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These 4 Electrifying Concerts Are the Greatest Music Events Ever Held at MCG

Photo by Alexander Sheko

Australia is packed with great sports venues. Our national love of football, cricket, and various codes of rugby ensures there’s no shortage of mammoth stadiums that double as sanctuaries for the matchday faithful. Yet, one Victorian stadium stands out.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG, is internationally renowned for hosting sporting events such as the Boxing Day Test cricket series, the favourite teams of the AFL squaring off in the Grand Final, and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. But, did you know that 80,000 screaming fans occasionally pack the stadium and turn the pitch into a pulsating rock club?

Here’s a look back at the four most memorable MCG concerts.

Guns n’ Roses (2017)

American rock icons Guns n’ Roses took to the MCG stage on 14 February 2017. The blistering 24-song affair marked the first time the reunited lineup of Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan had performed in Australia since the 1993 Use Your Illusion tour.

73,756 fans rocked hard as Guns played stadium-sized hits like “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Paradise City,” and “November Rain”. Countryman guitarist Angus Young joined the band for a pair of AC/DC covers in “Riff Raff” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. The evening was a pure spectacle of rock royalty that left attendees hoping its not another 24 years before GnR again land Down Under.

Madonna (1993)

When you’re arguably the biggest star in showbiz, a one night stand just isn’t enough. Case in point is the 150,000 voguers, who packed MCG over three dates in November 1993 to watch Madonna’s The Girlie Show World Tour. The then 35-year-old Material Girl was at the height of her world domination and brought a 17-song hit parade to Melbourne.

The perfectly choreographed show was equal parts music concert and theatre performance, as Madonna guided the crowd through sing-alongs on “Express Yourself”, “Like a Virgin”, “Holiday”, and of course, “Vogue”.

The MCG shows were sandwiched between stops in Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide, bringing The Girlie Show’s total Aussie attendance to more than 365,000.

Photo by EJ Hersom

Eminem (2019)

The record for the most attended single concert at MCG belongs to none other than Slim Shady. The Detroit rapper packed the house with 80,708 fans for a stop on his Rapture tour on 24 February 2019. Yes, hip-hop is very much alive and well Down Under.

Em’s 32-song set was a compelling mix of hits, hidden gems, and imaginative covers, spanning the length of his storied career. Fans were treated to the usual suspects in “Lose Yourself” and the Shady alter ego trilogy “My Name is”, “The Real Slim Shady”, and “Without Me”. In between, Em put his own clever spin on Nicki Minaj’s “Majesty” and “Forever” by Drake.

Sound Relief (2009)

When the Sound Relief concert invaded MCG on 14 March 2009, a who’s who of Aussie and international rockers assembled to raise money for victims of that year’s bushfires in Victoria. Kylie Minogue, Kings of Leon, Jack Johnson, Jet, and Wolfmother were among the bands on hand to entertain the 80,518-strong crowd. A reunited Midnight Oil featuring Peter Garrett, then Australia’s Minister for Environment and the Arts, closed out the evening.

A sister concert was simultaneously held in Sydney, making Sound Relief a continental affair. The events raised over $8 million to benefit Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal and other charities involved in the wildfires.

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