Sound Relief concerts raise $3.3 mil

More than 30 acts perform at shows in torrential rain

BRISBANE, Australia -- The historic twin Australian Sound Relief concerts at the weekend were a mighty success, organizers and onlookers have declared.

The bushfire benefit event, held simultaneously at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday, sold upwards of 120,000 tickets and raised more than $5 million Australian ($3.3 million) for the cause.

More than 30 acts performed on the day, including international acts Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Taylor Swift, and various reunited Australasian superstars from years past, such as Midnight Oil, Icehouse, Hunters and Collectors and Split Enz.

Although both concerts were drenched by torrential rain, the action on both stages was more than enough to keep spirits high. In the aftermath of the Sydney concert, the Australian industry is still raving about the Presets' extraordinary nighttime performance in a lightning storm, and Coldplay's exhilarating curtain raiser just after midday.

"Lightening was god's way of saying the Presets rocked it," said Colin Daniels, managing director of indie Inertia Music. The sentiment was echoed by Universal Music Australia managing director George Ash, who declared the electronic duo's performance as "massive, bloody massive."

Warner Music Australia director of promotions and publicity Ben Facey was blown away by Coldplay, whose duet with John Farnham on the Aussie singer's mid-'80s hit "You're the Voice" was one of the day's goosebump moments. "Farnham didn't really need a mic as his lungs were so good," Facey recalled.

Sony Music Australia chairman/CEO Denis Handlin was thrilled by the sight of the SCG's final act Barry Gibb, who unleashed a string of classic Bee Gees hits including "Jive Talkin' " and "You Should Be Dancing," and paired with Aussie pop icon Olivia Newton-John for a handful of numbers including "Islands in the Stream."

The MCG show sold more than 80,000 tickets and is now regarded as the biggest ticketed music concert in this country's history. Midnight Oil's final act grabbed all the headlines on Sunday.

"Sound Relief was an absolute landmark event for the Oils and for me," said the rock band's frontman Peter Garrett, who is a cabinet minister by day. "To be part of a collective effort supporting people in the best way we can at the 'G with the biggest live audience in Australia's history was very special."

All profits from the MCG event will be donated to help rebuild communities shattered by bush fires in the state of Victoria. Money raised from the Sydney concert will be split 50/50 between the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal and the Premier's Disaster relief Fund Appeal in support of victims of the floods in the state of Queensland.