Less than two weeks following the tragic attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, the “Into You” singer triumphantly returned to the stage to perform at the One Love Manchester benefit concert.
Originally organized to mark the May 22 suicide bombing that claimed the lives of 22 people in the Manchester Arena, Sunday’s concert took on added meaning after three assailants killed seven people and injured nearly 50 on Saturday night at the London Bridge and Borough Market in London.
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.
When the 23-year-old singer, dressed in a One Love Manchester sweatshirt, finally walked onstage, the crowd erupted into cheers. She kicked off her performance with the upbeat “Be Alright,” and followed up with “Break Free.” The songs seemed to take on more powerful meanings during the Sunday night performance.
Grande was visibly emotional, and appeared to tear up as she finished the songs. The singer thanked the crowd multiple times during the concert, at one point telling them, “The kind of love and unity that you’re displaying is the medicine the world really needs right now.”
Stars such as Robbie Williams, Niall Horan, Pharrell Williams, Take That and Katy Perry also performed at the concert, infusing messages of strength and positivity throughout the night. Grande performed with various artists, including The Black Eyed Peas and Victoria Monet.
A particularly sweet moment came when Grande joined members of the choir of Parrs Wood High School, located in a Manchester suburb, to sing “You Are My Everything.” The group had many in the crowd in tears.
After that performance, Grande introduced her boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, to the stage to sing “The Way,” which they collaborated on in 2013.
“Tonight’s all about love,” she said before he came out to join her. As the two performed together, their love for each other clearly radiated through.
Then, Grande was joined my Miley Cyrus, who had performed earlier in the night. The singers performed their cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” which they first sang as part of Cyrus’ Backyard Sessions.
In what may have been the most powerful moment of the show, Grande closed out the show by singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” alone onstage. The stunning performance had many in the crowd in tears.
Grande herself was also overcome with emotion, breaking down before finishing the song. The crowd then erupted into cheers and the singer managed to get through the final bit beautifully.
Proceeds from the benefit concert will go toward the Red Cross’ We Love Manchester emergency fund, in support of the victims and families of the May attack.
Doha Madani contributed to this report.