Which Queensland music artists should perform at Brisbane’s one-off AFL Grand Final at the Gabba on October 24?
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seems to have a clear favourite. “If Bernard [Fanning] is out there listening … I’ll give him a shout-out,” she said during the official announcement.
If Powderfinger cannot be convinced to do one show, how about Kate Miller-Heidke, Troy Cassar-Daley, John Williamson, Sheppard or even Barry Gibb?
Queensland’s Premier and Cabinet department has already approved the AFL premiership trophy making its “relay-baton style” journey through regional Queensland in October where it will visit Aussie Rules clubs around the state.
Then the premiership cup will make its way back to Brisbane for grand final day on October 24.
And on the day, imagine Kate Miller-Heidke performing Zero Gravity – the Australian song she sang at 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest – inside the Gabba.
But first thing’s first.
Could one big name be teased to return to Brisbane from Florida, quarantine rules permitting? Only a few years back, Bee Gee Barry Gibb was to headline the Bluesfest at Byron Bay.
Redcliffe-raised Gibb is still a consummate performer and has wowed crowds at the Glastonbury Festival in 2016 when he performed with his sons Stephen and Ashley.
The superb songwriter and vocalist can lay fame to linking the early-1960s British beat sound of the Beatles and the Hollies with the late-’70’s disco/jive street dance music of Saturday Night Fever, which pushed well into the ’80s.
Gibb subsequently wrote the song Grease for the movie soundtrack – which catapulted John Travolta to huge fame and gave Olivia Newton-John a second lease in her career – and Islands in the Stream, which became a smash hit for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
He recently released In The Now, his first solo album in 35 years, written with his sons Stephen and Ashley, and he appeared on stage with Coldplay in 2016 at the Glastonbury music festival.
And he still performs.
Miller-Heidke was born in Gladstone and, after fronting several Brisbane bands, became part of the Women in Voice collective, where she shared the stage with such performers as Pearly Black, Margret RoadKnight, Jenny Morris and late Divinyls lead singer Chrissy Amphlett.
She was the Queen of the Woodford Folk Festival for several years where she and her band were regular performers.
After what seemed like a decade, she had a breakthrough hit single in 2008 with Caught in the Crowd, where two lonely school kids – opposed by music tastes – became best friends for a short time in their lives.
Since then her career – with songwriting and life partner Keir Nuttall – has blossomed into a mix of stage, pop and theatre.
The image of Kate Miller-Heidke on the oh-so-tall stilts at Eurovision was a sensation in itself.
Of course, Powderfinger might yet be persuaded. They collectively made a decision for no more live shows after their 2010 Sunsets tour closer.
But they got together in May to play a set of favourites to raise money for charities supporting artists during the COVID-9 pandemic.
Their camp was awfully quiet on Thursday. Bassist John Collins didn’t answer his phone, although he is one of the faces of their recent launch of a 20th-anniversary edition of Odyssey Number Five.
And there are others.
John Williamson’s songs are tailor-made for the AFL grand final. He now lives in the Gold Coast Hinterland, where is playing small shows because of COVID-19.
Perhaps Gympie Music Muster favourite Kasey Chambers could help, even though she is from South Australia.
Or country star Troy Cassar-Daley, who has 10 studio albums from which to draw a set of great songs and he wrote Jimmy Barnes’ recent single Shutting Down Our Town.
With only 30,000 people allowed inside the Gabba for the grand final, most of the eyes on the chosen performers will be via television from homes, pubs, clubs and restaurants.
So, exercise your vote and make your vote heard by commenting on the story. Which Queenslander should sing on AFL grand final day?
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times