Noel Gallagher and his Flying Birds headlined the emotional We Are Manchester benefit concert Saturday at the Manchester Arena, the first show at the British venue since the terror attack outside an Ariana Grande concert on May 22nd killed 22 people.
Gallagher’s eight-song set featured Oasis‘ “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” which became the rallying cry of Manchester and tribute to those who died following the terror attack.
“It became an anthem for defiance,” Gallagher told the Manchester Arena crowd Saturday. “Every time you sing, we win. So sing like you’ve never sang before.” He then launched into a sing-along of the (What’s the Story) Morning Glory track.
During the final “Don’t Look Back in Anger” chorus, Manchester native Gallagher, overcome by the emotion of the performance, rubbed tears from his eyes as he struggled to sing, allowing the crowd to finish the song.
However, the poignant moment was immediately sullied on Twitter by the guitarist’s former Oasis bandmate, brother and nemesis Liam Gallagher.
“[Noel] broke down in tears cmon you seriously ain’t buying that he doesn’t give a fuck,” Liam tweeted. “Don’t buy into his PR stunt he doesn’t give a fuck if the same thing had have gone [on] in Edinburgh he’d been up there like a shot ahem.”
Liam Gallagher previously performed the Oasis’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Live Forever” at the One Love Manchester concert on June 4th. At the time, he also slammed Noel for not appearing at that benefit show, tweeting, ” Manchester id like to apologise for my brothers absence last night very disappointed. Noels out of the fucking country weren’t we all love get on a fucking plane and play your tunes for the kids you sad fuck.”
The We Are Manchester benefit, which raised money for the victims of the terror attack as well as a public memorial, also featured sets by the Courteeners, Pixie Lott, ex-Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle, Rick Astley, Blossoms and Bugzy Malone as well as appearances by Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and poet Tony Walsh, who read his piece “This Is the Place.”
The Manchester Arena’s reopening is “a symbol of the city going back together,” Burnham told Rolling Stone in August. “Our determination, if you like. It’s a symbol of defiance in many ways that life goes on and we’re not going to change who we are and what we are in any way.” Burnham added that “Don’t Look Back in Anger” reflected the city’s resilience. “Music is playing a part in the recovery story,” he said.
John Legend, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Neil Diamond will each perform at the reopened Manchester Arena in September.