Emotions high as arena reopens with charity gig
Thousands of music fans cheered the names of those killed in the Manchester terror attack as the city’s arena reopened with a charity concert.
The 22 names of those murdered in the suicide bombing were read out by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham at the start of the show.
The 14,000 concert-goers clapped and cheered, before Mr Burnham said: “Thank you to the city for coming together.
“Thank you for being who you are. We are Manchester, a city united, nothing will ever change us, nothing will ever divide us.”
Families of some of the victims were in the crowd and there was tight security, with armed police and sniffer dogs on duty.
Backpacks, large bags and even iPads were banned as people filed through metal detectors on their way in to the We Are Manchester event.
Trauma specialists and mental health professionals were also on hand in case anyone needed support.
The event comes three and a half months after Manchester resident Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the venue’s foyer as people left an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May.
Poet Tony Walsh recited his poem This Is The Place before the music began.
He moved some people to tears when he performed the poem at a vigil at Manchester town hall the day after the attack.
Walsh told the arena: “The world is watching, the world is listening,and the world now knows that this is the place. We are musical, we are multicultural, we are Manchester, we are magnificent, and we are back.”
Pixie Lott was the first star on stage, with The Courteeners, Blossoms, Rick Astley, Bugzy Malone, and Nadine Coyle also performing.
But it was former Oasis star Noel Gallagher who was the headliner.
Comedian Peter Kaye introduced the singer – ironically announcing he was “all the way from London” – before Gallagher launched into Oasis anthems including Champagne Supernova and Half the World Away.
The climax was, of course, Don’t Look Back In Anger.
The song became the sound of defiance, unity and hope in the days following the attack, after a crowd spontaneously sang it at a vigil.
Thousands at the concert again drew meaning from the anthem, singing at the top of their lungs as it filled the arena.