Mid­night Oil brings con­tro­versy, power and pas­sion to Rocky

Singer and ac­tivist Peter Gar­rett rolls back the years, de­liv­ers stun­ning per­for­mance

The Morning Bulletin - - NEWS - Leighton Smith Leighton.Smith@cap­news.com.au

ROCK­HAMP­TON mu­sic fans turned out en mass Thurs­day night to see Aus­tralia’s finest ex­po­nents of po­lit­i­cal rock Mid­night Oil, with the pre­dic­tive pow­ers of The Morn­ing Bul­letin earn­ing a spe­cial men­tion.

The sold out gig promised full ho­tels, long beer lines, im­pas­sioned sing-alongs and a dash of con­tro­versy.

The Oils de­liv­ered on all counts.

Thurs­day’s edi­tion of The Morn­ing Bul­letin pre­dicted that Mr Gar­rett’s anti-Adani rhetoric would con­tinue in Rock­hamp­ton af­ter he launched a salvo in Townsville re­gard­ing their “re­versed in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity” in sup­port­ing the Carmichael mine which he made ref­er­ence to dur­ing the con­cert.

“I couldn’t help notic­ing the lo­cal news­pa­per had a piece about us play­ing, be­fore we played, be­fore I said any­thing,” Mr Gar­rett said. “I thought that was pretty good for the me­dia, some­how they hot-wired them­selves into my brain so I won’t dis­ap­point them in that case, I’ll just reprise what we said be­fore.

“We are on the side of the farm­ers in the Galilee Basin who are con­cerned about their water sup­plies.

“We are on the side of the planet that can’t take much more heat­ing oth­er­wise sum­mer is go­ing to be hot­ter and hot­ter than ever be­fore.

“We are on the side of the re­new­able in­dus­try which will em­ploy more Aus­tralians as the years go on as it does in other parts of the world – where they’ve got their act to­gether.

“And we think giv­ing a bunch of ro­bots the op­por­tu­nity to dig stuff out of the ground, that is not that good for you, is not par­tic­u­larly smart,” he said be­fore kick­ing into their en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist an­them ‘Blue sky mine’.

Through­out the night, his po­lit­i­cal re­flec­tions also touched on sup­port­ing the old bat­tle against sand min­ing at Shoal­wa­ter Bay, ap­plaud­ing the award­ing of the No­bel Prize In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign to Abol­ish Nu­clear Weapons (ICAN), lamented about Nick Kyr­gios’ “pik­ing out”, de­cried Pauline Han­son’s plan to raise the vot­ing age and warned peo­ple to not lis­ten to Tony Ab­bott be­fore launch­ing into their song ‘When the gen­er­als talk’.

The Great Western Ho­tel pro­vided ex­cel­lent acous­tics for the crowd of thou­sands, con­sist­ing of a mainly older de­mo­graphic, who were in good spir­its.

When Mid­night Oil first came out on stage, the vet­er­ans of the Aussie mu­sic scene were greeted to a rap­tur­ous ova­tion and the dis­tinc­tive arms flail­ing danc­ing of front­man Peter Gar­rett were on full dis­play as they kicked into their first song ‘Red­neck won­der­land’.

For the first half of the con­cert, it seemed that Gar­rett was quite pre­pared to let the band’s mu­sic do the talk­ing but as time wore on, he grad­u­ally took aim at his po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­saries, changed into a ‘Stop Adani’

❝I thought that was pretty good for the me­dia, some­how they hot-wired them­selves into my brain so I won’t dis­ap­point them in that case. — Peter Gar­rett

t-shirt and pro­moted en­vi­ron­men­tal causes in­clud­ing coastal con­ser­va­tion and re­new­able en­ergy im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Some of the crowd favourites through­out the night were ‘US forces’, ‘Dead heart’ (which gave this re­viewer goose­bumps), ‘King of the moun­tain’, ‘Beds are burn­ing’ and ‘Power and

the pas­sion’.

One of the con­cert at­ten­dees, Mick Smith said it was worth trav­el­ling from Bris­bane to see the band for the first time in 15 years.

“They’ve still got it, play­ing an ex­cel­lent mix of classic Oils hits with still rel­e­vant mas­sages in the songs for cur­rent is­sues,” Mr Smith said.

PHOTO: GREAT WESTERN HO­TEL

FULL HOUSE: The Great Western Ho­tel thanked the 3000 con­cert at­ten­dees for com­ing.

PHOTO: LIAM FA­HEY

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL AC­TIVIST: Peter Gar­rett on stage.

OILS GIG: Morn­ing Bul­letin re­porter Leighton Smith (left) hold­ing the Mid­night Oil set list with Bris­bane's Mick Smith.

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