4,000 for 40 – April Ride 1 – Pre-ride

The Making of Midnight Oil

Saturday April 2, 2016

Midnight Oil is one of Australia’s most internationally successful bands. The band started in the late 1970s as a pub rock band and slowly started to become much more political. They are known for having a deep social, political and environmental conscience. They have pushed hard for indigenous rights and reconciliation. They have given a voice to the voiceless. And they have done it all with a tremendous passion and a live show that is full of energy and intensity. You won’t find many bands anywhere in the world with a better live show. The lead singer is known for his bald head, tremendous height and unique dancing style.

Sadly, the band broke up in the late 2000s. Several band members have gone on to form other bands, and the lead singer had a stint in federal politics. It is the dream of every Midnight Oil fan anywhere for the band to get back together. In the meantime, however, there is a really well done exhibition about the band which is travelling around Australia. It is chock full of memorabilia and information displayed in all of the cases used to cart around gear during their tours.

To say that Nigel is a huge Midnight Oil fan is an understatement. I am a pretty big fan, too. I started getting into them when I was about 13 – excited to hear music with a sense of responsibility to the environment and to the vulnerable and disadvantaged. They were not themes you heard many people supporting in my conservative, religious factory hometown. Listening to Midnight Oil and Hunters and Collectors very much firmed my desire to visit Australia one day.

And so it is that we are driving the 3.5 hours in the dark Friday night to get to Canberra after work. We don’t even make it to the motel until 11pm. But we have all of Saturday to enjoy the exhibition, actually see some of the band members, and attend an exclusive screening of a documentary about the making of one of their albums. The exhibition is so well done and so informative. It is well worth the time, money and effort to make the trip happen. And for me, it’s nice to see the old Nigel surface through all the rage for a few hours. 99 percent of the time he is very hard to be around with his extreme irritability, moodiness and fits of rage. But the 1 percent of the time when the Nigel I married surfaces is very special indeed.

Nigel had so much fun picking out all of the Midnight Oil gigs he’d attended. His first gig was in 1983 aged 15. My first and only Oils gig was in 1993 when I was 17.
I love Midnight Oil for their environmental and social conscience – but I love them equally for their intense energy live. This kinda summed it up.
The amount of memorabilia and video on display was very exciting. We both learned new information. Here is Nigel standing next to the Sorry suits the band wore when they performed in the Closing Ceremony of the 2000 Olympics. They had to wear coveralls on-stage before ripping them off to reveal the sorry suits. They were a message to the Government pushing for indigenous reconciliation.


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