We all have a friend like Melbourne.
When everyone has left the party, Melbourne is the one who loiters by the stereo. It turns up the music and continues dancing. The following day, it’s looking for the next event.
Ed Sheeran lit up the stage in front of a 107,000-strong crowd on Thursday night.Credit:Rick Clifford
Last night, 107,000 people turned up to the MCG to be entertained by singer-songwriter, St Kilda fan and honorary Melburnian Ed Sheeran for what he told the crowd was his largest-ever gig.
Our reviewer, Vyshnavee Wijekumar, gave the show five stars.
“Flames and fireworks added to the spectacle as light-up firecracker-style bolts and giant screens shaped like guitar picks surrounded the extended open stage, displaying the singer’s face to the crowds in the nosebleed section,” she wrote of the spectacular installation in the centre of the ’G.
The English singer’s connection with Melbourne no doubt helped bump up the size of the crowd. His gig included tributes to his friends, music promoter Michael Gudinski and leg-spin legend Shane Warne.
Thursday’s performance broke the record for the most tickets sold to a music concert in Australia. And tonight, an even bigger crowd is expected for his next gig. (Preacher Billy Graham’s 1959 event still holds the MCG record.)
Across the train tracks, something perhaps not as well known for its connection with our city will also be on show.
Rugby union’s “super round” will kick off at AAMI Park. Over three days, all 12 Super Rugby Pacific teams will play in Melbourne. The opening night features Melbourne’s own Rebels and defending champions the Crusaders.
It won’t pull a crowd of Ed Sheeran proportions, it pains me to admit, but over the course of three days and a dozen matches it will bring in sizeable crowds. Many of them will no doubt come from interstate and across the ocean, filling up our hotels, restaurants and bars.
Harry Styles wowed screaming fans, who lined up for hours ahead of his Marvel Stadium shows.Credit:Lloyd Wakefield
Meanwhile, huge crowds are flocking to Avalon Airport this week for the Australian International Airshow, which returns after a four-year hiatus and has sold out tomorrow. Organisers say it will be the biggest show in the event’s 30-year history, providing a massive boost to Geelong’s economy, with about 200,000 people expected through the gates.
These events follow stadium concerts by pop megastar Harry Styles and the inimitable Red Hot Chili Peppers (another Melbourne connection: their bassist Flea was born here and lived in Mount Waverley as a child).
These concerts followed the 2023 Australian Open. What a great couple of weeks that was.
The best part of a million people went through the gates at Melbourne Park, setting a new record and cementing the AO’s status as the best-attended of all the grand slams, by some margin.
And there’s more to come.
There are some spectacular shows running at our theatres. I can heartily recommend Mary Poppins at Her Majesty’s theatre. It is funny, moving and engaging. &Juliet, which blends pop and Shakespeare, has started its run at the Regent. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which requires no introduction, continues at the Princess Theatre.
Can you detect the faint odour of sweat, beer and chips? Yep, footy season is approaching too. And as we reported last night, it looks like Victorians will be pouring in to watch AFL matches in their masses. Ticket sales for round one are 244 per cent higher than they were before the 2019 season, which set new attendance records. The round one match between Richmond and Carlton is expected to sell out in the coming days and if you hoped to see Essendon and Collingwood on Anzac Day, you’re already too late.
While amazing, none of this should be surprising. Melburnians love a party. Their willingness to turn up and have fun is, in my view, the best thing about this city.
Ticket sales are up for the AFL with the new season fast approaching.Credit:Eddie Jim
The city’s continued appetite for showing up and supporting these big events provides us with valuable shared experiences that help us bond as a community. It also sends a signal to the world that this is the place you should bring your show/sports team/music.
Here at The Age, we are on a mission to celebrate this city’s strengths, of which there are many.
We talk a lot about the imperfections and sometimes awful things that happen in Victoria as we fulfil our duty to expose injustices and try to shine light in dark places.
We will never stop doing that, but occasionally we should bask in the light. There’s plenty of it in our city. Keep partying, Melbourne. Keep dancing and don’t turn down the volume.
Patrick Elligett sends an exclusive newsletter to subscribers each week. Sign up to receive his Note from the Editor.
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