Ariana Grande made her eagerly-anticipated return to Manchester to show her Pride – and it was a hugely emotional night for the star and the city.
The pop superstar was back here for the first time since the One Love Manchester concert that she held after the devastating bombing at her Manchester Arena gig in May 2017 when 22 people lost their lives.
With the eyes of the world trained on Mayfield depot, Ariana proudly waved the rainbow flag on stage to show her support to Manchester Pride in what was a hugely significant night for the LGBT+ charity, for the city, for her fans and of course for Ariana herself.
She said she was “overwhelmed” to be back in Manchester and became emotional as she spoke to the crowds about what the night meant to her.
Ariana said: “Manchester I just wanted to wish you all a very very happy Pride. I just wanted to take a second to thank you all for having me here tonight, for so many reasons. Because my heart has always been here, the gays have always had my heart personally. Thank you for accepting and celebrating me the same way I’ve always accepted and celebrated you guys.”
She became visibly emotional as she continued: “And also I love Manchester so much, Manchester thank you so much for having me back. I’m sorry I’m nervous, there’s so much I want to say but I’m overwhelmed, so thank you, I love you.”
She walked out on to the Mayfield depot stage just after 10.30pm, with the stars twinkling above in the clear night skies and a vast, capacity crowd cheering and clapping her arrival.
It came at the finale of a packed evening of entertainment on stage that included sets from Cheryl (pictured below), Tulisa and Bananarama as part of the new Manchester Pride Live event at Mayfield.
And it was spine-tingling stuff as Ariana opened her show with the strains of No Tears Left To Cry.
But what followed was an upbeat, 35-minute performance showing just why she is the world’s biggest female music star right now. Every note was pitch perfect, every flick of that signature pony tail was on fleek, every strut down the promenade stage into the crowds delivered with flawless sass in her shiny black bondage style ensemble.
She delivered a blistering set of her biggest chart hits – Side to Side, Thank U Next, 7 Rings are all lapped up by the audience who sing back every word.
As the night drew to an end, there was only one song to finish the show, One Last Time.
It was goosebumps time once again as Ariana sank to her knees to serenade the crowd before her – twinkling phone lights all around, and the hotchpotch of old Manchester mill buildings and new apartment blocks circling the Mayfield stage.
Honorary Manc Ariana is part of the city’s fabric now, part of our shared history, and her performance at Manchester Pride cemented her place in our hearts.
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Ariana’s Pride setlist
No Tears Left to Cry
Break up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored
Side to Side
Thank U, Next
One Last Time