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Defiant Manchester set for centre stage after devastating terror attack


On September 9th the Manchester Arena will reopen its doors for the first time since the tragic terror attack in May in which 22 people lost their lives.

Manchester has stood strong and battled on since the dreadful events that shocked the region, the country and the world, with unity being shown at every gig in the city since. To mark the occasion, local icon Noel Gallagher will headline a stellar lineup of acts, which includes some of the best known artists to have come out of Manchester.

Just days after the attack the Courteeners played their huge gig at Old Trafford Cricket ground, Liam Fray opened the show by reading out a moving poem sending the message:

“So, come at us again, and again if you must. Time after time we’ll rise from the dust. You’ll never prevail – not against us…
This is Manchester, our MANCHESTER
And the bees still buzz!”

The defiance of the words made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge, it was a feeling that the whole city felt. The Courteeners gig as a whole had a sense of togetherness as fans turned out in their droves to fill Old Trafford, an act of disunity couldn’t stop Manchester being brought together to stand united. It was always going to be a special homecoming gig for the band from Middleton, with the 50,000 capacity cricket ground being sold out, but the events of the Monday before made it even more so. Banners across the crowd proclaiming “hate won’t tear us apart,” showed what music is about and that we shouldn’t be made to feel scared by those who wish to divide us.

The Oasis classic picked up an entire new meaning during the weeks after the attack. The spontaneous singing of this song sparked complete unity throughout the city, and the country. Noel Gallagher has since donated all profits made from the song to the Manchester fund.

His brother Liam, also made his contribution, donating the proceeds of his comeback gig at the O2 Ritz to the fund. The former Oasis frontman also lit 22 candles on the stage in memory of the victims.

Later that week, Old Trafford would play host to another huge event, Manchester One Love, with stars from across the world coming to perform at this special gig. The performers included Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and of course Ariana Grande who had helped arranged the gig and since has been made an honorary Mancunian.

The gig was free to any of the victims involved, and the rest of the tickets sold out in seconds.

At this gig it was Chris Martin and Coldplay who played the Oasis classic. Helped by Grande, the passion put into the words ‘Don’t look back in anger… I heard you say’ was clear to see even from the TV.

‘One Love’ ended with a surprise performance, with Liam Gallagher closing the gig with two classics ‘Rock N Roll Star’ and ‘Live Forever,’ as well as his new single ‘Wall of Glass.’

Music and Manchester go hand in hand, the two cannot be separated. This summer has emphasised that fact even more and the feeling of a City United will reach its climax on Saturday September 9th, back where it all began, as the people of Manchester put the fear that surrounded that arena behind them.

By Amos Wynn.