A suite of Australian artists appeared at the AFL Grand Final yesterday (September 25), performing a 25-minute pre-game showcase featuring the likes of Baker Boy, Stella Donnelly, John Butler and Eskimo Joe.
This year’s Grand Final took place at Perth Stadium, relocated from its usual home of the Melbourne Cricket Ground due to Victoria’s recent outbreak of COVID-19. It marks the second year since 1991 that the game had been moved, with last year’s event taking place in Brisbane.
Following a Welcome To Country ceremony led by Dr. Richard Walley, the entertainment kicked off with Mike Brady’s AFL anthem ‘Up There Cazaly’, performed virtually from Melbourne. The first song played in the stadium itself was a cover of AC/DC’s 1990 hit ‘Thunderstruck’, led by Bunbury singer-songwriter Abbe May.
Take a look at the full presentation below:
Baker Boy kept spirits high with his performance of his breakout single ‘Meditjin’, which was interpolated with Kylie Minogue’s pop classic ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. The short set featured a dance routine with a troupe clad in pastel tracksuits, while Baker Boy himself delivered a show-stopping didgeridoo solo.
Appearing with his acoustic guitar in hand, John Butler performed his 1998 single ‘Ocean’, before being joined by Stella Donnelly, Vikki Thorn, Donna Simpson, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse for a cover of Icehouse’s iconic ‘Great Southern Land’.
The energy peaked with Eskimo Joe breaking out their 2006 hit ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’, as well as a lively rendition of INXS’ ‘Kick’ complete with a roaring saxophone solo.
Headlining the festivities was Men At Work frontman Colin Hay, appearing via video link to perform the legendary Melbourne band’s 1980 classic ‘Down Under’. Hay performed the bulk of the track acoustically from a Californian beach, with all previous performers joining to deliver vocal harmonies in the song’s back end.
Birds Of Tokyo led the Grand Final’s halftime entertainment, sandwiching a cover of Silverchair’s 2007 track ‘Straight Lines’ between their own singles ‘Lanterns’ and ‘Unbreakable’. Take a look at the local outfit’s full set below:
Upon being announced as one of the Grand Final’s pre-game performers, Baker Boy told Channel 7: “I love footy, grew up playing footy and I always said that if I wasn’t being Baker Boy that I would have followed the AFL path. It feels really special to get to bring my two loves together.”
Stella Donnelly also expressed her excitement about performing at the event, sharing a photo of herself as a baby in a knitted football jersey to Instagram.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” she wrote. “I wish my Nan who knitted this incredible suit was still here to see me take part in this year’s AFL grand final entertainment alongside some incredible artists!”
Melbourne took home the championship at this year’s AFL Grand Final, beating the Western Bulldogs by 74 points. It ended a 57-year drought for the team, who last won a premiership title in 1964.