Perhaps the most iconic duo to ever grace the stage together in Australia is Dutch classical music heartthrob André Rieu and professional shit talker Alan Jones. During Rieu’s 2009 tour of Australia, Jones joined the violinist for a performance of ‘I Am Australian’ which we’ve never fully recovered from as a nation.

That’s right, Alan fucking Jones – a man who was literally convicted of inciting racial vilification against Muslims during the Cronulla Riots – got on stage in front of a crowd of white boomers to sing a song about diversity and multiculturalism. Perhaps he was only interested in the title of the song.

That’s not to say the performance was bad, at least from a musical perspective. Jones is known to have a decent set of pipes, and even performed in the 2012 production of Annie (which was equally cursed).

Anyway, back to the André Rieu gig.

“I came from the Dreamtime, from the dusty red-soil plains. I am the ancient heart; the keeper of the flame. I stood upon the rocky shores, I watched the tall ships come. For forty thousand years I’ve been… the first Australian,” Jones sang.

Seven years later Jones would go on to say that “we need stolen generations” on his talkback radio show. The man’s a class act.

Jones’ booming voice continued to labour over each and every line of the song with solemn enunciation.

The crowd was enthralled. People were singing along, waving their hands in the air, and grinning for what looked like the first time in decades.

Alan Jones and Andre Rieu
“We are oneeeee…”

It’s not fair to shit on people having fun. But one can’t help but wonder whether the audience smiled and sang along because they identified with the various symbolisms of Alan Jones (who tells it like it is!), André Rieu (a fine European man of Culture™) and ‘I Am Australian’ (palatable patriotism), rather than because they particularly enjoyed the music.

Perhaps the most telling sign of this is the fact that a bunch of people felt the need to wave Australian flags during the performance, not necessarily in time to the song, but in a more universal way which is perhaps reflective of some kind of obnoxious feeling of entitlement towards this country.

One guy even unfurled his flag upside down, too caught up in the nationalistic fervor to realise that such an inverted flag is an informal distress signal.

Alan Jones and Andre Rieu
“…but were are manyyyy!”

Apparently content with appropriating Indigenous connections to country, Jones skipped all the other verses about the convicts and stuff. It wasn’t a huge loss tbh.

In addition to Jones, another high-profile appearance was made at the gig by Australia’s most transphobic drag queen “character”Dame Edna Everage. Cancelled!

We as a nation will never live this unholy crossover down. The Venn diagram of Alan Jones listeners and André Rieu stans is a circle, and that’s all you need to know about Aussie society.

Image: Getty Images / Sergio Dionisio