The Manchester Evening News Arena celebrated its15th birthday party last night, with a multi-artist gig put together by Real Radio North West.
Headline acts included Scouting for Girls, The Script, Alexandra Burke and Pixie Lott – and a surprise guest with former steward Peter Kay joining breakfast presenters Ditchy and Salty on stage.
The M.E.N Arena is the largest concert venue in Europe and was the world’s second busiest concert venue last year, with over 1.5 million tickets sold. The Real Radio gig celebrated 15 years to the day since it opened and raised money for the Help For Heroes, Christies, Nordoff Robins Music Therapy and When You Wish Upon A Star charities.
After Scouting For Girls kicked the party off, there were further performances from Pixie Lott, The Saturdays, The Script, Beverley Knight, Taio Cruz, The Hoosiers, The Baseballs, Amy MacDonald, Gabriella Cilmi, Fyfe Dangerfield, Craig David, Olly Murs and Alexandra Burke to close for the near 10,000 strong crowd.
Comic superstar, Peter Kay – who has just completed a spring residency of 20 dates at the arena he worked at for five years – made a surprise appearance and brought the house down, saying: “I’m not the surprise, the surprise, believe it or not… is Lady Gaga!” The arena went crazy until he continued: “But she’s just off to catch the last tram.”
He also added a bit of nostalgia and thanked the NYNEX Arena and Century FM for the event, the former names for the arena and Real Radio, laughing it off by saying: “That’ll ruffle a few feathers!”
Dave Shearer, Real Radio North West programme director and event organiser, said of the gig; “This was a fantastic night and an amazing gig! It was a resounding hit with everyone tonight and that was clearly apparent as the place was jumping from the first song to the last. It was wonderful to see 9,000 people having such an incredibly good time. This what Real Radio is all about; giving it’s listeners something special, something rare and something they’ll take with them forever.
“I’d like to thank our brilliant team at Real Radio who put so much into making tonight the success it has been and The MEN Arena for their support throughout. Without a doubt, tonight, everyone was a Real winner!”
Photos and videos from the event are at Real Radio’s [link=http://www.realradionorthwest.co.uk]website[/link].