Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Concert /We Are Manchester

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Concert /We Are Manchester

Article excerpt

"MANCHESTER, the centre of the universe", yelled Liam Fray as he and The Courteeners led the crowds into a moshing frenzy at the big reopening gig at the Manchester Arena.

It certainly felt like it last Saturday night as 14,000 music fans packed in to the venue for the We Are Manchester benefit concert after the devastating terror attack and the city's darkest hour on May 22 - with the world very much watching on.

This was always going to be so much more than just a concert.

Just walking up the steps and into the arena was a hugely emotional moment for most.

Many were in tears, including staff and even security guards, as thoughts naturally turned to the dreadful events following the Ariana Grande concert that will be forever etched in hearts and minds.

A special room was set up inside the arena for those in need of emotional support during the show, and a minute's applause was led by poet Tony Walsh at the start of the night to remember the 22 innocent lives lost in the bombing.

But from the moment the music started, thanks to Manc music and DJ icon Clint Boon, with the very fitting strains of the Stone Roses, the night became something else, and something rather special.

It was a celebration of everything that is good about our city and its people - the Manchester music and Mancunian spirit that is known around the world.

Hit after Manchester-born hit was played out on the night - live on stage from our homegrown talent, as well as well-chosen Manc anthems that were played out in the interludes. It sparked plenty of magic moments - 14,000 of us belting out "I Am the Resurrection" in a cacophonous unison; blokes doing their best Bez dancing impressions when Step On started to play, or the sheer hearin-mouth feeling when the guitars start to thrash open Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart and The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

The somewhat eclectic array of artists on stage - from Rick Astley to Pixie Lott alongside Manc idols Blossoms and The Courteeners - meant for a pleasantly diverse range of revellers in the audience - who were all united when it came to having a good time.

Groups of lads who had been singing in lusty voice to The Smiths and Stone Roses then jumped up to twerk along to Pixie Lott's All About Tonight and wave their arms when Nadine Coyle launches into Girls Aloud's Call The Shots.

I even spotted one chap turn his flatcap round to appear a bit more 'street' when Bugzy Malone arrived on stage, resplendent in his "0161" area code T-shirt.

But it was down to one of Manchester's most famous sons, Burnage's Noel Gallagher, to bring the night to its emotional finale - with a huge singalong to the Oasis classic Don't Look Back In Anger which Noel noted has become an "anthem of defiance" in the wake of the terrorist attack. …

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