For me, this gig at Heaton Park has been a long time coming. When I first listened to the tracks on St Jude not long after its release, I knew this band was special. The endless train journeys, flights, sweat, tears and sheer joy have been a build up to this gig at Heaton Park.
After months of endless listening I tagged along with my brother to my first Courteeners gig in March 2010. Fast forward 5 years and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had the privilege of standing in these guys presence, singing my heart out. Castlefield, Berlin, Mallorca Rocks, Manchester and everywhere in between, it’s built up to this, them, us, 25 thousand people.
Manchester was buzzing on the 5th of June. I felt it when I grabbed some food on my lunch break, when I left the office at 4:30pm, on the tram to the park. What I love is that you could ask 10 people who the Courteeners are and more than half would look at you puzzled. They’re still so underground, but can sell out Heaton Park, 25 thousand people, the day before Park Life. And I fucking love it.
The atmosphere was insane and for the first time in my life, I was pulled over the front barrier. You could say it was tactical, I could stay having a 25 year old elbowing me in the head, or having spent 45 minutes on the barrier screaming my heart out, spend the rest with an insane view of the park.
I don’t know how long it took Liam and co to decide on a set-list but I loved each song choice. On Wednesday I saw them in Liverpool and for one of the first times, they didn’t go Sycophant. Gutted wasn’t the word, so when that intro started I bounced around, singing my heart out.
No Courteeners gig is complete without a flare, or 100 and Not Nineteen Forever presented the crowds with the perfect opportunity. That song is my all time favourite live performance, there isn’t one person is the crowd that doesn’t feel just how special it is.
To see 25,000 people bouncing around, singing every word back to the boys, loving every second was one of the best experiences. I felt so much emotion, going from gigs in venues as small as my bedroom, to Heaton Park, it was special, and I’m so fucking proud of The Courteeners.
Here’s to many more.
This love will last forever x