Returning to Manchester on Sunday just 2 weeks after the Manchester Arena bombings, Ariana Grande staged the One Love Manchester benefit concert alongside a star-studded lineup to raise funds for the victims of the terror attacks.
The over three-hour long televised event followed in the wake of the London attacks, but that didn’t stop both the performers – including the likes of Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Black Eyed Peas and more – and the resilient 50,000-strong audience from turning out to pay tribute. Here are the most inspiring, uplifting and tearjerking moments from the concert, which ultimately raised more than $13 million for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) June 4, 2017
“Don’t go forward in anger. Love spreads.”
Scooter Braun took the stage with a powerful message from Adam, a 15-year-old survivor of the attack. Despite still being in the hospital and having lost his best friend, Olivia, Adam told Scooter: “Make sure you tell them: Don’t go forward in anger. Love spreads.” Scooter added: ” I want to thank you once again for coming out tonight and answering that call that hatred will never win, that fear will never divide us because on this day, we all stood with Manchester.”
‘Don’t Dream It’s Over”
Back in 2015, Miley Cyrus invited Ariana to Happy Hippie Backyard Sessions, where they sang ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’. After Miley Cyrus’ performance was confirmed, Twitter requests flooded through for the duo to perform that very same cover, and they delivered. The intimate yet powerful show of solidarity cemented what the night was about: spreading love, courage and joy through music.
Musicians sending love
Many artistes who could not perform at the benefit sent their love and messages of support through a series of touching videos. Stevie Wonder and David Beckham were the first to appear in solo videos, while Sir Paul McCartney, Demi Lovato, Halsey, Camila Cabello, Kendall Jenner and more shared their words and pledged to “Stand With Manchester”. Like Stevie Wonder said: “We all know that love is truly the key, I don’t care what ethnicity you are, what religion you are – we all know that love really is the way. So anyone that tries to make anyone think that things of destruction have anything to do with God or Allah, they are a lie.” Powerful words indeed.
‘Where Is The Love?’
One of the most apt performances of the night, Black Eyed Peas stepped up and performed global hit, ‘Where Is The Love’ with Ariana. Despite Will.i.Am receiving criticism about his blunders during the performance (he repeatedly referred to the Manchester crowd as London), we would like to say that his heart is in the right place. As Will.i.Am sings-shouts, “We will not be separated!”
When the Parrs Wood High School choir took the stage and performed a beautiful rendition of Ariana’s ‘My Everything’, there wasn’t a dry eye left in the house. Their performance was made even more impactful as some of the choir members were present at Ariana’s Manchester Arena concert. Midway, Ariana came onstage and hand-in-hand with 12-year-old soloist Natasha-Rose Seth, they finished the song – that was when the waterworks truly started.
Switching Sides (By Side)
Before performing ‘Side to Side’ – a number that might have seemed inappropriate under these circumstances, Ariana shared her experience meeting Olivia Campbell’s mum who not only told her not to cry, but that “Olivia would’ve wanted to hear the hits”. With that being said, Ari and her crew changed up the entire setlist only a day before the concert to reflect that fun and lighthearted energy that would truly honour her young fans.
“I encourage you to choose love even when it’s difficult.”
Spreading the message of universal love further, Katy Perry started her performance with a mass bonding exercise. “Touch the person next to you, make human contact. Tell them ‘I love you’, look into their eyes and tell them – do it, everyone.” She added, “I encourage you to choose love even when it’s difficult. Let no one take it away from you”, before delving into an acoustic version of ‘Part of Me’, followed by the ever-empowering ‘Roar’.
Dancing Policeman & Children
— Mark Savage (@mrdiscopop) June 4, 2017
While an emotional Justin Bieber was performing and making the crowd chant ‘Love’ in unison, a policeman and a group of kids started dancing hand-in-hand. The latter understandably was a major highlight for everyone watching, with Twitter users talking about how this moment portrayed the true spirit of Manchester.
‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’
Mancunians breaking out into a spontaneous rendition of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ after a nationwide minute of silence for the Manchester terror attacks has made the classic an unintentional symbol of Manchester’s resilient spirit. Hearing the 50,000-strong audience sing along with Coldplay’s Chris Martin was unlike any other – the band followed up with ‘Fix You’ and man, was it a cathartic moment.
As dusk fell, the stadium crackled with an electrically charged atmosphere that wouldn’t be out of place at a rock concert. Then, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher strode onstage and dove headfirst into his set. An even bigger surprise than his appearance (Liam initially wasn’t able to make it due to a prior gig) – his duet with Coldplay! Despite having a longstanding rivalry with the band, Liam and Chris put aside their musical differences and literally embraced onstage during ‘Live Forever’.
‘One Last Time’
As many would know, Ari’s ‘One Last Time’ has taken on new meaning altogether in the wake of the attack. Gathering onstage with the rest of the artistes, Ariana delivered an emotional performance while the crowds sang and danced along. Bravely holding it together, Ari choked back tears as she reiterated her love for Manchester and her gratefulness to everyone for turning up.
‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’
Closing the One Love Manchester benefit with a tearful rendition of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, Ari soulfully belted out the The Wizard of Oz classic as the crowd swayed and cried along.
Watch the full concert here:
In the face of troubling and fearful times, we urge everyone to stand strong, and love with an open heart. It will be difficult not to lash out in anger, but moments like these serve to show that the world is a big and beautiful place; one that has no room for evil, nor for those who respond with hate. Love is the key and love will not be silenced – we stand together.