“I’ll try my best not to gush”. Guy Garvey then gushes into several wonderful things about the Hallé Orchestra. Those inside the Bridgewater Hall start clapping, a few seconds before the crowd sitting on the cobbles of Castlefield Arena follow. Later, as we try to sing along with the Hallé choir for Ground for Divorce, Garvey cuts us off. “Sorry Castlefield, but with the satellite delay it’s just never going to work.” So we sing to ourselves. We’re all here for free, put up by the Manchester International Festival and the council, and the mix of people is remarkable: Hallé aficionados with picnic blankets and wine glasses, students with cold pizza and roll-ups, kids gurning at themselves on the big screen and a fair few suits getting high heels stuck in the cobblestones. We all come together for a Mexican wave before the sun sets. During the interval, American singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop looks very small under the screen she plays on. People stand up to leave, until Guy Garvey wanders onto the stage, then everyone’s on their feet. No idea what song they sang, but the sight of Garvey breathing down her neck as he craned to the microphone put a stop to the stream towards the burger vans. Evening trains slip past over the bridges to our left, silent under the weight of the orchestra. Except for one, whose driver stops on the track so he could watch the big screen set up against the back wall of the YMCA. He and his confused passengers are greeted by 6,000 waving picnickers. Whatever combination of circumstances led to a close up shot of the now-delayed Transpennine Express being cheered by the people in Bridgewater Hall, thank you. It changed the night from a cheap look at a band aimed at the average commuter, to one whose music can actually stop trains. Jaw-dropping though the music and the surroundings were, the two crowds knotted together with artless audience participation. “It’d take too long for all the orchestra, the choir and everybody to leave the stage for a drink and a smoke. So after this one, cheer and clap a bit, and then we’ll come back for an encore of 'that song', you know the one I mean. Only we won’t have left the stage at any point.” Cue stomping and violins. According to another review, the bells of the Manchester cathedral rang out for half an hour at the end of the show. We wondered vaguely about the church on the big screen, but mostly we were too busy gushing.