Liam Gallagher Takes Over Ill Ariana Grande's Manchester Tribute at the BRITs
Gallagher — who previously performed during the One Love Manchester benefit concert last June — sang the Oasis hit "Live Forever"
In a last-minute switch-up, rocker Liam Gallagher took the stage to perform a moving tribute to the Manchester bombing victims at the 2018 BRIT Awards — taking over for Ariana Grande, who pulled out of the awards show due to illness.
Gallagher — who previously performed during the One Love Manchester benefit concert last June — sang the Oasis hit “Live Forever.”
“He just brought the whole arena to their feet. Huge sing-along,” an onlooker tells PEOPLE. “Everyone in the U.K. knows and loves that song. Very emotional.”
The 45-year-old is a native of Manchester, the site of the May 22, 2017, attack on Grande’s concert, which left 22 dead and injured hundreds.
Grande was unable to travel to the BRITs, Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the Brit Awards, told the BBC.
Taylor told the BBC, “We think it’s really important to recognize that terrible atrocity and the impact on so many lives so I can confirm we did have Ariana Grande lined up to make a performance tonight. Unfortunately she was not able to travel on doctor’s orders, she’s not well, and I can say that there will be something tonight, I can’t say any more than that but people should tune in and watch.”
“And hopefully it will be a fitting remembrance and recognition of what happened, which was so terrible,” Taylor continued to the outlet.
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Just weeks after the horrifying attack, Grande helped orchestrate the One Love Manchester benefit, which included performances by artists like the star’s boyfriend Mac Miller, and friends Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, the Black Eyed Peas, Victoria Monet, Pharrell Williams, Take That, Coldplay, Niall Horan, Robbie Williams and Justin Bieber.
All proceeds from the concert — which took place at the Emirates Old Trafford stadium in Manchester — went to the Red Cross’ Manchester Emergency Fund to help victims and families impacted by the attack. Those who were in attendance at Grande’s concert at the time of the incident were able to attend the benefit for free, while the additional tickets sold out in just six minutes.
In a February interview with the Big Questions with Cal Fussman podcast, Grande’s manager Scooter Braun said of the attack — and the pop star’s response — “The terrorist made a mistake… they picked the wrong goddamn show. Because if they thought we were going to roll over they don’t know Ariana and they don’t know me.”
- With reporting by PHIL BOUCHER