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We Are Manchester: The Most Memorable Moments From Reopening Of Manchester Arena

'This is what the spirit of Manchester looks like.'

10/09/2017 13:53

Thousands crammed into Manchester Arena on Saturday night for the venue’s first concert since the terror attack nearly four months ago, which killed 22 people.

The sold-out We Love Manchester charity concert was held in honour of those affected by the attack, as well as to welcome back live entertainment to the popular venue and raise money for a permanent memorial for the victims.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his device in the arena foyer at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

PA Wire/PA Images
The crowd during the We Are Manchester benefit show, amid heightened security at the reopening of the Manchester Arena tonight for the first time since the terror attack.

The devastated area was partly renovated and reopened for Saturday’s event, to show the city will not be defeated by terrorism.

A team of trained trauma specialists and mental health professionals was on hand for anyone who needed help during the emotional reopening event held amid heightened security.

A host of performers, celebrities and local talent turned up for the event. 

Here are the some of the most memorable moments:

1. Victims remembered

Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, opened the We Are Manchester concert by reading out the names of the 22 people who lost their lives in the attack.

Burnham later tweeted a picture of the 14 thousand-strong crowd with the caption: “This is what the spirit of Manchester looks like.”

2. Tony Walsh reads out poem This Is The Place

Local poet Tony Walsh, also known as Longfella, read out his moving poem This Is The Place, which he performed when crowds gathered in Albert Square, central Manchester, on May 23 for the first vigil held in the wake of the attack.

His poem captured a recurring theme of how the city will not be cowed by extremism.

3. Peter Kay delivers a defiant message

Comedian Peter Kay, who was born in Bolton, Greater Manchester, delivered a defiant message to crowds at the official reopening of the arena, urging concert goers to “move forward with love and not hate”.

He insisted the victims would “never ever be forgotten” but that the terrorists can not be allowed to win.

“There’s been a lot of joy in this room over the years, including the night of 22 May, right up until the terrorist attack.

“These last four months have been incredibly painful,” he continued.

“Horrendous is putting it mildly. But that’s why you’re here - because we can’t let terrorists win.

“And I know the memories of that night will stay with us for a very long time but we’ve got to remember the good times and let them outweigh the bad.” 

4. Don’t Look Back In Anger

Noel Gallagher, who was introduced as Mr Manchester Himself, gave a poignant performance of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger. 

The song took on a special significance in the wake of the attack as crowds spontaneously began singing the anthem at a vigil.

Gallagher said the song had become an “anthem of defiance”.

Gallagher performed a string of other Oasis songs, including Wonderwall and Half The World Away.

Liam Gallagher, who performed at the One Love Manchester gig in June but wasn’t on stage at Manchester Arena on Saturday night, took aim at his brother on social media.

The younger Gallagher brother claimed Noel’s performance was a “pr stunt”.

His comments were criticised on Twitter, with some saying it was inappropriate for him to use the concert as a chance to belittle his sibling.

Other stars on the bill included Pixie Lott, The Courteeners and Rick Astley.

All profits raised by the gig were donated to the Manchester Memorial Fund, a charitable trust overseen by the city’s Lord Mayor to pay for the permanent memorial.

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