Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sound Relief

Between torrential downpours, I left the house yesterday morning, bought a poncho and made my way to the MCG for one of the biggest music events in Australian history. The event, Sound Relief, promised some of the biggest Aussie and International music acts, all donating their time to raise funds for one of the worst natural disasters in Australian history - the Black Saturday bushfires last month.

I arrived to a rain soaked ground, sprinkled with yellow, blue and green poncho-clad music lovers, in time for Molly Meldrum to introduce the first act of the day, Melbourne's Jet. Are You Gonna Be My Girl as their second track had the drenched crowd dancing, setting the scene for the day, and ending their set with Cold Hard Bitch, the opening line apting letting us know that they 'Gotta leave town, got another appointment', being the Sydney gig later in the day.

Nicole and I located each other in the crowd of non-descript rain attire, within the front arena, and saw Dandenong's Gabriella Cilmi do her set. Following this, the big screens crossed to the event being held simultaneously at the sun-drenched SGC, for Coldplay's set.

Mesmerised by the energetic Chris Martin doing Yellow, with yellow streamer filled balloons bouncing over the crowd, then an awesome Clocks, and recent hit Viva La Vida. They were amazing, and I thought at that point, would be hard to top!

Band of the moment, Kings Of Leon then appeared for us back in Melbourne, as the skies opened up again with pelting rain. Playing Closer, and ending their 4 song set with an engaging Use Somebody, the disappointment was felt through the packed front area as the lads left the stage without playing their biggest hit. A mark of respect for the real reason we were all there.

A cross to Sydney for the Hoodoo Gurus set, before Paul Kelly stood solo on stage, to lead the crowd in a sing-a-long to Leaps and Bounds and To Her Door. Little Birdy was them beamed into the MCG from Sydney, including their cover of Six Months In a Leaky Boat, as the stage was prepared for Augie March.

Like at Laneway, Augie didn't wow until One Crowded Hour, which had the crowd singing along whilst hurriedly putting ponchos back on, as dark clouds took over the sky once again. The irony of a rainy benefit rasing money for fire ravaged Victoria was not lost on all those soaked through!

As big fat raindrops started, Nicole and I decided to head under the stand for a food, drink and bathroom break - but stopped for a dance to Architecture In Helsinki from the Sydney gig. Shame they weren't in Melbourne, cos they had the rain soaked ponchos dancing the storm away with Do The Whirlwind and Hold Music - they sounded awesome.

Coming back to the front stage area in the rain, we caught Paris Wells with Bliss N Eso, before the crowd changed over for Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, who did a very similar set to when we saw them at Homebake. Clearly overwhelmed by performing to such a massive crowd, cute little Kasey did The Captain solo.

Much rumour surrounding the next set, which proved to be spot on, Liam Finn confused the crowd with a couple of crazy numbers, with EJ Barnes on supporting vocals, before inviting Uncle Tim and N-Dog (Neil Finn) on stage, with Nick Seymour, for some Crowded House magic. With Weather With You, Don't Dream It's Over and Better Be Home Soon, the crowd loved them, sparking the most excited participation to date from the un-fazed water-logged fans.

Jack Johnson was next, for a chilled, mellow set, which drew another surge of crowd numbers around us. In contract, the new line-up of Wolfmother come out to rock the 'G.

The Melbourne arena was then treated to the performance earlier in the day in Sydney, with Coldplay playing backing band for John Farnham and Your The Voice. Amazingly, he hasn't lost any part of his voice, sounding just as he did in his prime, nor has he lost his fan base, with both crowds joining him in this Aussie anthem.

Toni Collette on the Sydney stage started the proceedings of the 'Special Announcement', leading to a video message from Princes William and Harry. A minute silence followed for those lives lost in the fires, and then Kylie was standing on our stage. She asked that in the absence of a band, the crowd help her with a rendition of I Still Call Australia Home.

And then followed three of the biggest Aussie rock bands, reforming for this event. Hunters and Collectors were first, belting out classics like When The River Runs Dry, Do You See What I See, and iconic Holy Grail and Throw Your Arms Around Me. Awesome, big full on rock, the stadium-full crowd had errupted.

Split Enz were next, with their own set backdrop and split matching suits. History Never Repeats, Six Months In a Leaky Boat for the second time that day, Poor Boy, haunting us this week, and I See Red, all had Tim Finn dancing around on stage. Neil looked happy with the band's effect on the much obliging crowd.

To top off the night, Midnight Oil exceeded all expectations, with our Minister for Environment, Peter Garrett taking back his rock persona with ease. Having stood all day, and with weary peg, I actually sat in the stand for this last set, and whilst I wasn't part of the thronging, jumping front lawn section, the MCG raised itself for this set. Read About It, Blue Sky Mine, Beds Are Burning, and Power and Passion were just sensational, and beyond desciption!

An amazing celebration of Australian music, on such a monumental scale, and as organiser Michael Gudinski told the crowd in closing, something that each of the 80,000 will alway remember being a part of.


  1. Kings of Leon didn't play Closer, they played Crawl

  2. Great review! Linking it to the one I did on our band site as for such a great event, there are very few reviews across the web!
    Captain from CDU


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