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Friday 20 October 2017

Stars and fans unite in defiance of terror

General view of the crowd in this handout provided by 'One Love Manchester' benefit concert on June 4, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester)
General view of the crowd in this handout provided by 'One Love Manchester' benefit concert on June 4, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester)

More than 60,000 defiant music fans joined Ariana Grande at her One Love concert at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester last night as they stood together in the face of extremism to pay tribute to those killed in terror attacks.

The American singer's manager Scooter Braun said the Manchester gig now has a "greater purpose" than ever after the country's second terror attack in two weeks.

Niall Horan, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Take That, Robbie Williams, Mumford & Sons and Little Mix took to the stage and performed for free to raise at least £2m towards the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

Bono and his U2 bandmates sent an emotional video message to the huge audience at the One Love Manchester gig.

Victims

Currently in America on their Joshua Tree tour, which played Chicago last night, he paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack and sent a message of support to those affected.

"All our hearts are with you. All our hearts are with Manchester and with the UK and so many of our friends in this great city.

"We're broken-hearted for children who lost their parents and parents who lost their children from this senseless, senseless horror," he said.

"There is no end to grief, that's how we know, there's no end to love, a thought we're holding onto for these people. We'll see you again when the stars fall from the sky."

On Saturday night seven people were killed and nearly 50 injured after three men drove a van into a crowd on London Bridge and set upon people in a crazed knife rampage.

Despite the atrocities, fans including those injured in the Manchester Arena on May 22, headed to the venue in their droves, proudly wearing clothes emblazoned with the slogan, "We stand together".

Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus perform at the charity gig. (Photo by Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester)
Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus perform at the charity gig. (Photo by Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester)

Mumford & Sons' Marcus Mumford was the first to take to the stage, asking for a minute's silence in tribute to those who have lost their lives in the last fortnight, including the 22 killed in the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

In between renditions of Giants and Rule The World, Gary Barlow told the crowd: "Thank you everybody for coming out tonight, thank you for everybody watching at home, thanks to Ariana for inviting us tonight.

"Our thoughts are with everyone that's been affected by this.

"We want to stand strong, look at the sky and sing loud and proud."

Barlow then introduced his former band mate, Robbie Williams. Williams serenaded the crowd with his song Strong, changing the words to, "Manchester we're strong".

Concert-goers began queueing outside Lancashire Cricket Club's Old Trafford ground from 8.30am ahead of the One Love Manchester gig.

An armed policeman is seen with music fans at the One Love Manchester concert in Manchester, Britain, June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble
An armed policeman is seen with music fans at the One Love Manchester concert in Manchester, Britain, June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The event marked Ariana Grande's first return to the stage since suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device.

All Grande fans who attended the gig on May 22 were offered free passes to the benefit concert.

Grande's manager Mr Braun said all the acts involved had shown "unwavering" support.

Honour

Questions were raised by fans about whether the One Love benefit gig would still go ahead in the wake of the latest terror attack in London.

However in a statement Mr Braun said: "After the events in London, and those in Manchester just two weeks ago, we feel a sense of responsibility to honour those lost, injured, and affected.

"We plan to honour them with courage, bravery, and defiance in the face of fear.

"Today's One Love Manchester benefit concert will not only continue but will do so with greater purpose.

"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.

"All artists involved have been unwavering in their support this morning and today we stand together. Thank you," he added.

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