When my daughter suggested in December that she buy tickets for Andrew and I to go to Midnight Oil for Andrew’s birthday, I hesitated. Omicron wasn’t yet a big deal, but I was still nervous about crowds, and we’ve been incredibly cautious. Here we are in April, and we’re still being super cautious, but the concert was outside, and… well… it was Midnight Oil’s farewell tour. They’ve been a big part of our lives. How could we say no?
So there we were, last night in Rutherglen. All Our Exes Live in Texas were a fabulous warm up, followed by the amazing Hoodoo Gurus, but Midnight Oil is where our heart, our history, and our activism come together in Peter Garrett’s passionate roar. From the moment the Resist Fist clutching a flaming earth appeared on the screen I was transfixed.
All of my emotions were on that stage all night. I cried. I raged. I soared in ecstasy. I screamed, and sang until my throat was raw. (I’m doing an excellent Barry White impersonation this morning.)
Every song is a complete act of protest. Every line a statement of outrage, of desperate sorrow, of a demand for justice. Where some try to write stirring speeches, Midnight Oil put their heart and soul into songs that give no quarter. That tear down our complacency and replace it with a burning urgency for change. They give eloquent, searing voice to our yearning for justice.
It amazes me that Rob Hirst’s drumsticks don’t catch fire. There was one particular drum solo last night that didn’t seem physically possible, it was a frenzy of sound and movement that created an extraordinary moment. Surely it took five drummers, not one, to produce that magnificent complexity. But it was the acoustic version of My Country, when Rob’s sweet, sweet voice joined Peter’s, that took my heart out, tore it into shreds, and reassembled it into something better.
Delayed from March due to covid ripping through the band, and other concerts cancelled due to the kind of amped up storms that are par for the climate change course, Peter Garrett declared that it was no longer the Resist tour – they were now calling it the Persist. And that is singularly apt, for a band that has resisted, and persisted, and spoken up for what they believe in, from start to finish. This is something we will remember. Remember. REMEMBER!