Mercado on Midnight Oil: Peter Garrett in Newcastle as farewell tour starts

Midnight Oil

‘One of Australia’s greatest ever live bands red sail into the sunset’

Mediaweek columnist, and former Channel [V] and Music Max presenter, Andrew Mercado returned to a rock arena this week for the first date on the Midnight Oil Resist tour.

Midnight Oil roared into the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night for the first show of their final concert tour. The show began with the band seen only in silhouette as they sang We Resist, a track from their latest album Resist which was released only a week ago.

Midnight Oil

Then the lights came up to reveal the band in all their glory, as they powered into a heady mix of new material and legendary classics. Whilst guitar players Jim Mogonie and Martin Rostey stay pretty straight-faced, even when Peter Garrett accidentally dances into them, drummer Rob Hirst could not wipe the smile from his face as the gig got underway.

Peter Garrett was keen to introduce everyone on stage, like new bass player Adam Ventoura (brother of actor Zoe Ventoura) replacing the late Bones Hillman (who received his own special dedication later in the show).

Leah Flanagan (vocals) and Liz Stringer (backing vocals and guitar) were singled out as having their own solo albums, with Garrett telling the crowd: “Do yourself a favour” as he referenced Countdown. Later, he would also laugh about how what they want to talk about during interviews isn’t what breakfast TV wants them to talk about!

Midnight Oil has a long history of working with Indigenous artists and this tour was no different. As well as Leah Flanagan joining Peter Garrett front of stage to sing Beds Are Burning, guest rapper Tasman Keith proved to be an electrifying addition to the well-known song, and he was also part of First Nation from 2020’s The Makarrata Project.

Not surprisingly, Peter Garrett still makes sure that everything he says between songs is important. After name-checking every Newcastle venue the band had played in over the years, he fired up over the recent government announcement about Antarctica. And despite trying really hard not to mention the PM by name, he couldn’t resist spelling out his “marketing nickname” letter by letter, while referencing that it had been “invented” to cover up his “inadequacies”.

The Oils are now travelling all around Australia, with a final gig in Sydney on 21 April. If they are playing near you, and there are still seats available, do not miss this last chance to see one of Australia’s greatest ever live bands as they red sail into the sunset.

All tickets available through Frontier Touring.

All photos: Kane Hibberd

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