Tag Archives: Manchester Arena

We are Manchester. This is The Place.

Scrolling through Twitter on Monday night, I was already tucked up in bed when a minute after the Manchester bomb I saw a tweet saying something was going on at Victoria Station. We often get these “I heard a big bang, what was that?” kind of tweets in Manchester, so at first I didn’t think much of it. But I decided to dig around Twitter to see if there was anything else in it.

Within minutes it was apparent there was a real situation unfolding at the Manchester Arena. I got online and started chatting in a Facebook group with some friends, all of us scrolling and searching for info. We all hoped against hope that it was a popped balloon, that it was a speaker which had exploded, that no one had been hurt.

We all stayed up, screenshotting and sharing statements from Greater Manchester Police. We checked as far as we could that people we knew weren’t there. We realised in the darkness of our early hours chat that this was deliberate, this was timed for maximum impact and it was designed to hurt children.

The swear words and tears flowed. This was our city. Our beautiful, cosmopolitan, inclusive city and someone wanted to hurt our children. It was about as low an act as it could be. We couldn’t do anything but re-tweet and share information. Helpless and despairing we all went to bed at 3am knowing we would wake up to terrible, terrible news.

Tuesday brought a whole range of emotions. Anger, pride, sorrow, love, anger again and fear. We all hugged our little ones close, were extra vigilant when we were out and about. They started to give names to the dead and the missing. All young, vital, full of joy and promise. I’ve wept for every one and each of their mothers too. 

We heard tales of bravery. We were scared and brave and bold and devastated in equal measure. We watched the vigil. We wept with pride, passion and sorrow when Tony Walsh known as Longfella, a local poet and Mancunian legend read his poem, This Is The Place. 

We are broken. 

Less than 48 hours after the attack I am numb. My heart is broken for the children and families caught up in this atrocity. My heart is broken for my friends who are sat by hospital beds with their poorly babies. My heart is broken that someone could do this to my city. My home town. To our children. To our people.

I love my city. Manchester gets under your skin and flows through your veins. It fills your heart with pride. I’m a Proud Manc. I could never be anything else but a Proud Manc. Those who want to divide us will only ever unite us further. 

This is Manchester. We are Manchester. This is The place. Our place.

We are Manchester. This Is The Place.

Take That Wonderland Tour – VIP Day with Key 103

I’ve been a Take That fan for 27 years (27 years, just let that sink in). Take That are currently in the middle of a huge UK tour of their Wonderland album. I went to see them at the Manchester Arena and took along my friend Liz along for the ride. We were there to experience a fabulous day of hospitality at the Manchester Arena with Key 103.

Our hospitality package included two Take That tickets, access to the Prime Experience hospitality area – the View Bar and a glass of champagne, pre-show dinner and drinks at Zouk, plus a chance to meet the Key 103 team at the Arena to see them presenting live on air.

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

The Manchester Arena is incredibly easy to get to, we just hopped on the tram in Didsbury Village and got off at Victoria Station. We wanted to pick up our tickets early and to soak up some of the atmosphere. There were around a hundred people already queuing at the doors at 3pm, the numbers grew in the hour or so we were there. We met up with the Key 103 team who were broadcasting live from the arena and keeping the crowd entertained, which just added to the air of anticipation and excitement. 

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

We had just enough time to jump in a taxi and head to Zouk in Manchester for a bite to eat before the concert started. Zouk, which is just off Oxford Road was a very nice, comfortable, contemporary restaurant which serves authentic and modern Pakistani and Indian cuisine. We’re both vegetarian and we were impressed with the range and quality of the food. I can also heartily recommend their cocktails, the Espresso Martini was the best I’ve ever had! We’ll both be going back and taking our friends!

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

After dinner and buoyed by cocktails and Take That fan-girl excitement, we grabbed a cab back to the Manchester Arena. We dodged the queues and we were fast-tracked into the Prime Experience View Bar for a glass of champagne. As someone who hates queuing and standing around, entry to this bar suits me perfectly and it’s something I’d happily pay for again. A comfy seat, a pre-show drink and a toilet you don’t need to queue for are worth the price alone. 

Once we’d finished our drinks, we headed into the arena and to our seats. They were “the best seats in the house” and they were pretty darn good. We had an unobstructed view of the stage which unusually was located in the centre of the arena. We managed to catch almost all of the All Saints performance, which was fantastic. We’d forgotten how brilliant they were, they had us up singing and dancing, they were the perfect warm up for what was to come.

Take That Wonderland Tour - VIP Day with Key 103

I’ve been to see a lot of bands at the Manchester Arena, but this is the first time I’ve seen the stage in the centre of the arena. It really, really works. It means no one really gets a terrible view. Take That put on a real visual spectacle in the round; with amazing effects, brilliant dancers and dramatic acrobatics. It was at times visually jaw-dropping. But of course, the boys were what we were all there to see.

Take That may be 27 years old, with Gary, Mark and Howard all in their 40’s now; but they are still as energetic as they ever were. They played songs from their new album Wonderland, plus songs from across their back catalogue. Hits included; Wonderland, Pray, Relight My Fire, Satisfied, Greatest Day, How Deep Is Your Love, Back For Good, Patience and of course, Never Forget.

We sang, we danced, we did the waving our arms in the air thing to Never Forget and we had the best time. The. Best. Time. If you get the chance to go and see Take That on this tour, do it. Go. Go now and get tickets. It’s fantastic and you won’t regret it for a second.

You can watch some of the highlights from our fantastic afternoon and evening of Take That and Key 103 entertainment here –

 

I love going to see bands and live music in general. Going to see Take That as part of the hospitality package available at the Manchester Arena just made a great night even more special. It’s definitely something I’d look at booking again, especially if it was for a special occasion or celebration. 

Key 103 are the official radio partner for the Manchester Arena – Manchester’s premium venue for seeing the world biggest acts. Tuning in to Key 103, you’re guaranteed to hear more hits than ever. Key 103 plays all the biggest hits, all day long.

Note: We were invited guests of Key 103 and we were given the hospitality experience in return for this blog post.