Rock legends Midnight Oil reaffirm their status

One of the best: Peter Garrett leading Midnight Oil at Hope Estate. Picture: Simone De Peak
One of the best: Peter Garrett leading Midnight Oil at Hope Estate. Picture: Simone De Peak

Midnight Oil, Hope Estate, October 21.

It felt like an ancient ritual.

19,000 cavemen coming from the surrounding villages, gathering in a meadow on the cusp of nightfall, standing around, waiting for the chosen ones to show up and lead the way.

It was a modern ritual. Paying homage to Midnight Oil, a band who’s music speaks for itself –  the turgid, clipped rock with resounding dark vocals - spoken in a distinctly Australian delivery of words and meaning.

The kinetic, frenzied dancing of boldly bald Peter Garrett never letting your mind rest, as you follow the song with your ears and the body with your eyes, both leading you to engage not only with Garrett but his dynamic music partners – Jim Moginie spinning magic on electric guitar, Rob Hirst dramatically finishing off beats on drums, Martin Rotsey modesty bouncing electric riffs off Moginie and Garrett.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, there’ll be food on the table tonight . . .

There’s no place for love songs in the Midnight Oil catalogue, at least not as we know them. So many of the songs are worthy of a chapter each on the Australian psyche. Blue Sky Mining is one of those, held together by Garrett’s taunting harmonica. 

Every song held a memory for someone in the audience. Every song seemingly holds a lyric that, once released, it can never be forgotten.

We don't serve your country, Don't serve your king . . .

There was no time to sit down. This was too powerful. Mesmerising. Inspiring. 

Walking through high dry grass, pushing my way through slow . . .