On May 22nd 2017, tragedy struck the city of Manchester as Ariana Grande’s show in the MEN arena was the target of a senseless, heartless terror attack. 22 innocent people, including children as young as 8 years old, lost their lives with over 100 more injured.
Last night, Ariana Grande returned to the great city of Manchester for a charity concert along with what can only be described as some of the best of the best in music right now. 50,000+ packed into the Old Trafford Cricket Ground for an emotional night of music to show the world solidarity and defiance in the face of fear and hate.
There were initial fears of the show not going ahead due to another horrible attack in London the night before. Luckily, Manchester said f*ck that noise and carried on and showed that they were not afraid of the cowards trying to tear them apart!
Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons opened up the show alone (Mumford sans Sons, anybody?) after a moment’s silence with their song “Timshel” which really was the perfect way to kick off the show. I don’t think any other song would have been able to capture the moment better than that.
Mumford then introduced Take That who came out to perform a few of their hits to bring the crowd back up and dancing before throwing the spotlight on former band member and friend, Robbie Williams (rocking Justin Bieber tour merch!).
Robbie Williams began by pumping the crowd up by changing the lyrics of his song “Strong” to “Manchester, we’re strong, we’re strong, we’re strong. We’ll keep singing our song, our song, our song!” before transitioning into a very emotional rendition of “Angels”. Seeing 50,000 people sing the chorus has given me chills every time I’ve gone back and watched it. Tear jerking stuff folks!
Pharrell joined the star-studded lineup with his absolute banger of a hit “Get Lucky” with Marcus Mumford on guitar before bringing a new look Miley Cyrus out onstage to help him sing “Happy”.
Pharrell has that gift of working any crowd he’s put in front of and he really got this crowd up and moving! He also gave a powerful speech about resilience and love which would go on to be the theme of the night.
Miley gave another empowering speech thanking the crowd on behalf of all the artists. She also went on to talk about how our main responsibility to love one another before singing a few tunes of her own. Former One Direction member, Niall Horan was up next to serenade the crowd with his songs “This Town” and “Slow Hands”.
Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun came out with some of the show’s organisers to talk a bit about the victims of the attack which he met before introducing the main woman, Ariana Grande.
Ariana performed a few times throughout the night and I must say, carried herself impeccably. I can’t even imagine how tough it must have been to come back and do this even if it was majorly put together by her. Needless to say, there was a lot of respect for this amazing performer for how she’s handled the situation since the tragedy occurred.
As the night went on we were treated to performances by Little Mix, Victoria Monét, The Black Eyed Peas (with Will.I.Am shouting “what’s up London” as he entered the stage in a moment of cringe), Imogen Heap, and an emotional rendition of Ariana Grande’s “My Everything” by Parrs Wood High School Choir and Arianna herself.
Arianna then brought out her boyfriend, rapper, Mac Miller to perform their duet “The Way” and Mac’s song “Dang!” with Grande filling in for Anderson Paak. I really enjoyed this part of the show, not only because I love Mac Miller and wasn’t expecting him to be there, but because it was just nice to see the couple sharing a feel good moment in the midst of a highly emotional night.
Miley Cyrus came back out and joined Ariana to sing a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” before Ariana thanked the crowd for their love and strength.
Katy Perry was the next star to join the party with a speech about love conquering fear and hate. Now as much as it seems like every star coming out and preaching love would get old, it definitely didn’t. While the message each time was the same, it was always a powerful enough message that stuck with the audience and viewers.
Perry urged the crowd to reach out to the people near them to tell them they loved them before singing an acoustic rendition of “Part of Me”. Then belted out a powerful, defiant performance of “Roar” mixed with “Hard Knock Life” from Annie on the intro, chills!
Justin Bieber and his guitar were next to sing “Love Yourself” and of course to spread more words of love. He got the crowd to pump their fists and chant “Love”, another powerful moment. “Love always wins in the end” he said before jumping into his song “Cold Water”.
After returning to the stage to perform “Love Me Harder”, Ariana Grande was joined on stage by Christ Martin and Johnny Buckland of Coldplay for a rendition of Oasis’ song “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. With a choir of 50,000 strong behind them, this can only be described as awesome. This song has become almost an anthem of the aftermath of the attacks which added extra emotion to this moment.
Chris Martin stayed on the stage to rattle off hit after hit which, once again got the crowd up and moving.
There were talks all night from the BBC presenters of a big surprise coming during the night. Coldplay left the stage and the voice of the late, great Muhammad Ali came over the speakers giving a message of equality and love. What happened next really blew the metaphorical roof off of the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
The crowd absolutely lost it as none other than Liam Gallagher stepped out on the stage despite announcing a few days prior that any rumours of him being there were false as he had commitments in Germany that day (which he actually did, flying home to Manchester after his show!). He performed his new track “Wall of Glass” and Oasis’ “Rock n’ Roll Star” before being joined on stage by Chris Martin to sing “Live Forever” in what definitely was the moment of the night!
It’s a shame that it wasn’t Noel Gallagher joining him on stage as an Oasis reunion would be the ultimate show of unity. Regardless, Liam Gallagher is an absolute legend for that performance in his hometown!
Ariana Grande entered the stage to close out the night with her song “One Last Time” which holds a connection to the fateful night. She was joined by the rest of the performers on stage before ending the night on an emotional note by singing Judy Garland’s “Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.
Overall, everyone involved in this show did a phenomenal job especially considering the short notice from when it was announced. The message of love was spread loud and proud for the whole world to see and hear. From beginning to end, the show hit all the right emotions and hopefully, managed to put a smile on the faces of all affected by the horrific attack, even if only a temporary one.
If there’s anything to be taken from this 3-hour spectacle, it’s that love trumps hate, always. Manchester is an amazing city and Ariana Grande is an absolute credit to herself and a fantastic role model to all her fans. 2.6 million dollars was raised at the gig to go towards the victims and their families.
Watch The Whole One Love Manchester Show Here: