The time has come: Midnight Oil announces final tour early next year

By Kelly Burke
Midnight Oil. From left: Martin Rotsey, Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst, Adam Ventoura and Jim Moginie
Midnight Oil will release 12 new songs for the Resist tour in March. From left: Martin Rotsey, Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst, Adam Ventoura and Jim Moginie. Photograph: Jess Gleeson/The Mood Lab

Four years ago in front of a capacity audience, Midnight Oil’s frontman quoted Dylan Thomas to prove to fans the group would continue to “rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

Now it appears Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst and company are preparing to let their live performances go gentle into that good night.

On Friday Midnight Oil announced the group’s concert touring days will come to a close early next year. The Resist tour, playing across the country in major venues such as Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena and Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, will be Midnight Oil’s last.

“We all know time refuses to stand still for anyone but after many years together the band’s spirit is deep, the music and words are strong, and our ideas and actions as bold as we can make them,” Garrett said in a statement, released on Friday by Frontier Touring.

“Having always tackled every tour like it’s the last – this time it actually will be.”

Drummer Hirst paid tribute in the statement to the dozens of cherished faces he saw at each Oils concert.

“But mostly, blinded by stage lights, I see the first two rows of a thousand gigs: Midnight Oil fans, pumping, jumping, singing louder than the band. But I don’t look back.”

The band will release 12 new songs for the Resist final tour in March, including tracks recorded with longtime Kiwi bass player Bones Hillman, who died in the US from cancer late last year.

The tour’s promoter said Midnight Oil would use it final tour to call for governments to urgently take action to reduce carbon pollution.

“This tour will embrace best practices for emission reductions and offsetting,” the statement said.

“A portion of proceeds will be set aside for organisations seeking to elevate the existential threat posed by the climate crisis.”

After 24 years together, Midnight Oil dissolved following Garrett’s decision to pursue a political career in 2002.

When Labor led by Kevin Rudd won the 2007 election, Garrett became minister for the environment, heritage and the arts

In 2009 Garrett performed with his fellow Oils for a handful of concerts to raise money for the Victorian bushfire relief.

The group formally reformed in 2016, three years after Garrett resigned from the ministry and announced he would retire from politics at the next election.

The following year Midnight Oil staged the Great Circle international tour, selling out 77 shows in 16 countries.

Last August the band released the song Gadigal Land, its first new single in 18 years, with the proceeds going toward promotion of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Makarrata Project, released in October 2020, reached number 1 on the Australian charts within a week of the album’s release.

Friday’s statement said each member of Midnight Oil would continue their own projects after next year’s tour.

“They remain very open to recording new music together in future and supporting causes in which they believe, but this will be their last tour,” Frontier said.

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