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Ariana Grande returns to Manchester for benefit concert
Pop princess Ariana Grande led a star-studded lineup at Manchester’s Old Trafford Cricket stadium on Sunday to commemorate the victims of the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester on May 22.
Families, children and many teenagers, who had been the target of the terrorist attack in Manchester arena barely two weeks before turned up.
“We were at the concert on Monday [May 22],” says 20 year-old David, gathered with his four friends.
“So, it’s a really good thing for Manchester, everyone feels united. It’s the spirit of Manchester, you can just feel the love.”
A minute’s silence was held before the show in honor of the 22 victims.
There had been questions over the viability of the concert after the London attacks at the weekend but organisers insisted it go ahead.
The was nothing but praise for the 23-year-old star.
“She’s only a kid. I think it’s absolutely remarkable that she’s doing this performance this evening, so soon after the attack,” said 24-year-old Emily, who lost one of her friend’s in the May 22nd attack.
“Anyone of us could have been at that concert. And anyone of us would have gone to get a drink and got separated, and that’s when awful things happen. That’s what happened to my friend who passed away.”
Despite the defiant mood, for some it was too soon to come back so there were counselors on hand from the Red Cross ready to listen to anyone affected by the recent tragedy.
Singing for Manchester
“Obviously with something like this, emotions can run high, so there are people here that are willing to listen and not pass any judgment, just to be heard,” explains Joy, who works with victims of terrorism.
Familiar songs took on new meaning as artists like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber performed between moving speeches.”
Security was tighter than usual, with officers, some armed, on patrol both inside and outside the Old Trafford Cricket stadium.
“It was only to be expected,” continues Tony, who commended the work of the police.
“They were just brilliant, talking with us and joining in in the party.”
Out of 50,000 people at the event, only one arrest was made.
She wrapped up her musical marathon with a group performance of One Last Time, which took on a new meaning, before finishing with a soulful rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow.
“It was just class all these stars gathered together,” said Tony. “It was one of those Mandela moments, that you won't forget.”