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Ariana Grande soaked up tears with cheers at the One Love Manchester benefit concert Sunday. The 23-year-old pop singer valiantly returned to the city weeks after the tragic suicide bombing that claimed the lives of 22 people in the Manchester Arena following her May 22nd concert.
Grande was not alone this time, returning to the stage (literally) with an A-list super friends line-up that included Katy Perry, Pharrell, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, and a surprisingly woke Justin Bieber who supplied the #hashtag moment of the night when he got a policeman to ring around the rosy with kids.
Sunday’s One Love Manchester concert took on added brevity and bravery, considering that it was just one day after another terrorist attack in London killed seven people and injured nearly 50 on Saturday night at the London Bridge and Borough Market.
Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, said in a statement on Sunday that the singer’s show would go on with “greater purpose” following Saturday’s attack.
Fittingly, it was Grande, donning a One Love Manchester sweater, who represented that sense of purpose, kicking off on emotional performance with the appropriately titled “Be Alright,” before being joined on-stage by Miley Cyrus (for a version of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”), boyfriend Mac Miller to play their collaborative song “The Way,” and members of the choir of Parrs Wood High School (located in a Manchester suburb), to sing “You Are My Everything.”
Grande closed the concert whose proceeds will go toward the Red Cross’ We Love Manchester emergency fund, with a stirring performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.