Fans have slammed the AFL after they followed through with their plan to have pre-game entertainment at the annual Anzac Day game between Collingwood and Essendon.
Many railed against the decision when announced by the AFL last week, and even more were upset when Aussie band Birds of Tokyo played at the MCG on Thursday.
— Maggie Triantafillou – Μαγδαληνή Τριανταφύλλου (@m_triantafillou) April 25, 2019
Birds of Tokyo were the innocent bystanders in the drama, but many social media users didn’t feel it was appropriate to have entertainment on such a solemn day.
Many labelled the move ‘disrespectful’ and ‘inappropriate’.
This choice is not only in bad taste, it is downright disrespectful to all the men and women who fought and sacrificed their lives for this country. Apparently the CEO of the AFL is not a true Australian, but this does not excuse him from insulting those of us who are.
— Colin (@MicrophoneJock) April 25, 2019
The @AFL has got so much right with Anzac Day over the years. Booking Birds of Tokyo to perform is unfortunately not among them. Just feels completely at odds with the occasion. #AnzacDay #AFLBombersPies
— Sean Cadd (@sean_cadd) April 25, 2019
— Chimmichungas (@Hynessiiee52) April 25, 2019
I don’t understand why Birds of Tokyo is singing at the Anzac AFL game. It’s just stupid. Why don’t they have someone sing a song that’s relevant or read a poem and then have everyone in the stadium go to a minute of silence. That would be suitable and respectable not this!
— Rosina 💐📚 (@ofpaperbacks) April 25, 2019
@AFL Birds of Tokyo, rock and roll lighting and smoke machines. Unbelievably tone deaf on a day that is about solemn reflection and the acknowledgment of the ANZAC tradition.
— Josh McGuffie (@McGuffieJosh) April 25, 2019
I like Birds of Tokyo. But not here. Not now. Terrible decision. #AFLDonsPies
— Amanda (@Lawfy5) April 25, 2019
Soz but not an appropriate scheduling of Birds of Tokyo…it’s a day of solemn respect for the fallen, not the bloody Grand Final. Learn some decency Gil @afl 🙄🙄
— Shell (@shelibeans) April 25, 2019
@AFL #AFLDonsPies Nothing against Birds of Tokyo but why not an armed services band? Save your tax free money and donate it to support serving and ex serving members and families. They need it more! #ANZACDay
— 💧Boutros (@CarringBush2010) April 25, 2019
Great point. I think the afl stuffed up putting birds of Tokyo on a day like this 😐
— Charlie Roberts (@chazaroberts) April 25, 2019
Prior to performing, the band opened up about what playing on Anzac Day meant to them.
“It means a great deal and we’re honoured to be here,” lead-singer Ian Kenny said.
“We’re definitely aware of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made from previous generations,” drummer Weston added.
— 7AFL (@7AFL) April 25, 2019
‘Recognising those who have served’
Weston, who is also a member of the Collingwood football club, previously said the band’s experience playing at the Invictus Games last year motivated them to accept the AFL’s offer.
“Being involved in the Invictus Games last year really reminded us of the importance of remembering fallen soldiers and recognising those who have served,” he told AFL.com.au.
“Australia’s biggest sporting stage will no doubt be at capacity to respect our returned and current serving defence personnel and we are pleased to be part of it.
“As a Collingwood member, the annual Anzac Day match at the MCG is always nothing short of breathtaking and I’m sure it will be an experience to remember for the whole band.”