Less than two weeks after the tragic events at Manchester Arena, Ariana Grande returned to the city to head up a concert in tribute to the 22 killed at the venue after her gig and to show that she, her fans and Manchester wouldn’t be cowed by the terror attack. The US singer was rightly praised for her compassion and strength, proving herself to be the kind of dignified states person that any country would be proud to have as their leader.
During the concert, she spoke out not with anger but with love, offering comfort, hope and a brilliantly unlikely Coldplay/Liam Gallagher collaboration. During a spectacular three-hour show, even the human dishrag that is Piers Morgan was moved to issue a public Twitter apology to Grande after slagging her off for leaving the UK after the May 22 attack to return home. The fact that such a powerful stand against terrorism was undertaken by a 23-year-old woman must have ruined him.
The beauty of the One Love Manchester event was that it wasn’t about finger pointing and fear but community and coming together. The show’s star-studded guestlist, from Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber to Katy Perry, showed us the power of music, not just in helping those who were at the Arena show forge new, positive memories, but as a powerful, positive act of defiance. It wasn’t just what was happening on stage, it was the people in the crowd belting out ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and the yellow-jacketed police dancing with kids that made the day so meaningful. When horrible s**t happens, the best thing you can do is to carry on living your life, but even more fabulously and even more loudly.
After the London Bridge terror attack – which took place the night before the Manchester One Love concert – Richard Angell, a 33-year-old man who was out in Borough Market, was interviewed by the BBC and nailed this sentiment with equal measures of defiance and sass. “If me having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men, hanging out with brilliant women, is what offends these people so much, I’m going to do it more, not less,” he commented. We should all be following his lead.