Amy Shark wins over crowd with INXS surprise
Amy Shark was always going to be up against it.
No one backs the entertainment underdog at any sports grand final.
"After what 2020 has thrown at us all, no rain will dampen my mood or performance today. I'll give this @NRL grand final everything I physically have, rain hail or shine. Let's do this Australia," Shark posted almost six hours before the gig.
The NRL could curb the enthusiasm of the impossible-to-please grand final entertainment contrarians on social media and book one of the top 10 artists on the Triple M playlist.
But border closures ruled any international acts as options and there's no way Midnight Oil or Powderfinger were signing up.
So the NRL cast the six-time ARIA Award winner Shark as the 2020 pre-match headliner. An artist who has big gigs on the board like the AFLW grand final last year, showed support for the sport by performing a free concert for bushfire-affected locals at a Panthers v Eels trial match in Bega and joined the all-star cast at the historic Fire Fight benefit in February at ANZ Stadium.
Within seconds of her opening her 10 minute set with the recent hit Everybody Rise, the social media commentators split into three camps - those who dismissed her songs as not rousing enough to herald a sporting contest, those who requested the Baby Shark song and supporters who cheered her on.
Shark no doubt had that "play your old stuff, not your new stuff" battle with the NRL entertainment organisers but clearly won out, performing the new single she dropped on Friday for her second cut.
The big pop ballad features old mate Travis Barker from pop punk heroes Blink 182, who offered his drum cameo via the big screens.
And again, the criticism hit that the song just wasn't the anthem sports fans associate with ball games.
But the special guests didn't end there. And the next one cut through.
Following on from the heavy covers theme of the AFL grand final in Brisbane on Saturday night, Shark paid tribute to the resilience of players and fans during the dramatically rescheduled 2020 competition with the INXS smash Never Tear Us Apart.
That classic also happens to be the home ground theme song for the Port Adelaide Football Club fans since 2014.
But for the NRL grand final, Shark was joined by one of the song's composers, Andrew Farriss and then another INXS band mate Kirk Pengilly wailing on his sax on the field. The sporting big gigs like the surprise special guest moment and their contributions received big cheers from the sodden audience.
Shark finished off with one of her biggest hits I Said Hi, her kiss-off to critics which was one of the biggest hits of 2018.
Like her music or not, you couldn't deny the beaming grin on her face as she gave it her best in the blustering wind and pesky rain.
Originally published as Amy Shark wins over crowd with INXS surprise