God bless the bands, they did all they could, and it was a success.
Courteeners headline show at Emirates Old Trafford saw the Manchester band return for their first home gig since 2019.
They were joined on the sunny Saturday by Stockport legends Blossoms, and Manchester royalty Johnny Marr.
The sun came through for the outdoor concert, and the first support of the day, The Big Moon, played to a crowd who were basking in its rays while enjoying a pint sitting on the tarped cricket ground.
Blossoms launched into their set with three favourites, Your Girlfriend, There’s A Reason Why, I Can’t Stand It, and ended on Charlemagne.
Each song was building up from the one before and got the audience up off the floor and to the front of the stage.
Blossoms are a band you dance to, and lead-singer and guitarist Tom Ogden kept the audience moving as he performed across the stage in a fantastically green suit.
The Stockport locals made sure to represent their hometown, with their bass drum head shouting their ‘SK2’ postcode to the audience.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an outdoor concert without cups of beer flying over the audience, flares being let off, and at one point, a plate of chips being hurled across the crowd.
Johnny Marr was greeted with an even bigger crowd and to chants of ‘Johnny, Johnny, Johnny f***ing Marr.”
From insane guitar solos to the mellow sounds of Marr, the crowd were there to sway, dance and sing.
But the real winners of Marr’s set were the iconic songs of The Smiths, never sounding better than being sung in their home town.
Bigmouth Strikes Again, and strike he did as the audience sang every word back to Marr.
Similarly, Marr must have been charmed, as Charming Man was ended with Marr saying: “Thanks for being so nice. Smiles on your faces”.
The pleasure, the privilege was all Johnny Marr’s as he thanked Courteeners for having him before launching into There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, joined in singing by nearly 50,000 people. Sadly, the lights did go out and Marr’s set was finished.
Courteeners burst onto the stage and exploded into Are You in Love With a Notion?, their traditional opener, immediately mosh pits opened out, many flares exploded, and every lyric was screamed back at the stage.
Playing for nearly two hours, they smashed out many incredible hits from across all six of their albums, including Acrylic, Bide Your Time and Better Man.
Each song was played against a different light or video show, with red video and 3D line effects being repeated throughout.
For Better Man, butterflies fluttered across the screens. Butterflies which matched those adorned on frontman Liam Fray’s trench coat.
The band kept the songs mixed up with anthem Take Over The World, being followed by the slower Small Bones.
During Small Bones, the crowd’s singing was so loud that Liam turned his microphone over to the audience for them to belt out the chorus. The words stringing into one.
For Lose Control, the album art for Anna, the band’s third album, was drawn on the big screen in pink neon, flashing to blue and keeping the crowd dancing.
It’s obvious that everyone was there for a dance, a mosh-pit and maybe to lose control a little bit.
Half way through the set, while the rest of the band took a break, Liam returned and mixed up the set.
Acoustic guitar in hand he played a few well chosen tracks, showcasing his deep vocals, including Don’t Pretend, and Smiths Disco, which felt highly appropriate following Johnny Marr.
The full band returned for Hanging Off Your Cloud, from their 2020 album More. Again. Forever. But kept it lively.
The show flew into overdrive with Not Nineteen Forever, which saw the whole audience jumping in unison and singing so loudly it would have been heard across at least three boroughs of Manchester.
Finally, the show ended on What Took You So Long? The band’s first single, bringing nostalgia and an epic firework display to Emirates Old Trafford to close the night.