Last month, following the terrorist attack at Manchester arena immediately after an Ariana Grande concert, it would have been easy—and understandable—for her to retreat away from public view, or for people to generally avoid attending huge concerts in fear of a repeat. Instead, in an act of defiance and unity, Ariana threw a mammoth charity concert for those killed or injured during the attack. Performing alongside her was a casual roll call of massive names in pop: Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Liam Gallagher, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Take That, Niall Horan, Little Mix, Mac Miller, and Robbie Williams, with the whole event raising at least $3 million for the British Red Cross.
So, what about the actual concert itself? What happened? Well, Ariana and Miley did a duet of Crowded House's "Don't Dream it's Over" which, if you haven't seen it already, might make you weep heavily into your lunch. Justin Bieber reminded everyone that his vocal chords are built from the silk of angels with an acoustic version of "Cold Water." Little Mix continued their reign as Britain's Best Ever Girl Band (bar Spice Girls, obviously) by making the crowd dance to an energetic rendition of "Wings." Robbie Williams performed an updated version of "Angels" sounding like he'd been yelling himself raw all morning, while wearing leather trousers and Purpose tour merch in the style of Thrasher (for reasons I do not understand but which I am very much on board with).
And then there was the sight of Chris Martin and Liam Gallagher performing "Live Forever," together, on stage, which just goes to show that even though Liam compared Chris to a vicar that time, and said that Coldplay were "beyond shit," the latter will still continuously wheel himself out for a good cause. That said, Liam still found time to call Noel Gallagher a "sad fuck" on Twitter for not turning up to the gig, continuing to extend the world's longest ever beef.
Basically, the whole thing could have been an extremely sombre affair after May's horrific events, but instead everyone banded together for a courageous, energetic, and uplifting celebration of pop's enduring power, and all for a good cause. On a night that emotional, it's easy to look past some of the shakier vocal performances or incongruous pairings to see just how much people are willing to step out of their regular domains for a good cause, without reducing the entire evening to schmaltz.
You can watch the whole thing below here:
(Lead image by Disney ABC Television Group via Fickr)
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