Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester benefit was a huge triumph on Sunday, 24 hours after Britain suffered another terrorist attack.
The 23-year-old was joined by pals like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus for the charity gig, put together to raise funds for the families of last month’s Manchester Arena bombing victims.
More than 50,000 fans defied the increased terror threat in the U.K. to attend the gig at the city’s Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground, despite fears the event would be canceled after seven were killed and more than 40 injured in another terror attack in London on Saturday night.
Ariana addressed the latest atrocity during the show, saying, “Manchester, before we go any further I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart I love you so so much.”
“I want to thank so much for coming together and being so loving and strong, and unified. I love you guys so much and I think the kind of love and unity that you’re displaying is the medicine the world really needs right now.”
The singer was joined onstage by members of Parrs Wood High School’s Harmony Choir, which included survivors of the bombing, which took place after her concert in Manchester on May 22, for a performance of her song My Everything, and she comforted one young singer who appeared to be overcome with emotion onstage.
As well as performing many of her hits, she dueted with her boyfriend Mac Miller and Miley Cyrus and closed the concert by performing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the classic song from the film The Wizard of Oz.
The big event began with a moment’s silence for those who lost their lives in the bomb blast, before folk star Marcus Mumford got proceedings underway by telling the audience to “not be afraid” ahead of his solo performance of Mumford & Sons’ Timshel.
He was followed by fellow Brits Take That, who introduced former bandmate Robbie Williams to the stage.
The emotional singer asked fans to help him belt out the final chorus of his hit Angels after losing his voice.
His performance was followed by a video message from U2’s Bono before Pharrell Williams took the stage to perform his Daft Punk collaboration Get Lucky. He also teamed up with Miley Cyrus for a rendition of his uplifting Happy after telling the Manchester crowd, “I don’t feel or smell or hear or see any fear in this building. All we feel here tonight is love, resilience, positivity.”
There were also performances by Black Eyed Peas, Niall Horan, Little Mix, and Imogen Heap, while concert organizer Ariana hopped on and off stage to join friends and sing her own solo hits.
Other stars struck a defiant note onstage, praising the crowd for refusing to let the actions of terrorists deter them from attending the show. A tearful Justin Bieber led the crowd in a tribute to those who lost their lives at Ariana’s Manchester Arena concert.
A rumored Oasis reunion appeared to be a non-starter as Coldplay star Chris Martin serenaded Grande and the fans with a cover of the band’s 1996 anthem Don’t Look Back In Anger – a song adopted by mourners in the wake of the bombing – but fans were left stunned when former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher stepped up to sing the band’s hits Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Live Forever as a tribute to the victims, calling them “beautiful people”.
Liam flew in from a festival gig in Germany, which had been cancelled on Friday following a bomb threat, to perform three songs at One Love.
Ariana and her manager Scooter Braun began planning the One Love gig just days after the attack on her Manchester gig, and her fellow musicians were full of praise for how she handled the tragedy.
New Order rocker Peter Hook, whose daughter was hospitalized in the attack and attended One Love Manchester, told the BBC, “As a musician the last thing you ever want to do is have something like that happen at a concert where you feel ultimately responsible and I think she’s done a fantastic job.”
The mega-gig was broadcast live on TV stations in 50 countries around the world.
– Cover Media1