Ariana Grande, Katy Perry & More Lift Spirits At ‘One Love Manchester’
Two weeks after an attack that left 22 dead and dozens wounded outside Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert, the pop princess returned to the city to deliver an important message. She and the world may have been rocked, but they would not be silenced. Instead, she commemorated those who had suffered in the attack by organizing the One Love Manchester benefit concert that featured performances by some of the biggest names in music including Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Little Mix, Coldplay, Imogen Heap, Niall Horan, Victoria Monet, Mac Miller and many others who joined together in a show of love, strength, and defiance.
The benefit was hosted at Manchester’s Old Trafford Cricket Ground, an outdoor arena that held 50,000 concert-goers including many of those who were in the audience at Ariana’s original Manchester show. One Love Manchester was also broadcast live on social media and standard broadcast networks across the globe and went on despite a second suspected terror attack that took place in London Saturday evening.
Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons opened the show with an acoustic performance of “Timshel” after observing a minute of silence in honor of the victims of the Manchester and London attacks. He was followed onstage by Manchester’s own Take That, who performed a three-song set and Robbie Williams, who updated his song “Strong” with a rallying cheer for the city. The evening proceeded with a series of performances of old and new hits that called for peace and acceptance including The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Justin Bieber’s “Cold Water,” and Miley Cyrus’s newest track from her upcoming album “Inspired.” Ariana took the stage following an introduction from several of the event’s producers including her manager, Scooter Braun. “Manchester, your bravery is our hope,” he said. “Because of you, we can now represent through this as a worldwide community, that we will be ready, and we will be fearless, and we will be great, and we will honor our children.”
The “Dangerous Woman” siren opened her set with the uplifting “Be Alright,” confidently strutting across the stage with a crew of dancers. It was a joyous, hopeful message of resilience in the face of all that the city has faced in the past two weeks. “Manchester, we’re gonna be alright,” she emphatically proclaimed over the twinkling house production. After performing “Break Free,” Ariana returned to the stage several times throughout the show to introduce additional performers and to join them in emotional performances. One of those moments included an inspiring performance of “My Everything” with the students of the Parrs Wood High School Choir. She also delivered a stirring performance of “Don’t Dream It’s Over” alongside Miley Cyrus, during which the twosome danced around the stage while calling for unity. “They come to build a wall between us, but we know they won’t win,” they sang with passion. Grande also joined boyfriend Mac Miller onstage and performed alongside Coldplay.
Many of the artists shared inspiring messages as they took the stage. “It’s not easy to always choose love, is it? Especially in moments like these. It can be the most difficult thing to do, but love conquers fear and love conquers hate,” Katy Perry proclaimed before performing “Roar.” Justin Bieber shared a particularly emotional speech, holding back tears as he announced that he wouldn’t let go of hope or love. “Put your hand up if you’re not going to let go,” he said. One of many surprises of the evening occurred when Liam Gallagher took the stage to perform a string of hits. Although he had been booked for another event, he was able to take the stage and lead Manchester in a stirring set that ended with a duet with Chris Martin of Coldplay on “Live Forever.”
In a show of solidarity, all the evening’s performers joined Ariana onstage for a performance of “One Last Time.” In the wake of the attack, the 2015 single has taken on new meaning as one of the final songs in her Dangerous Woman Tour setlist. “Manchester, I love you with all my heart. Thank you all so, so, so much,” Grande tearfully said after the performance. She concluded the evening with a stirring encore performance of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Dreaming of a future without hatred and pain, Ariana’s vocals soared over a sparse production. Although she was emotional throughout the song, she paused only once to gather herself before delivering the final notes over the applause of the audience. It was a chill-inducing final moment that truly showcased Grande’s conviction to spread love in the face of hatred.
Proceeds from One Love Manchester have been donated to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund in partnership with the British Red Cross. An estimated $13 million were raised through ticket sales and donations, with more than $3 million coming in during through phone and online donations during the concert itself. Donations are still being accepted. In the UK, you can text “LOVE” to 70507 to donate 5 pounds, or you can donate online. Fans can also purchase Ariana’s “One Last Time,” which has been re-released as a charity single. Check out some of the performances from your favs below!