Bands bash out songs for Australia’s bushfire victims

March 15th, 2009 - 5:48 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 15 (DPA) Kylie Minogue, Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Olivia Newton-John took to the stage in simultaneous charity concerts in Sydney and Melbourne for those who five weeks ago lost loved ones and homes in forest fires.
The sold-out Sound Relief concerts Saturday drew a combined crowd of 150,000 and raised millions of dollars for those whose lives were wrecked in the Feb 7 fires.

“For those survivors who have lost someone they love, we can only imagine what they are going through,” Britain’s Prince William told the crowd in his first ever broadcast to Australia.

Ironically, the concert was held on the wettest day in Melbourne this year. There were also thunderstorms in Sydney that forced delays in the procession of performers and sent some in the crowd scurrying home.

The charity concerts, Australia’s biggest ever musical event, prompted the reformation of three of the country’s most successful bands of the 1970s.

Midnight Oil, Split Enz, and Hunters and Collectors were among a who’s who of Australian talent on stage to raise money for those caught up in a natural disaster that cost at least 210 lives and left 10,000 homeless.

International band-of-the-moment Kings of Leon opened the Melbourne proceedings but opted not to have their smash hit “Sex on Fire” on the playlist.

Peter Garrett, the singer-songwriter with Midnight Oil who is now Australia’s environment minister, promised that his cabinet responsibilities would not deter him from belting out “Beds are Burning” and the band’s other anti-establishment protest songs.

“I think that you can look at lyrics out of any songs, and clearly there are going to be lines there that pertain to any human situation,” Garrett said before going onstage before a big audience for the first time since becoming a minister. “But the songs stand in their own right and in their own time.”

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