Barry Manilow latest to move gig from Manchester's Co-op Live - as Liam Gallagher jokes he'll perform in Lidl

Barry Manilow has become the latest singer to book out the AO Arena in Manchester in case the Co-op Live fails to open later this month.

Manilow, 80, is due to perform at the Co-op Live on 19 May but there is uncertainty over whether the concert will be able to go ahead there after Manchester's newest venue delayed its launch yet again on Thursday.

The Co-op Live arena will be the UK's largest indoor arena accommodating 23,500 people at a cost of £365m - but it's yet to officially open its doors, cancelling tours from Peter Kay, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Olivia Rodrigo.

Read more:
What's going on at the Co-op Live arena?

Manilow's husband and longtime manager Garry has since posted on X to reassure fans another venue, the AO, has been booked as part of a contingency plan in case the Co-op was still facing issues in two weeks' time.

Garry said because they had limited capacity to 12,500, there would be "plenty of room for everybody" even if the concert had to be moved to the AO.

But Manilow's husband of 46 years added: "Right now, that's a big IF. And we don't know. We promise that we will let you know as soon as we know IF we have to move the concert from Co-op Live to AO Arena.

"Like you, we would love to have this resolved sooner than later. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding while everyone works together to sort this out."

The announcement comes after Liam Gallagher, who is scheduled to perform his 'Definitely Maybe' album at the Co-op Live in June, joked he would go for a "gig in LIDL" when asked by a fan what would happen if the venue wasn't fixed in time.

Manilow's choice to book the AO in case the gig at Co-op Live couldn't go ahead follows Take That saying they are switching their Manchester shows this month to the AO.

The British pop group wrote on X on Thursday: "Given the ongoing technical issues around the opening of Co-op Live we have taken the difficult decision to move our May shows to the AO Arena.

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we wanted to give our fans as much notice as possible."

All of their Manchester shows this month have been moved and are on the same dates as before, apart from 8 May which has been switched to 9 May.

Two planned shows at the Co-op Live in June were unaffected, the group said.

It comes after the UK's biggest indoor arena was hit by problems before it had even opened - with scheduled gigs, including performances this Friday and Saturday by US singer Rodrigo - cancelled at short notice.

US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was scheduled to perform there on Wednesday, before his gig was cancelled with fans already starting to gather outside, leaving many furious.

The Eagles, Janet Jackson and Eric Clapton are due to perform at the arena, but so far only a test event by Rick Astley has gone ahead.