Coldplay are Aussies for a day at Sound Relief
March 15, 2009 12:00am
IT was the perfect start to Sound Relief: Coldplay, the world's biggest band, performing the iconic song You're The Voice alongside veteran rocker John Farnham.
The unusual musical pairing was a hit with the energetic crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground - and went a long way to ensuring that yesterday was a music event to remember.
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Farnham, 58, came out of retirement for the one-off performance with Coldplay's effortlessly charismatic lead singer Chris Martin saying he felt like an "honorary Australian".
"When you come to Australia and you've only really got two hit singles, which we've already played before, you think to yourself, how am I going to impress everyone from row one to row 5000?," Martin said. "Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to sing the Australian national anthem - John Farnham."
Coldplay was given the task of opening Sound Relief in Sydney, while a simultaneous concert was held in Melbourne.
And the band didn't disappoint.
The UK band began their set of seven songs with their hit, Yellow, as dozens of massive yellow balloons were thrown around in the crowd. They also performed Lost, Viva La Vida and Clocks.
"We are proud to be starting this whole day off," Martin said to rapturous applause and cheers from the stadium crowd.
"For all us foreign guests today, it is the only day we can claim to be honorary Australians . . . thanks for letting us be part of this very special day."
Farnham joined Coldplay onstage for the band's sixth song, confirming one of the event's worst kept secrets.
During Coldplay's final song, Martin leapt off the stage and ran through the crowd, making it half the length of the SCG.
During his dash, he embraced and high-fived fans before taking refuge on one side of the stadium.
Martin then managed to make his way back to the stage and sing the remainder of the song Fix You.
Up to 45,000 people crammed into the Sydney Cricket Ground to see the 14 live acts, including Taylor Swift, The Presets and Josh Pyke.
In Melbourne, Jet kicked off proceedings, followed by Gabriella Cilmi, Kings of Leon, Augie March, Jack Johnson, Kasey Chambers, Paul Kelly, Split Enz and Midnight Oil.
Cilmi, who made a flying trip to Australia from the UK where she is recording her second album, said she had friends who had been affected by the recent bushfires.
"It's pretty close to home," she told a press conference. "I know people that have been affected, people that have had to evacuate their houses."
Pouring rain and chilly temperatures in the Victorian capital failed to dampen the festive mood, with as many as 80,000 packing into the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Many also donned green and yellow plastic raincoats in a show of patriotism.
Playing both Sydney and Melbourne shows were the rock bands Jet and Wolfmother.
Organisers at Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring expected the combined events to raise more than $5 million for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Queensland flood victims.
Wolfmother lead singer Andrew Stockdale said Sound Relief was one of the most significant events in Australian music history.
"It's an enormous historic moment," he said.
"It's the biggest event in Australian history that just shows what this country does - it gets behind people when they are down and out."
Presenters introducing the big name acts at the SCG included radio and television personalities Ian Dickson, Kate Ritchie and Tim Ross, actors Jack Thompson and David Wenham and cricketer Shane Warne.
"I've played the cricket ground many times, but I've never seen it as packed as this," Warne said.
"To all of you who came out here today, thank you very much, it's a great cause."
The bumper entertainment line-up ended with a comeback performance by the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb and Olivia Newton John, performing Islands In The Stream.
A minute's silence was also held at 7.45pm to honour the 210 lives that were lost during Australia's worst natural disaster.