What a day! What an event! What a musical feast! Australia has never witnessed anything like it and probably never will again.
The twin Sound Relief charity concerts in Melbourne and Sydney managed to surpass all the hype and anticipation to deliver a day and evening overflowing with unforgettable moments.
Among the countless highlights was an unannounced and unprecedented surprise appearance, direct from London, of HRH Princes William and Harry, expressing how they were personally moved by the devastation of the Victorian bushfires. It was a truly historic moment, the first time the two Princes have ever directly addressed the Australian public.
Musically, the magic moments started coming almost as soon the gates opened and fans started simultaneously flooding into the MCG and SCG.
Over 120,000 music fans of all ages attended the concerts across the two cities. The 80,000-plus crowd at the MCG is officially the biggest paying audience ever at any Australian concert or charity event. Millions more across Australia watched the live television broadcasts or listened to the live telecasts on radio and through the internet.
Organisers expect Sound Relief to raise over $5 million for the victims of the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods.
In Sydney, the day started with a bang when British group Coldplay, arguably the biggest band in the world today, opened the show with a dynamic set that included a guest appearance from John Farnham, performing his classic hit You’re The Voice.
Other international superstars featured throughout the day across the two cities included chart-toppers Kings of Leon, Taylor Swift and Jack Johnson.
The Melbourne show opened with local rockers Jet, who along with Sydney’s Wolfmother performed at both concerts in the two cities.
Several classic Australian bands reformed especially for the occasion and delivered unforgettable performances, including Icehouse, Hunters & Collectors, Split Enz and Midnight Oil, the latter featuring Federal Minister Peter Garrett revisiting his former life as a rock star for one night only.
Possibly the most poignant moment of the day, was when actress Toni Collette united both cities in a minute’s silence to remember those that did not survive Black Saturday, immediately following the Princes’ historic address. And then Kylie Minogue, on stage in her hometown of Melbourne, performed as no one has ever seen her perform before – stripped bare, a capella, singing a haunting rendition of Peter Allen’s classic I Still Call Australia Home.
As Midnight Oil closed the show in Melbourne, the legendary Barry Gibb was on stage in Sydney, delivering an endless string of Bee Gees’s classics, helped along by his mate, Olivia Newton-John.
Sound Relief – a day full of surprises and full of emotion. It was a day for the ages, an event like no other that will live in the hearts of many Australians for generations to come.