U2’s Bono and the Edge teamed with Pearl Jam to join Aussie acts Jet, Paul Kelly, Eskimo Joe, Evermore and the John Butler Trio at a Make Poverty History concert in Melbourne tonight (Nov. 17). The event drew 14,000 to the Myer Music Bowl, and was broadcast to thousands more on giant screens through Melbourne, Brisbane and two major Victorian regional towns Geelong and Bendigo.
The concert was held on the eve of the two-day G20 summit. Political leaders and finance officials from 19 countries, the European Bank, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meet at the Hyatt Hotel to discuss global and domestic issues.
“Politicians all have to do what you tell them to do: scream it from the mountains,” Bono called out, before he and Edge joined Pearl Jam for a thunderous cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” which featured new lyrics written for the occasion.
Bono had been pushing for discussions with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who declined. The U2 singer later criticized the Prime Minister on national state-owned channel ABC’s current affairs program “Lateline,” saying he needed to display leadership on the poverty issue.
“What kind of Australia do you want to live in? You’ve got this incredible prosperity, I have been coming here for 20 years and I am in awe of what you have done,” he said. “[The PM] has also led your country to the bottom of the league table in terms of engagement with the world’s poor and I don’t think that’s an Australia people want to live in.” Vedder lambasted Howard four days earlier during a Pearl Jam gig in Melbourne.
Police have barricaded most streets in Melbourne, expecting violent protests and demonstrations.