On Sunday evening at the Old Trafford cricket ground, Ariana Grande wrapped up the three-hour One Love Manchester concert with a rousing rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
The American singer was in tears by the end of the song, but the mood of the concert throughout the night was celebratory and defiant.
Two weeks ago, Manchester was rocked by a suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 dead and more than 100 injured. In response to the bombing, Grande promised to return to Manchester with a benefit concert to raise funds for victims of the blast and their families, as well as to show support for the city.
Artists from Coldplay to Black Eyed Peas joined Grande for the concert, which she was hosting rather than starring in. More than 50,000 people were in attendance at the concert, raising more than $3 million, according to NPR, despite the heightened security in response to the Manchester bombings. Attendees were asked to leave bags behind if possible, all belongings were checked and there was an increased police presence in the area.
The show began with a minute of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks. In between songs, Grande said “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here today. I want to thank you so much for coming together and being so loving and strong and unified. I love you guys so much and I think that the kind of love and unity you’re displaying is the kind of medicine that the world really needs right now.”
The singer also discussed meeting the mother of Olivia Campbell, a 15-year-old victim of the blast, who had Grande change her set at the last minute to include more hits, saying her daughter would have preferred them.
Robbie Williams performed a rendition of his song “Strong” that changed lyrics in the chorus to “Manchester we’re strong, we’re strong, and we’re still singing our song.” Black Eyed Peas sang their pro-pacifism song, “Where Is The Love?” and the English pop band Take That sang their hit song, “Rule The World.”
“Despite all the things that have been going on…I don’t feel or smell or hear or see any fear in this building,” commented Pharrell Williams during his performance, while singer Katy Perry declared “We will not be silenced!” before her performance of the hit song “Roar”.
Grande joined Coldplay to perform the 1995 Oasis hit, “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” which Mancurians have been using as a symbol of the city’s spirit in the face of the attacks. During a public memorial the week before, locals spontaneously began singing the song in unison.
Less than 24 hours beforehand, the city of London was struck by an attack that killed seven and injured 58 after three men plowed a van into the sidewalk of London Bridge, then exited the van and stabbed several people in the nearby Borough Market. The terrorists were wearing fake suicide bomb vests. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hours before the concert, Grande’s manager Scooter Braun quelled concerns that the concert might be delayed in light of the attacks. “All artists involved have been unwavering in their support this morning and are determined to carry on with the show. We ask the strong city of Manchester and the world to join us in making the statement that hatred and fear will never win,” Braun tweeted midday.
Proceeds from the concert will go to the Red Cross’ One Love Manchester Emergency Fund, which will be used to help the victims of the attack, as well as the families of the dead.
[Featured Image By Handouts/Getty Images]