustic version which has been produced by  Liam Fray and Joe Cross.

Tickets were like gold dust for one of only two shows where ‘St Jude’ was to be played in full (the other being in London’s Royal Albert Hall). As ever the crowd are up for it with the thumping ‘’What’s The Story (Morning Glory)’ greeting the band to the state and the worshipping “Liiiam, Liiiam” chants. The smuggling skills of the Courteeners faithful were in superb form again as customary pyro appears as they open up with ‘Afterwhow’ and ‘Kimberly’ before the first huge sing along with ‘Cavorting’ and the sublime ‘Bide Your Time’.

The best thing about the show is the tracks which get a rare live outing such as ‘If it Wasn’t For Me’ and ‘Kings Of The New Road’ which end the first part of the set before the epic ‘Fallowfield Hillbilly’ unities everyone – “they’re here for the music, the thing that they love”. After a slight break for us all to gather our breath Liam then takes on a solo session with ‘How Come’, ‘Yesterday Today, Probably Tomorrow’ and ‘Smiths Disco’ before the full band returns for a greatest hits part of the set. With more fan favourites keeping the energy ignited. ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ is predictably raucous before the band depart to ‘What Took You So Long’. Despite over two hours of intense singing, bouncing, crowd surfing and beer swilling, there seems to be enough energy left in the room to do it all again.

It seems to be becoming an accepted opinion that guitar music is on its last legs. Well tonight was proof (if we needed it) that that is nonsense and in fact is truly alive and kicking. A special band, a special night. God bless the band indeed….

Set List:

  1. Aftershow
  2. Kimberley
  3. Cavorting
  4. Acrylic
  5. Bide Your Time
  6. Please Don’t
  7. No You Didn’t, No You Don’t
  8. If It Wasn’t for Me
  9. Kings of the New Road
  10. Fallowfield Hillbilly

Liam acoustic solo

  1. How Come
  2. Yesterday, Today & Probably Tomorrow
  3. Smiths Disco


  1. Are You in Love With a Notion?
  2. Lose Control
  3. No One Will Ever Replace Us
  4. Summer
  5. The Opener
  6. The 17th
  7. Modern Love
  8. Here Come the Young Men
  9. Not Nineteen Forever
  10. What Took You So Long?