Midnight Oil

Photos by Shane Jones

Photos by Shane Jones

By Shane Jones

Artist: Midnight Oil

Date / Venue: Monday September 11th, 2017 - Horncastle Arena, Christchurch

We all know and have heard of Australia's Band Midnight Oil, and their political views on Australian cultural and worldly environmental views through their songs, with lead singer Peter Garrett being an environmentalist, activist, to joining The Australian House Of Representatives and also an author. So I'm not going to bore you to death on all of that, we are here to witness the rebirth of one of Australia's finest in the music industry.

Midnight Oil disbanded back around 2002 and were last in NZ playing on our shores in 1995, somewhat 22yrs ago. Which brings me to Friday 17th February 2017 in Sydney, when they released to the media of the world "The Great Circle World Tour 17". Yes they're back and I couldn't wait for the curtain to drop and for the first note to play, as this is my first time I've had the opportunity to see them live.

After their long awaited tour to finally reach our shores (they played Auckland's Spark Arena last Saturday night with support band The Nudge, a trio from Wellington), they now travelled south to play their final show in NZ, at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena before their last leg of their journey around the world finishing in their homeland of Australia.

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, the time has come. The Nudge open up with their range of rhythmic tribal, dance party vibe of psychedelic swampy blues, which left the crowd in a good vibe to the band they've come to see. To a tremendously large cheer from the crowd Midnight Oil walk onto the stage and took their positions and started off with Redneck Wonderland, which seems to be the most played starter song for the tour and to end the 1st set with Forgotten Years. A thunderous stomping of feet around the Arena brings the band back to the stage, with not just one encore, but two encores, to a set list of a total of 25 songs, from a catalogue of some 165 songs, this to me is a Greatest Hits of set lists from which I don't think you'd hear "oh I wish they had played that song or this one".

This show has everything (except exploding pyrotechnics) you could just about throw into it, from mini drum solo's harmonica solo's, lighting to be in awe of, not to mention the strange rubber bending like body of the 64yr old Peter Garrett dancing across the stage like a man possessed by a puppeteer - who was so energetic you were left wondering where he'd get all of his energy from.

Put Down That Weapon, US Forces, The Dead Heart, Blue Sky Mine, Power And The Passion, and Dreamworld being very popular with the crowd... not to mention Counting The Beat paying respect to Bones Hillman the bands only kiwi member and former Swingers Bassist, but also having a bit ofNZ theme with Shipyards Of NZ played earlier in the set.

Jack Howard of Hunters And Collectors joined the stage a couple of times to add his expertise of his bullhorn to the songs Blue Sky Mine and Power and The Passion. Rob Hirst left his kit to join the front of the stage to play a single drum while other members gathered around to play Warakurna and The Dead Heart. Meanwhile Garrett roams around the stage like a headless chicken pretending to be playing air guitars not knowing which way to turn while getting his band mates in a musical frenzy, until its tie to return to the mic to continue to sing and reaching out towards the crowd for the feedback of more singing and cheering. This band is so tight they're going to need an oil and grease after the tour ends.

Garrett removes his shirts throughout the show to reveal printed messages, one being "To Sin By Silence When We Should Protest Makes Cowards Out Of Men", and then removes that one after a few songs to reveal another that reads" Dump Trump" to get some political views across. He had digs at our All Blacks and says "That if they're that greatHe'd like to see them surfing while trying to throw a boomerang properly" while laughing. On a brighter note he said that "They all come to our fine shores for holidays from time to time but stay away from the tourist areas".

I looked around the arena (as I had a seated ticket) and I was quite surprised on how many of the 6500 fans that were dancing in the aisles and outside of the Corporate Boxes. Not only dancing but the attendance in singing the songs back to the band was very strong too. It's hard to have forgotten how many years away from the touring scene its been, these guys are well oiled and still pumping, and worth every penny, to be on the top best acts to see live in my eyes.

All I can say is thank you for deciding to get back together and creating this tour, as its still got the power and passion from the 80's-90's, (although the band started in the late 70's), its now one I can truly say I can cross off on my bucket list of concerts I'd wish I'd seen years ago, and I hope this isn't a one off tour, and would gladly see them again anytime.