Saturday May 20th 2017
You can try to take the politics out of Midnight Oil but you can’t take Midnight Oil out of politics. Launching their global The Great Circle 2017 Tour, the band’s first North American tour in 15 years, Australia’s Oils have selected an opportune time to launch their comeback.
Presumable out promoting a plethora of CD and Vinyl Re-releases, (three specific packages, The Vinyl Collection –all previous vinyl releases – The Full Tank Collection (all previous CD’s and Music Video releases and The Overflow Collection – 14 hours of previously unreleased or rare material), The Oils’ , noted for their controversial political commentary, seemed to have picked an opportune time to utilize their on-stage pulpit at a time when global tension is a reality. The U.S turmoil created by the election of Donald Trump, environment issues, aboriginal concerns are all fodder for lead vocalist Peter Garrett, himself a former elected minister under two Australian prime ministers
Three songs into their set, Garrett took aim at current U.S president Donald Trump when he told the 1,000 plus fans shoehorned into Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall that “My frontal lobes cleared when I passed through your border. Trump is not only a liar and a cheat but, based on the food supplies, that were loaded on to his plane to Saudi Arabia, he doesn’t eat very healthy either.”
Throughout the band’s 22-song set, Garrett also acknowledged Canada’s celebration of Victoria Day, by taking a few shots at Victorian Britain and he also praised Canada’s aboriginal efforts, with a positive nod to “Young Mr Trudeau” although Garrett is still an opponent of the Alberta Tar Sands.
Set list wise, the Oils were never going to just trot out their greatest hits. In promoting their catalogue, the more obscure songs which dominated the first part of their performance required a bit of patience from fans only aware of their two best-selling Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky Mining releases.
To the soccer chant of Oils, Oils, Oils from an audience of over 1,000 fans packed into this former movie theatre, Midnight Oil set the tone for the show’s early segment by opening with “Redneck Wonderland” from the eponymously titled album before going into “Feeding Frenzy” from `Earth Sun & Moon” and “Capricornia” from that eponymous release.
Band members; dual guitarists Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey, bassist Bones Hillman and long-serving drummer Rob Hurst were super-tight as you would expect, Garrett still romped around in that unique frenzied dance style yet only true Oils fans would appreciate their song selection which eschewed early hits like “Power and The Passion” and “Read All About” in favor of lesser recognized tracks from `Red Sails In The Sunset’, `Earth Sun & Moon’, `Capricornia’, and even an unreleased Rob Hurst track; “Ships of Freedom” which he got to solo on.
But then The Oils delivered “Arctic World” from their 1987 monster album `Diesel and Dust’ and their set took off. “Warukuana”, “Beds Are Burning” and “The Dead Heart” followed in quick succession. With their audience now fully involved, they concluded their main set with “Blue Sky Mining and “Dream World” with the audience lustily singing the chorus even before the band could start the song.
Returning to slow things down with “Antarctica” from Blue Sky Mining, the Oils then scorched through a barn-burning rendition of “Sometimes” from Diesel and Dust, a guaranteed show-stopper. before concluding with another crowd favourite “Forgotten Years” and a second encore of King Of The Mountain”, both from Blue Sky Mining.”
Canadian fans who may have felt cheated by Midnight Oil’s initially shortened itinerary, will be happy to know they have added five additional dates to their Great Circle 2017 tour schedule. After playing at Montreal’s Place Des Arts Wednesday August 23th, the perform back in Toronto at the Budweiser Stage on Friday August 25th, travel out to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre on Thursday August 31st, Calgary’s BMO Centre on Saturday September 2nd and Edmonton’s Shaw Convention Centre Sunday September 3rd.