Tributes to Shane Warne and John Farnham, bagpipes and sparkly disco balls have featured in a jam-packed pre-match musical performance by UK singer Robbie Williams.
Williams was joined by Delta Goodrem in front of tens of thousands of fans readying for the 2022 AFL grand final between Geelong and Sydney — the first grand final at the MCG in three years.
Williams was locked in as the headline performer back in July, saying at the time he was “so excited” to be performing at the ‘G.
He and the AFL had teased a star-studded line-up for the rest of the final’s entertainment, which in the weeks leading up to the game led to rumours he might be joined by Kylie Minogue. It was confirmed on Thursday he would be joined on stage by another homegrown pop star in Goodrem.
After a Welcome to Country by Uncle Colin Hunter Jr, the day’s first musical act was, of course, Mike Brady performing Up There Cazaly. It wouldn’t be a grand final at the ‘G without him.
Dressed in hot pink, Williams started his set atop a gold podium which descended down to ground level.
As he performed hit Let Me Entertain You, surrounded by gold-clad dancers, he made his way to the stage in the middle of the ‘G.
Despite a few minor technical hiccups – some backup singers’ microphones were off for a call-and-response introduction to Rock DJ — Williams and his spandex-covered dancers commanded the crowd.
Ahead of new album track Lost (XXV), Williams told the crowd they would get through the “obligatory new song” together.
After a rousing rendition of Feel, he dedicated next song Angels to cricketer Shane Warne, who died unexpectedly this year.
“Love you Warney,” Williams said of his friend, who he called “one of Australia’s greatest rockstars”.
It was the second time this year a rendition of the song rung out across the ‘G, with Williams dedicating a video performance of the song to Warne during his state funeral.
In another nod to Australiana, he then covered John Farnham’s You’re the Voice, which he called the unofficial national anthem of Australia.
A bagpipe band joined the chorus as archive images of Farnsy flooded the screen.
Williams welcomed Delta Goodrem on stage for a rendition of the 2000 hit Kids — a duet he originally performed with Minogue.
In a shiny hot pink jumpsuit even more eye-catching than Williams’s own getup, Goodrem held her own during the song that finally quashed the Kylie rumours.
G Flip, Goanna and Temper Trap take to stage at half time
With Geelong up by 36 points at half time, Cats supporters could sit back to enjoy a roll-call of Australian artists performing a medley of hits from decades past.
The Temper Trap performed their iconic 2009 track Sweet Disposition, adding a 2022 twist by featuring young artists Budjerah and Ngaiire.
Entertainer G Flip continued the throwback with a high-energy cover of Jet’s 2003 song Are You Gonna Be My Girl, singing while playing the drums in signature style.
Rockers Goanna began their 1982 classic Solid Rock with a didgeridoo deftly played by Kalkadunga man William Barton.
Frontman Shane Howard was joined by First Nations artists Christine Anu, Emma Donovan and Tasman Keith for the song, its message about land rights still resonating decades on.
The biggest game of the year has been marred by a review by the Hawthorn Football Club which unearthed accusations that key figures at the club intimidated and separated young First Nations players from their families.
The AFL has committed to an external investigation into the allegations.