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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 26, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 21
Tragedy strikes at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, 22 killed and tour suspended
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Tragedy strikes at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, 22 killed and tour suspended

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Ariana Grande was just here in Seattle two months ago. She performed before a packed crowd at Key Arena. I was there, sitting, or rather standing at seat 1 in Row 6 of Section 128. I remember a family of women and girls sitting in front of me, appearing to be a grandmother with her two daughters and granddaughters. The young girls sang and danced excitely throughout the show. Elsewhere around the arena, there were a significant number of Gay male supporters, between the ages of 20s and 40s, maybe some a little older; regardless, Grande has attracted a large international LGBT fan base since the start of her recording career in 2013 and has returned the favor by being a loyal, outspoken ally of the community.

As with most concerts, Grande's performance on March 23 here in the Emerald City was a festive experience with people dancing, singing, holding up signs and mesmerized by seeing one of their favorite artists in person. It was fun, lively and entertaining, but most importantly it was a safe zone for everybody, from all walks of life.

This is the setting and these are the people - very similar to the night of March 23 at Key Arena - that would have come together at Manchester Arena on Monday, May 22 for Grande's concert there, as part of the European leg of her 'Dangerous Woman Tour.' That festive experience turned to tragedy when a suicide bomber detonated a device that killed 22 fans and injured nearly 60 more, a terrorist attack that stunned the world and the music industry.

The Manchester show could possibly be the last performance of the tour, as Grande has suspended the remaining dates that included concerts throughout Central Europe, South America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. The singer-songwriter herself and reportedly all members of her crew escaped safely, though attendees as young as eight years old were killed. The incident happened minutes after the concert ended, as people were exiting the arena to go home, in the foyer of the arena that leads out to Victoria train station.

Only a handful of victims had been identified by the following morning with families and friends frantically searching for loved ones, even going onto social media to check their most recent whereabouts. Among those who attended the show and made it home safely was the daughter of musician Peter Hook, best known as a co-founding member of iconic electronic music acts New Order and Joy Division, who is scheduled to play Seattle later this year.

Many celebrities took to social media to relay their condolences and also to give Grande support, including Cher, who Tweeted in all caps. ' MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO PPL OF MANCHESTER&HAD SPECIAL TIMES THERE FROM YOUTH & BEYOND,' her note read.

Miley Cyrus wrote on Instagram, 'wishing I could give my friend @ArianaGrande a great big hug right now... love love love you .... so sorry you had to be a part of such a tragic event! my most sincere condolences to anyone and everyone affected by this horrific attack! all I can do is send as much HOPE & PEACE your way! This MUST end! No more war .... no more innocent lives taken .... L-O-V-E'. She also posted a photo of her and Grande sitting side-by-side at an event wearing animal costumes. Cyrus and Grande both appeared on Disney Channel series as teenagers.

Nick Jones posted, 'My thoughts and prayers are with everyone effected by this horrible attack in Manchester. My heart is broken this morning,' while Pink noted, 'My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Manchester, any one affected, @ArianaGrande and the entire crew. Heartbreaking.'

Summarizing it best was Lorde, saying, 'every musician feels sick & responsible tonight - shows should be safe for you. truly a worst nightmare. sending love to manchester & ari.'

G-A-Y Manchester nightclub was supposed to hold a post-concert party, and it wasn't known whether the bar opened its doors at all following the performance, however, G-A-Y did post a message on its Facebook page that read 'I Heart (symbol) MCR.'

A public vigil was held at Albert Square, in Manchester, on Tuesday to pay their respects to the victims and their families, as well as to display a unified response to the terror attack. A similar vigil in Birmingham was interrupted when policemen arrested a suspicious man armed with a large knife and baseball bat.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy. For a first person account of what happened inside the arena, a staff member of Gay UK magazine Attitude was at the show and describes the ordeal online at attitude.co.uk. (Click on the story from the main page.)

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Tragedy strikes at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, 22 killed and tour suspended
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