On Saturday night the MCG was the place to be. It was the venue for the day/night Mushroom 25th birthday charity concert, a concert with most of the biggest names in the Australian music industry – Baaaaaarnsey!, Mossey, and umm… Molly, Kelly, Dannii and Kylie. Not to mention an reformation by those members of INXS who are still in the land of the living (with Baaaaarnsey! as frontman). And virtually every song was a hit – what more could you get for $2 per ticket?
By the evening when the headline acts came on, the place was just about packed to capacity. Kylie Minogue did her thing, then Ol’ (yawn) 55, but the singing along started when Paul Kelly launched into Leaps And Bounds, which is about the stadium itself. Most appropriate, I thought. The only people who looked a bit bewildered were the six teenage girls in the next row who apparently required music that had a drum machine beat they could dance to.
Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs got everyone singing, and most people playing the "which hit will they play" game correctly predicted Mark Seymour’s Hunters’ classic "Throw Your Arms Around Me". The rain had held off all day, but it started when Peter Andre came on, and stopped as soon as he finished. Which says to me that God has taste.
At times it seemed like the biggest cheers from the crowd happened when somebody decided to go sprinting on a part of the pitch closed off to the public, and the security blokes would sprint after them and invariably catch them and wrestle them to the ground.
Meanwhile The Choirboys looked like they weren’t expecting their lead singer to launch back into "Run To Paradise" after apparently finishing (I reckon he was enjoying his moment of glory too much). But they managed to play along with him anyway.
The Angels naturally rocked the place, but no "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again", which of course would have generated an audience refrain not broadcastable on commercial television. The MC did a bit of it before they came on though.
Then Baaaaaaarnsey!. Let me tell you, Baaaaaarnsey! screaming "Working Class Man" into his microphone and 75,000 people screaming/singing along with him makes quite a racket. If there was a pitch invasion at that point, nobody would have noticed.
After the finale with INXS I walked back to the station with my sister and a few dozen thousand people, and managed to make it home in time to catch the finale again on the delayed telecast on the telly. What a shame that concerts never sound as impressive on TV as they do in real life.