When news came through of the attacks in London Bridge on Saturday night, doubt was thrown on whether the One Love concert in Manchester, due to take place the following day, would go ahead.
However, at 9:52am on Sunday, the message came through loud and clear from Ariana Grande’s manager Scooter Braun, who had pulled together the star-studded affair, that the show would “not only continue, but with greater purpose”.
He continued, “We must not be afraid, and in tribute to all those affected here and around the world, we will bring our voices together and sing loudly.”
And, boy, was he proved right, as the show was an incredibly emotional triumph, with 50,000 people crammed into Old Trafford cricket ground to watch a host of massive acts bring out the hits and air their most poignant tracks.
Good luck getting through all of these without crying.
Liam Gallagher & Coldplay – ‘Live Forever’
There were many emotional highlights, but this was surely the best. Liam, who was a surprise special guest, teaming up with Coldplay – having previously described the band as a ‘bunch of students’ and Chris Martin as a ‘geography teacher’ – for a gloriously powerful rendition of the Oasis classic ‘Live Forever’ which took the breath away. The final, defiant blasts of ‘we’re gonna live forever’ are just phenomenal.
Coldplay – ‘Fix You’
A song that was tailor made for this show, being both personal and yet anthemic and universal. Made even better by adding a dash of the James classic ‘Sit Down’ as a nod to the Manchester legends.
Robbie Williams – ‘Angels’
Bless Robbie, who was clearly struggling, both with his voice and also with the emotion of the occasion, and yet still managed to pull off an incredible performance of this song whilst barely singing any of it. When the crowd are shouting every single word back, he didn’t need to.
Ariana Grande & Black Eyed Peas – ‘Where Is The Love?’
Time for one from the star of the show, Ariana Grande, who did a sterling job dealing with the emotion of the occasion, teaming up with multiple guests and pulling off virtually every track with aplomb. Chief amongst them was this cracker, with will.i.am’s infectious, puppy-like energy transforming a song which can sometimes feel syrupy into a rallying call.
Pharrell & Miley Cyrus – ‘Happy’
It wasn’t all about the sad songs; this was a welcome reminder of the joys of singing along with a happy song in a big field with all your mates, with Miley reminding us that underneath all the shock tactics lies a pretty great voice (also, the drumming on this – wow).
Imogen Heap – ‘Hide and Seek’
A stark, beautiful track, this was a stunning performance from the singer-songwriter.
Take That – ‘Shine’
The Manchester boys returned home to play their hits, and ‘Shine’, like ‘Happy’, provided a brilliantly feelgood blast of fun.
Coldplay – ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’
It became the unofficial Manchester anthem in the days following the Manchester attack, and it was duly given an airing at Old Trafford courtesy of Chris Martin and Guy Berryman. The words projected on the screen behind – but did anyone really need them? We don’t think so.
Ariana Grande – ‘Side To Side’
A track which Ariana wasn’t going to play, but, after speaking to the mother of Olivia Campbell, a 15-year-old fan who died in the attack, she said that ‘Olivia would have wanted to hear the hits’ – so she changed her show to reflect that. And quite right too, with this banger going down a treat.
Katy Perry – ‘Roar’
A big old pop singalong, and a taste of what to expect when she plays her full show at Glastonbury later this month.
Ariana Grande & Miley Cyrus – ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’
OK, so this wasn’t actually very good, but hey, it’s one of the best songs ever written and we’re just glad it got played; it’s so good that you can’t ever really go too wrong.
Niall Horan – ‘Slow Hands’
A solid rather than spectacular performance from the former One Direction man, this goes in simply because it’s actually a really great song. Nice one Niall.
Ariana Grande – ‘One Last Time’
The traditional ‘everyone get on stage’ charity concert moment, this was a memorable penultimate song of the night.
Marcus Mumford – ‘Timshel’
A stunning way to open the concert. Marcus issued a call of ‘let’s not be afraid’ and followed it with the big bear hug of his voice and a starkly beautiful song, with the poignant words: ‘You are not alone in this’.
Ariana Grande – ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’
And a stunning and fitting way to end the show. Simple and rather beautiful.