This writer has been waiting for this show for some time now. Last time I saw the Oils was 2002. It was after that tour, for the Capricornia record, 6 foot 6, skinhead lead singer, Peter Garrett, decided to quit the band and focus on a career in politics. Where, for more than 10 years and because of his “team player” attitude, he managed to both please and piss off colleagues and constituents alike.
Fast forward to February 2017, Midnight Oil announces The Great Circle Tour. Garrett, with all the key players in place, is finally ready to celebrate and tour the Oils catalogue live for the first time in years. Admittedly, I peeked at a few of the early set lists and was pleased with the mix of classics vs. album cuts.
Opener “King of the Mountain” got the evening off to a raucous start. Garrett was in top form professing the band’s love & support for both race car driver Peter Brock and the plight of of the marginalised Australian Aborigines (a common theme throughout the band’s lyrics). On 10-1’s “Read About It”, the back up vocals of Drummer Rob Hirst and Bassist Bones Hillman are as strong as ever and just how I remember them, always a key part of the sound of the Oils. 1984’s “When the Generals Talk” couldn’t be any more relevant over 30 years after it’s release. What with it’s themes of oppressive capatalism and selling world war.
Guitarists Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie brought the Vox’ & the Fenders & the Boss pedals, and for that I was happy. This was evident on the riff heavy “Redneck Wonderland” and the twangy “Short Memory”. It was delivery of the shows final run that resonated the most, though. Power and the Passion -> The Dead Heart -> Blue Sky Mine -> Beds Are Burning -> set closer Forgotten Years reminded everyone of how much a pop powerhouse Midnight Oil was, is, and always will be.
An encore including Sometimes & Dreamworld ensured everyone went home happy, educated, and hopeful. Hopeful for another tour, maybe some new music, and above all, for humanity.