Let’s hope Midnight Oil’s return is just the beginning
I think part of me always knew I would be a little disappointed in my first Midnight Oil show in over 15 years.
I’d been waiting for the reformation announcement for almost half a decade, I eagerly snapped up tickets the second they went on sale, and I spent months playing out how the set could possibly go down in my mind.
Now it’s all over and I feel kind of empty. But it’s not them. It’s me.
The band’s return didn’t live up to my enormous expectations for three reasons:
Firstly, the show happened amid an unbelievable downpour that made for a pretty uncomfortable viewing experience.
Look, it was just a bit of rain. But, in my mind, my perfect Midnight Oil moment took place on a balmy mid-Spring evening where the only deluge we’d need to worry about were the pools of sweat that seeped from our skin due to impassioned dancing.
Secondly, they didn’t play the perfect setlist.
Take a look at the setlist in question – it’s brilliant. It even features one of my all-time favourite songs and perhaps the gateway that led to my minor Midnight Oil obsession. But not a single track from my favourite album? This was not part of the dream!
Finally, and most importantly, I was too excited.
I loved the band when I’d first seen them in 2001, but that love swelled in the years they spent in the wilderness. I now own all the records, have read the books (I recommend these two), and spent hours poring over live clips on DVDs and YouTube, dreaming of the moment I’d inevitably get to see them again.
They could not have done anything that would have made this show live up to what I’d built it up to be in my mind.
The band were flawless. There was a moment towards the end of the set when they launched into ‘Power and the Passion’ – which doesn’t even rate in my top ten Oils songs – where the clout of the band felt otherworldly. “How can a band even sound like this?” I remarked to my friends.
They played their biggest hits from across their career. They played with precision, velocity and sheer force. Hell, they even covered The Saints! Everyone loved it, and I did too, but my approach was all wrong.
So now I want another shot. I want to measure my expectations and I want to be blown away. It feels like we’ve had the first date, where I was clumsy and awkward, and now I want to take this relationship further.
I hope like hell that the ensuing years bring us a lot more Midnight Oil shows. Festivals, tours, benefits, wineries, pub shows, stadium shows… I’ll go to all of them and I think you should too. Just, please, approach with realistic expectations.