Liam Gallagher leads wave of free concerts for NHS staff

The Script, Rick Astley and others also announce benefit shows to thank workers fighting coronavirus

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  • Liam Gallagher has announced a free concert for NHS workers to acknowledge their efforts during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Gallagher said it was an “honour” to announce the concert at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, adding that NHS workers “do an incredible job, we are very lucky to have them”.

    The concert will take place on Thursday 29 October. “NHS staff and NHS contract staff who work in NHS hospitals in the UK” can apply for tickets, at a limit of two per person. Successful applicants can bring a non-NHS guest as the second ticketholder.

    NHS workers can apply from 9am on Wednesday 15 April via the O2 Arena website.

    Gallagher is the second British indie-rock artist to announce a free NHS concert this week. Welsh trio Manic Street Preachers will play Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on 4 and 5 December – the first show is free for NHS workers, with the second paid show available to all, with proceeds going to NHS Wales.

    “We wanted to do something to show our appreciation, love and respect for the NHS and its amazing brave workers,” the band said. “One free show and one fundraising show seemed the best way for us to express our deep gratitude for all their heroic work.” Tickets for those concerts have gone on sale today.

    Eighties pop star Rick Astley will play two free concerts, at Manchester Arena on 28 October and Wembley’s SSE Arena on 1 November, with tickets available to all NHS and emergency services staff. “We are all going to have a massive party together celebrating you and what you are doing,” he said announcing the Wembley show, after the Manchester concert sold out in 30 minutes.

    Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.
    Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott. Photograph: Paul Husband

    Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, the songwriting duo who were at the heart of the Beautiful South, have also announced two arena shows for NHS workers, on 13 October in Nottingham (sold out) and 15 October at Wembley. They have had four Top 5 albums since 2014 as a duo, including a No 1 this year with Manchester Calling.

    Heaton said in a statement: “The coronavirus pandemic should remind everyone, and let no one forget, that our National Health Service is the most brilliant and significant institution in our lives. The men and women who serve us and care for us, give us hope and sacrifice their own wellbeing, can never be thanked enough. We are just musicians, so there is little we can do but sing for you.”

    Finally, Irish pop-rockers the Script will play a free concert at Dublin’s 3Arena on 9 February for 13,000 British and Irish national health service workers, with the band heralding them as making “sacrifices day in and day out, working harder than anyone”. Tickets sold out in 30 minutes earlier this week.


    Ben Beaumont-Thomas

    The GuardianTramp

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