A defiant crowd of 60,000 music fans packed out Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground to pay tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack, which claimed the lives of 22 people and left 116 injured.
Ariana Grande, who 13 days before had just finished performing at the Manchester Arena when a suicide bomber exploded a nail bomb into the crowded foyer, made her first on-stage appearance to thank the “strong and unified” people of the city.
The 23-year-old singer, who organised One Love Manchester to commemorate the lives of the victims, raised a massive £2.35 million for the British Red Cross’ emergency fund.
Throughout the evening she was joined by a star-studded crowd of musicians including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Little Mix, all of whom wanted to share their own tributes to the people of Manchester.
Read on to see what they said.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by what’s happened, but right now we want us to stand strong, look at the sky and sing loud and proud.”
After being introduced to the stage by his former Take That bandmates, Robbie Williams sang his hit track Strong – with slightly different lyrics to honour the strength shown by the people of Manchester following the attack.
He sang: “Manchester, we’re strong, we’re strong, we’re strong. We’re still singing our song, our song, our song.”
“Despite all the things that have been going on in the place, I don’t see or smell or hear any fear in this building.
All we feel here tonight is love, resilience, positivity.”
Miley Cyrus joined Pharrell on stage for a surprise duet of his hit single Happy, before telling the delighted crowd, "I am so honoured to be at this incredible event, surrounded by all you incredible people.”
Describing Manchester as her “home from home” she went on to perform her new single, Inspire.
“The most important responsibility we have on this planet is to take care of one another, and look at what we are here doing today,” she added.
“I just want to say I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world, and every time I come back to Manchester, I am addicted to this place.
You guys make everyone who comes from out of town so welcome and the way I saw you all rally together last week was incredible. We love you and we are with you.”
The former One Direction band member also dedicated his song, This Town, to the crowd.
“The whole world is watching and I want to dedicate this next song to you,” he told them.
Ariana Grande’s manager praised the people of Manchester for their resilience in the face of the attack.
“From my friend Ariana Grande and the entire Dangerous Woman crew, myself and the rest of us around the world are so grateful for you for stepping up and taking action. We also want to thank the Manchester first responders and the bystanders who are probably here tonight and risked their lives to save others. Please give a round of applause to them.
Last night this nation was challenged, and this nation had to make a decision about whether to come out here tonight, and this is so beautiful. You guys made that decision, you looked fear right in the face and said, we are Manchester and the world is watching.”
Braun also shared a message from Adam, a 15-year-old survivor of the attack, who is still in hospital recovering from his injuries. Adam lost his friend, Olivia Campbell, in the attack.
“Don’t go forward in anger, love spreads. Hatred will never win, fear will never divide us, because tonight we stood with Manchester.”
“We are so, so happy to be part of this incredible day, thank you.
The song we’ve chosen to do for you guys, we wrote together a few years ago in the hope it would empower people to stand together and not let anything bring them down. Manchester, this is Wings.”
Black Eyed Peas
Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am praised the police force in both Manchester and London before dedicating the band’s song to, "All these people who are fearless, who came for love, who will not be separated".
David Beckham shared a tribute to the city via video link.
“Manchester is a place that was home for many years. The people are some of the most special I’ve met in my life. It is somewhere that means so much to me. As a father, what happened made me truly sad, and it is a day we will never forget.
I’m proud of everyone there today in the crowd and the artists. Tonight is about remembering that suffered so much on that night, but also celebrating the spirit of this great city.”
Ariana Grande paid an emotional tribute to the crowd and the people of Manchester, saying, “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being here today, I love you so, so much.
Thank you so much for coming together and being strong and unified. I think the kind of love and unity you are displaying is the medicine the world needs right now. So thank you for being just that.”
The singer also revealed that she had changed the set list of the evening at the last minute after talking to the mother of one of the victims, 15-year-old Olivia Campbell.
"I had the pleasure of meeting Olivia's mummy a few days ago, and as soon as I met her I started crying, and I gave her a big hug,” she said. "And she said that I should stop crying because Olivia wouldn't have wanted me to cry.
And then she told me that Olivia would have wanted to hear the hits. So that means that [although] we had a totally different show planned, we had a rehearsal yesterday where we changed everything."
In honour of Olivia, Grande then sang a rendition of her hit single Side to Side, which wasn’t part of the original set list.
Appearing on stage, Katy Perry told the crowd, “we will not be silenced!” before launching into a rendition of her hit song Roar.
“I’m so honoured an humbled to be here on this stage tonight to spread love,” she said. “Thank you Ariana for your incredible courage and strength and for inviting me to participate.
“It’s not always easy to chose love, is it? Especially in moments like these, right? It can be the most difficult thing to do. But love conquers fear, and love conquers hate, and this love that you chose will give you strength, and it is our greatest power.”
“What an amazing thing we are doing tonight. Would you agree that love always wins? What better way to fight evil that with good. It’s an honour for me to be here, and maybe I should play some music right?
“God is good in the midst of the darkness. God is good in the midst of evil. God is in the midst no matter what is happening in the world, and he loves you and is here for you.
“I just want to take this moment to honour those that were taken. We love you so much. To the families, we love you so much.”
Liam Gallagher and Coldplay
Liam Gallagher and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin joined together to sing an emotional version of Live Forever.
Images: Rex Features