One Love Manchester Concert: Benefit and Tribute to Victims of Suicide Bombing Outside Ariana Grande’s Concert

One Love Manchester concert, a benefit and tribute to the victims of the suicide bombing outside Ariana Grande’s concert in May, brought 50,000 people together at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

Some 14,000 of those tickets were reserved for people who attended the Grande concert, with the front section of the grounds set aside for them.

The show began with poet Tony Walsh, wearing a Forever Manchester shirt, giving an impassioned speech about the city’s history of unity. Marcus Mumford started off the show asking for a moment of silence. “After recent events in Manchester, in London, and around the rest of the world, would you please stand for a moment of silence,” he said, as the crowd grew quiet. With his head bowed, he said “let’s not be afraid” and then performed a solo acoustic version of “Timshel.” It’s hard to imagine a more fitting song to begin the tribute.

Ariana Grande One Love Manchester benefit concert

“And you are the mother, the mother of your baby child/ The one to whom you gave life,
and you have your choices/ And these are what make man great,
his ladder to the stars/
But you are not alone in this,
and you are not alone in this/
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand.”

He then said “Give it up for Manchester’s own Take That,” and the hometown heroes launched into an uplifting set of their own, leading the crowd in singalongs of their hits “Shine” and then “Giants.”

The group’s Gary Barlow said, “Everyone’s been affected by this, but right now we want everyone to sing loud and proud, launching into “Rule the World”:

“You light the skies up above me
A star, so bright you blind me
Don’t close your eyes
Don’t fade away.”

The group gave the stage to a tracksuit-clad Robbie Williams, who wore a Justin Bieber “Purpose” hoodie and launched into an a cappella version of his “Strong,” with lyrics altered to salute the city: “Manchester , we’re strong.” He then followed with an equally rousing version of “Angels.”

Williams then gave the stage to a video tribute from U2, performing onstage in the U.S., with a brief speech from Bono that culminated with him saying, “There is no end to grief, that’s how we know there is no end to love.”

The stage then returned to Manchester, where Pharrell Williams launched immediately into a driving version of “Get Lucky,” his 2013 collaboration with Daft Punk. He was accompanied by dancers and Marcus Mumford, the latter of whom played the song’s signature riff on a white Telecaster; cameras flashed to Miley Cyrus, glad in shorts, knee-high white boots, a white tee and white jacket, singing along on the side of the stage.

After the song, Pharrell said, “I’m bowing because despite all the thing that have been going on in this place, I don’t feel or smell or hear or see any fear in this building. All we feel here tonight is love, resilience, positivity, and you know what, I hate to be corny, but it actually makes me, uh, Miley Cyrus.”

Pharrell then welcome her to the stage for a duet on his global hit “Happy,” for which the two moved to the front of the T-shaped stage.

Cyrus followed the song with a long speech about her Happy Hippie charitable organization and Grande’s contributions to it, citing her as the first musician who agreed to support it.

“As humans we should always be who we say we are. And Ariana I think has proved that. She says she’s a good role model for so many of you girls out here, and I think she’s proved that by putting this together and allowing all of us to be a part of it. but for tonight, I’m here for all of you all….I’ve always loved Manchester.

“I wish she were here right now so I could give her a big hug.” She then performed a powerful version of her song “Inspired,” accompanied only by an acoustic guitarist.

One Direction’s Niall Horan took the stage to a rapturous applause for his song “Slow Hands.” He took a moment to thank the crowd for the welcome he’s always received from Manchester. “We love you, and we’re with you,” and then dedicated “This Town” to the city.

Bieber-Grande manager Scooter Braun then took the stage with other organizers and began by thanking promoter Live Nation, the City of Manchester, the British Red Cross, the BBC, the artists, the audience and “My friend Ariana Grande — all of us around the world are so grateful to you for  stepping up and taking action.” He then spoke to the audience and said, referring to the terrorist attacks in London Saturday night, “We were challenged last night and you had a decision whether you were going to come out tonight. You looked fear in the face — and you’re here.”

“Manchester, your bravery is our hope. fear will never divide us, because on this day we all stand with Manchester.”

He introduced Grande by saying that after the attack, ‘She called me and said Scooter, if we do nothing i can’t live with that. We must do something.’ She’s one of the bravest people I know.”

Grande then took the stage, preceded by her dancers, smiling widely and wearing “One Love Manchester sweatshirt.” She performed two songs but kept her comments to a minimum, just saying “Manchester, make some noise!” — but her presence alone spoke volumes.

Next up were Little Mix, who had the tough job of following Grande and Wonder but delivered an energetic and harmony-driven version of “Wings.”

Grande then came back out with Victoria Monet and performed their song “Better Days,” seated on the stage in matching jeans and “One Love” sweatshirts.

The Black Eyed Peas then made a surprise performance of “Where Is the Love?” with Grande remaining onstage to fill the role of Fergie, who departed from the group. As the song reached its end Grande teared up and hugged the group’s Will.I.Am.

After saying “Manchester, I love you so, so much,” Grande introduced a singer “who’s been one of my idols since I was 11 years old: Imogene Heap,” who is probably best known to non-British fans as Taylor Swift’s collaborator on “Clean,” the closing track on “1989.” The singer embraced Grande and then sat down at the piano to perform a slow version of her song “Hide and Seek.”

There was a speech by soccer superstar David Beckham, and a children’s choir sang Grande’s “My Everything.” Grande joined them, and embarced the lead singing, as the cameras flashed to many people in the crowd weeping.

Grande then said, “Tonight is all about love, am I right?” and then, naturally, introduced her boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, who joined her for their tag-team “The Way.”