Ariana Grande’s “One Love Manchester” charity benefit concert was a pop-filled night of defiant celebration and positive energy, but the singer closed the show on an emotional note.
The 23-year-old wrapped up the event with a heartfelt rendition of Judy Garland’s 1939 classic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
Grande became overwhelmed during the performance and began to cry, pausing to pull herself together with the encouraging cheers of the 50,000-strong crowd behind her, before finishing the song, the Independent reported.
Grande’s mother, Joan, told Variety her daughter’s connection to the song goes deeper than just Manchester.
“I didn’t know she was going to sing it,” the elder Grande said. “It’s an emotional story: my father passed away two and half years ago, and that was the song she sang for him after he passed.”
The singer was very close to her grandfather, who died in 2014. Her mother said he always encouraged her to sing the “Wizard of Oz” ballad in public.
The "One Love" concert was dedicated to the 22 victims who were killed by a suicide bomber after Grande’s May 22 “Dangerous Woman” tour performance wrapped up. Money raised went to British Red Cross’s Manchester Emergency fund, which has raisedover £9.6 million ($16.8 million) for the victims and their families. An online shop has also been set up for people to buy merchandise benefitting the cause.
Security for the show was heightened after another terror attack took place in London less than 24 hours earlier, according to CNN.
The "One Love" concert was dedicated to the 22 victims who were killed by a suicide bomber after Grande’s May 22 “Dangerous Woman” tour performance wrapped up.
Grande and her manager, Scooter Braun, pulled the whole show together on short notice, while also making time to visit the victims and their families in hospital. She talked about meeting the mother of 15-year-old Olivia Campbell, who lost her life during the Manchester attack, during the show.
"As soon as I met her I started crying and I gave her a big hug and she said I should stop crying because Olivia would have wanted me to stop crying,” Grande said. She added Campbell’s mother told her that her daughter would’ve “wanted to hear the hits,” so Grande listened, and rejigged her setlist to include some more upbeat songs like “Side to Side.”
Earlier in the three-hour long show, Grande addressed her fans directly. “I love you so, so much. Thank you so much for coming together and being so loving and strong and unified. I love you guys so much, and I think the kind of unity you're displaying is the medicine the world needs right now,” she said.
The star-studded event at the Emirates Old Trafford Stadium also included performances and tributes from Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Oasis’s Liam Gallagher, Pharrell Williams, the Black Eyed Peas, Take That, and many others.
Performers and attendees alike proved the concert’s mantra — love conquers hate and fear.
Also on HuffPost