Elbow turn Manchester crowd into 23,500-strong choir in spine-tingling harmony

21 May 2024, 15:54 | Updated: 21 May 2024, 16:05

Crowd at Elbow concert effortlessly harmonise during show

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

The most life-affirming sound you’ll ever hear: a crowd of thousands of music lovers, lifting their voices in glorious harmony.

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A beautiful video has emerged of the British rock band Elbow turning their concert audience into an epic, harmonising choir.

It was a newsworthy moment for the Manchester-born group, as they became the first to play in the UK’s largest indoor arena, Co-Op Live, following a string of delays and problems for the venue.

During their gig, Elbow invited the live crowd of over 23,000 people to sing along with the band’s anthemic hit song, ‘One Day Like This’.

Towards the end of the song, all backing drops out, leaving just lead singer Guy Garvey and a chorus. Garvey hands the microphone to his audience to take over the epic refrain: “Throw those curtains wide / One day like this a year would see me right”.

And so, the largest arena turned into the largest choir. After two rounds of singing in full voice, Garvey challenges the 23,500-strong choir to take it to the next level. After declaring, “Harmonise!”, the crowd immediately responded in music, erupting into a chorus of electrifying harmony.

“Beautiful!” Garvey praises the crowd.

Read more: Who is Jacob Collier, the viral musician turning audiences into choirs?

Elbow turn Manchester crowd into 23,500-strong choir in spine-tingling harmony
Elbow turn Manchester crowd into 23,500-strong choir in spine-tingling harmony. Picture: Getty; TikTok / @firth_

‘One Day Like This’ is Elbow’s all-time greatest song, a life-affirming anthem that has connected with audiences around the world.

It featured in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics and won an Ivor Novello Award in 2009. Covered by many artists over the year, even Sarah Brightman took it on in 2013, accompanied by a music video starring the soprano in a purple kimono, and later a space helmet.

The videos captures the band’s iconic sound, marrying orchestral strings with poetic vocals and bluesy guitar. The song builds and builds until most of the backing drops out, and only a solo cello, Garvey and a chorus remain.

The clip has gone viral on social media with millions of views. A political journalist commented, “‘Harmonise!’ And they just do it perfectly. Amazing.”

Some have credited the audience’s innate musicality to our days in primary school, spent singing hymns in assembly.

Read more: 13 primary school hymns that were certified belters

Another commented on the video: “This from Elbow’s concert in Manchester last night proves that school assemblies where kids sing together must never be abandoned.”