When meeting with the mother of Olivia Campbell, one of the 22 killed at the Manchester Arena two weeks ago, Ariana Grande was told that Olivia would want her to play the hits… and that she, and all of the other artists, did. One Love Manchester was a three-hour sing-along and exactly what Britain needed after the devastating attacks on Manchester and London in the past fortnight.
Before the music began, there were some poignant words from the mayor of Manchester and other representatives of the Greater Manchester community followed by a minutes silence. The mutual respect and love between the entire crowd was evident even before that, though, with strangers talking to each other and groups sitting on the ground in the standing area having drinks and being merry under the sun.
It was also very touching to see that people who had been pictured in hospital when Ariana visited them just days before had managed to make it to the concert. This just goes to show how important this was to so many people.
The show itself was a spectacle from start to finish. Opening with surprise guest Marcus Mumford before going into an epic Take That sing-along of a few of their classics really set the tone for the night. There were beautiful moments that would bring a tear to your eye – whether it be the children’s choir singing My Everything or Ariana Grande closing the show with a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Moments like this were interspersed between some of the biggest pop stars in the world singing some of their greatest hits, from Justin Bieber performing a stripped-down version of Love Yourself to Katy Perry singing Roar.
The main aim of the night was to show that love trumps hate and it was a resounding success, raising over £2.35 million during the three hours that it was broadcast alone. One Love Manchester was proof that music really can unite people and it was an honour to be there to witness it.
You can still watch One Love Manchester on the BBC iPlayer.