It's been a long time since I watched a music concert. In fact; I cannot remember the last one I went to. However I did make sure I watched the One Love Benefit Concert on Sunday if nothing else, to just stand with those music loving Mancunians as they displayed their open defiance against evil.
By Andy Simon @AndySimon55
It's been a long time since I watched a music concert.
In fact; I cannot remember the last one I went to. However I did make sure I watched the One Love Benefit Concert on Sunday if nothing else, to just stand with those music loving Mancunians as they displayed their open defiance against evil.
And what a night it was.
Broadcast to over 50 countries worldwide, the One Love Manchester Benefit Concert, held at Old Trafford, will most likely go down in TV history as one of the most focused upon event since Live Aid in 1985.
It was pretty much a demonstration of unified resistance to show the world how just one city who on the evening of the 22nd of May, when 22 year old British Muslim, Salman Abedi, turned suicide bomber, blew himself up in the lobby of the Manchester Arena during a concert held by American singer, Ariana Grande can a few days later, rally round and rustle up not only a fine concert worthy of note, but a rousing roaring message of defiance to all those who favour the bullet and the bomb.
Abedi's actions killed 22 innocent people that night, some of which were children, and critically injured a further 23.
And I too; had friends whose daughters had been at the Manchester Arena, on that particular night.
They're fine thankfully, but they did indeed see the aftermath of Salman Abedi's handiwork, things two 14 year old's should never see. And as far as I am aware, my two friends daughters are getting all the help they need from those who are sadly well trained for such traumatic circumstances. I wish them, and all who have been witness to such things, a speedy recovery.
Then, on June 3rd, things got worse.
A van ploughed through pedestrians in Southwark east London, before coming to an abrupt halt after which, three men emerged and wielding 12 inch knives, proceeded toward neighbouring Borough Market and began randomly attacking people as they enjoyed their evening in and around the many pubs and restaurants.
Seven people were killed and 48 wounded including four unarmed police officers who attempted to tackle the terrorists. At the time of writing, some members of the public who were in an around Borough Market that night, are still unaccounted for.
The three terrorists were killed by armed police.
At the time of writing, the identities of the seven who were killed, have not been revealed. So in the light of Borough Market, the One Love Benefit Concert took on some extra meaning.
The concert organised by Ariana Grande herself had many big names in the music business supporting her, Take That, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry, Will-i-am, Black Eyed Peas, Niall Horan, Little Mix, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Justin Bieber, Usher, Coldplay, in addition to the brief appearances via short videos from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and David Beckham, to mention a few.
The whole evening was very emotional for obvious reasons, and I think for everyone who was either there, or watching on their TV's, the most poignant moment was when the Parrs Wood High School Choir who some of whom were at the Manchester Arena on the night Salman Abedi did what he did. sang a lovely version of Ariana Grande's 2014 song, "My Everything."
But when 12-year-old soloist Natasha Seth was joined by Grande onstage, she became so overwhelmed with emotion and thus broke down in tears, was then comforted by Grande, and she helped Natasha finish the song.
Quite a moment really.
And Natasha was not the only one to feel the raw emotion of the moment. Earlier in the show, Robbie Williams too struggled to keep his emotions in check while he sang Angels, and for me the final blow to the heartstrings came when Coldplay sang, "Fix You."
All in all; it was a memorable evening, and it was also very refreshing to see Miley Cyrus with some clothes on, for a change.
Granted; some of the music wasn't to my taste but then; I'm an old fart and not fully acquainted with the music of today. However for me at least, the message of the night was blatantly clear.
The whole show was pretty much, a "Stick A Defiant Middle Finger Up At You!", aimed at all those who would want to destroy us, simply because of who we are, and how we choose to live our lives.
And it is well worth watching, if you can.
On a final point, when you think about it, it can be argued that these terrorists, both the one in Manchester and the three in London, are as much the victims of violence, as are the people they killed.
They didn't start out as monsters, they were not born killers, they didn't just happen to have a deep hatred of the west. All that made them what they were, on that terrible night, had to be implanted into them by those who hide in the dark corners of our society.
They hide in the shadows, in the dark recesses of our towns and cities. They're too cowardly to come out openly into the light, where they would be seen.
Although some indeed, spread their messages of hate, in plain sight, and often; under the very noses of those who can stop them!
Some prefer to lurk under the radar, cruising the highways of the internet, where under the veil of social media, they do their evil work of radicalisation, preying on the disillusioned and the weak minded.
And it's here, that our true enemies dwell. But the task of flushing them out is not easy,
Sunday's concert showed those who were like me, watching on their TV, that if we stand together, we won't be beaten.
I will not be one of those who gives in to media hysteria, rumour, hearsay or bigotry. I refuse to believe as some believe, that all Muslims are bad Muslims.
I make my opinions, based on the facts that I gather through reading, watching and listening, then applying my findings to my own personal perception and experience of my home environment.
I live in a community which has a healthy number of Muslims.
I know some of them well, and trust me, they are as deeply troubled and saddened by recent events, as we are.
So please; cut the Muslims some slack. They're human beings too, and they really don't like what's been happening any more than we do.
Peace, not war, love, not hate, life, not death.That's what this concert was about.
And for those good things and more, I too; will stand with Manchester.
Thanks for reading.
This review is respectfully dedicated to the families and friends of the following people, who sadly lost their lives in the Manchester attack.
Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, from Lancashire.
Nell Jones, 14, from Cheshire.
Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, from Leeds.
Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from Barra, Outer Hebrides.
Charlotte Campbell, 15, from Bury, Greater Manchester.
Megan Hurley, 15, Location not known.
Chloe Rutherford, 17, from South Shields.
Georgina Callander, 18, from Lancashire.
Liam Curry, 19, from South Shields.
Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead.
John Atkinson, 28, from Bury, Greater Manchester.
Martyn Hett, 29, from Stockport.
Kelly Brewster, 32, from Sheffield.
Philip Tron, 32, from Gateshead.
Angelika Klis, 32, from York (Originally from Poland)
Marcin Klis, 42, from York (Originally from Poland)
Elaine Mclver, 43, from Cheshire.
Alison Howe, 45, from Oldham, Manchester.
Michelle Kiss, 45, from Whalley.
Lisa Lees, 47, from Oldham, Manchester.
Wendy Fawell, 59, from Otley, West Yorkshire.
Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51, from Blackpool.