Ariana Grande told her audience at Manchester Pride that she was “overwhelmed” upon returning to Manchester.
The pop star’s headline performance at the event followed her benefit concert, One Love Manchester, which raised millions for those affected by the terror attack at her concert two years ago.
“The gays have always had my heart, personally,” she said. “I spent some of the happiest times of my teenage years singing in gay bars in New York City.”
Manchester Pride marked Grande’s first time performing in the city since her One Love benefit concert in 2017, which raised millions for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.
Visibly shaking, she thanked the city for welcoming her back.
“I’m so happy to be here with you, it means the world, so thank you for having me.
“I’m sorry, I’m so nervous, I had so much more to say but I’m like very overwhelmed so thank you. It’s so beautiful, I love you so much.”
Thousands cheered on as Grande sped her way through a 30-minute set ending with a heartfelt sing-a-long to ‘One Last Time’, which was re-released as a charity single following the 2017 attack.
“Manchester holds a very special place in my heart,” she told fans.
Grande has previously said she experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the bombing. The concert this weekend took place at a new outdoor venue in the city centre, rather than the arena.
Grande played a shorter version of the set from her current world tour, but ended on her 2014 single “One Last Time”, which took on additional meaning in the wake of the arena attack.
Grande will perform in Birmingham, Glasgow and Sheffield before returning for two more shows at the O2 Arena in London in October.