Queen reprise 22-minute Live Aid set at Fire Fight Australia concert

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EPA

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Brian May of Queen performs to thousands at the Fire Fight Australia concert in Sydney

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US singer Adam Lambert has joined Queen to reprise the band’s legendary 1985 Live Aid set for 75,000 people at a huge benefit concert in Sydney.

The 22-minute set was part of a 10-hour fundraising event organised to raise A$10m (£5.15m; $6.71m) for communities devastated by bushfires.

“As Aussies we bear together… because it turns out the people at the top don’t,” the host Celeste Barber said.

Recent fires have killed at least 33 people, destroying thousands of homes.

In New South Wales, the worst-hit state, heavy rains have brought blazes under control. But in the last few months more than 11 million hectares of land – an area comparable to the size of England – has been affected across all of Australia’s states and territories.

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Olivia Newton-John, 71, performed with Australian singer Mitch Tambo

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Olivia Newton-John, 71, performed with Australian singer Mitch Tambo

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On Sunday, Olivia Newton-John and Alice Cooper joined local stars 5 Seconds of Summer, Tina Arena and Delta Goodrem for the Fire Fight Australia gig.

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Queen and Adam Lambert perform at the Fire Fight Australia, a concert for National Bushfire Relief in Sydney, 16 February 2020

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Adam Lambert took the place of the late Freddie Mercury for the 22-minute set

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Joining Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage, Lambert filled in for the late Freddie Mercury as the band performed hits such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.

Lambert, a former American Idol contestant who has previously toured with Queen, said it was a “real honour” to perform the band’s full Live Aid set for the victims of Australia’s bushfires.

The set at the 1985 fundraising concert at London’s Wembley Stadium for famine relief is seen as one of the greatest performances by any rock band. It was recreated for the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody.

Australian singer Guy Sebastian performs during the Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert

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Australian singer Guy Sebastian was one of dozens of performers supporting the fundraiser

Australia has always had a fire season, with naturally occurring blazes sparked during the dry summer, but this year’s has been unprecedented in the scale and intensity of the fires.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has come in for harsh criticism for its response to the disaster.

Australian singer Delta Goodrem performs

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Australian singer Delta Goodrem took to the stage with the Australian National Flag

Host Celeste Barber

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Actor Celeste Barber kicked off a Facebook fundraising campaign in January that has netted more than A$50m

Profits from the event will be passed on to rural fire services, communities affected by bushfires and animal welfare groups.

People attend the Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert

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Among those attending was Dalene George, a teacher from Bateman’s Bay, who told Reuters news agency: “[I want to be] part of the people who helped to try and bring things back together and bring smiles. Yeah be part of that healing stuff that happens with community.”

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Media captionClimbing trees to save Kangaroo Island’s koalas

Another concert-goer, bank worker Karen Adams, said: “We’re in Sydney so we couldn’t even get down there to help, which was heartbreaking. And I work in a bank and so many families have lost everything so we’re here to support them all.”

Crowds at the concert

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