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Review: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne

So much has happened in the world lately that it’s hard to believe it was only a year ago that Midnight Oil played this Mt Duneed venue. Last time the band presented their wonderful Makarrata Project, featuring a host of guest appearances from Troy Cassar-Daley, Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Leah Flanagan,  Tasman Keith, Liz Stringer.

This time, although it was the band’s farewell to the region and facing an audience hungry for a cavalcade of hits, the Oils still had a new album and message to convey and they wasted no time in preaching the good word, opening the show with ‘We Resist’, pretty much the title track of their new album Resist.

‘At the Time of Writing’, another newbie immediately followed. ’Put Down That Weapon’ was aimed squarely at Putin and throughout the night, Australian Prime Minister Morrison didn’t escape Garrett’s wrath either.

More than four decades on since the band started, the global issues are the same, the band’s passion has never waned, it seems a shame for such an energetic force to call it quits when the world needs them more than ever.

The weather wasn’t kind tonight but Garret told the audience “we’re going to play on regardless of what the heavens decide to do to us tonight, after all there’s a whole lot of people in the world who have to deal with a whole lot worse.”

‘Back on the Borderline’ from the mighty Head Injuries album was the first taste of real Oils nostalgia, followed by yet another important message from the new album, ‘The Barka-Darling River’. ’My Country’ from Earth and Sky and Moon showcased the multi-skilled Jim Moginie’s piano prowess, eliciting a heartfelt singalong from the expansive crowd.

Garrett took the time to acknowledge those in the Midnight Oil team who have done so much to  get them on the road year after year, before launching into ‘Only The Strong’. Cricket icons Shane Warne and Rod Marsh were also saluted after both passing away in the last couple of days.

‘Rising Seas’ from the new album brought home the realities of the effects of climate change, referring specifically to the current flood situation in Queensland and NSW. The band also announced a surprise benefit gig on Monday 7th at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre with proceeds going to the Australian Conservation Society and Greenpeace. Leah Flanagan and  Liz Stringer who also appeared with the band on the Makarrata tour, were back tonight to feature prominently on vocals for this track too.

There’s nothing more powerful in rock than the twin guitar nastiness of Rotsey and Moginie ripping it up together and “Redneck Wonderland’ is a perfect example of that. ‘Beds Are Burning’ was the beginning of an all out hits onslaught, bringing it all home with ‘Power and the Passion’, ‘Hercules’, ‘Blues Sky Mine’ (yes … in the end the rains came down!), ‘Best of Both Worlds’, finishing up in grand style with an emotional ‘Forgotten Years’. Bless you Midnight Oil, one of the world’s most important and finest live bands ever.

Earlier in the day, it was great to witness the legendary Goanna, with Shane Howard and the gorgeous vocals of Marcia Howard and Rose Bygraves, rockin’ the clock back to a different time in our lives. Beginning with the beautiful ‘Razors Edge’ and ending with the fabled ‘Solid Rock’, it was a fabulous warm up to the main act. All Our Exes Live in Texas consisting of Hannah Crofts, Georgia Mooney, Elana Stone and Katie Wighton also seemed to win a lot of new fans with their quality brand of Australian-tinged Americana.

Oh, and a side-note to Mt Duneed Estate management. Please consider some sort of car park identification system for future events. It wouldn’t hurt to put up a few numbered poles here and there to help weary punters find their cars after paying $20 to park on your land. Just a thought.

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