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Jimmy Barnes

Hours before Friday’s semi final between Hawthorn and Melbourne, the AFL announced The Black Eyed Peas and Australian rock music legend Jimmy Barnes will entertain footy fans at the MCG, and millions of viewers around the world, in the pre-game show of the AFL Grand Final on September 29. It will be the first time since 2009 that The Black Eyed Peas will perform on Australian soil, but it will also be the band’s first Australian performance since Fergie quit last year.

The Black Eyed Peas, consisting of, and Taboo, has sold 50 million albums worldwide since its first album Behind the Front was released in 1998. The band won six Grammy Awards and also had ten top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including Where is the Love?, Let’s Get It Started, Don’t Phunk with My Heart and I Gotta Feeling. Their latest album Masters of the Sun will be released on October 12. The band said: “Australia! We are honored to be heading to Melbourne to perform at the AFL Grand Final Day. This is the biggest day in Australian sport, so we will be pulling out all the stops for this special performance. See you soon!" 

An Australian icon, Jimmy Barnes has had 15 No.1 albums in Australia, and has been inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame twice - once with rock band Cold Chisel in 1992 and as a solo artist in 2005. His hits include Working Class Man, No Second Prize, Lay Down Your Guns and Chain of Fools. Barnes said: "I'm looking forward to singing at one of the world's greatest sporting events…It's going to be a huge day on the ground at the MCG. It doesn't get bigger than this, 100,000 passionate football fans and rock 'n roll will be a great mix. Bring it on!"

Barnes will be joined on the stage during pre-game entertainment by daughter Mahalia Barnes (who will also perform the Australian national anthem before the first bounce) and brother-in-law and fellow musician Mark Lizotte AKA Diesel. Barnes will also take to the MCG stage for the post-game concert starting at 7pm Melbourne time (5am US EDT), during which the premiership team will also be presented to the crowd. 

Barnes is on a break in the Maldives after injuring his thigh falling off stage last month, requiring him to use a cane and a wheelchair while promoting his documentary Working Class Boy, which will have its Australian TV premiere on Channel Seven on October 1. Directed by Mark Joffe, the documentary was based on Barnes’ bestselling memoir of the same name, and opened in Australian cinemas in late August to critical acclaim and had the biggest opening ever for an Australian documentary, overtaking the opening of Bra Boys in 2007. The film also had the biggest local opening for a documentary since Michael Jackson’s This Is It in 2009. The documentary broke box office records, earning over A$750,000 to date. In book form, Working Class Boy has sold over 250,000 copies since it was released in 2016 and won the Australian Book Industry Award for 2017 Biography of the Year, while the concert tour (a mix of spoken word and music) sold out hundreds of shows across Australia and New Zealand. 

The booking of the Black Eyed Peas continues the AFL’s run of hiring international musical acts for their biggest day, with the Killers performing last year (joined by Richmond premiership player Jack Riewoldt for the rendition of Mr Brightside in the post-game concert); Sting in 2016; Chris Isaak, Ellie Goulding and Bryan Adams in 2015; Tom Jones and Ed Sheeran in 2014; and Meat Loaf in 2011. While The Killers’ performance was widely praised, Meat Loaf's 2011 appearance was ridiculed for his out-of-sorts singing, and in 2015 Ellie Goulding was hounded on Twitter after technical issues meant she couldn't hear her backing band and she was accused of lip syncing.

Sources: AFL media release, Seven Network media release, The Age,,

Article last changed on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 - 2:14 PM EST

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