Midnight Oil – Spark Arena September 3, 2022

Midnight Oil returned to Auckland’s Spark Arena with their “Resist Tour”, being billed at the long-running Aussie band’s “Final Tour”.

Whether this is their final Auckland show remains to be seen, but if it is, they gave their fans everything, performing for well over two hours, playing 25 songs…not band for a bunch of old guys.

Front man Peter Garrett is now 69 years old, although from the performance on display here, he could easily out-rock a frontman half his age. Drummer Rob Hirst is 67, while guitarists Jim Moginie and Martin Moginie are also of a similar vintage, leaving new guy, bassist James Ventoura, to represent a younger generation. Sadly, long-time bassist Bones Hillman had succumbed to cancer in 2020.

Troy Kingi

tROY kINGIIf the Spark Arena wasn’t sold out, it was close, and those who chose to catch the opening act were rewarded with a 30-minute set from Troy Kingi and his band. Troy is on the verge of releasing his 6th album of his 10/10/10 series, an 80’s synth-pop record titled Year Of The Ratbags and Their Musty Theme Songs.

Troy and co. came out roaring, sounding more like Hendrix than Human League with Nam Must Stay, from 2020’s The Ghost Of Freddie Cesar.

Sporting a moustache and mullet, Troy was backed by bassist Marika Hodgson, drummer Treye Lieu and Guy Harrison on keys.

The quartet barreled through six tunes including a taste of the new album, a tune titled, Elephant In The Room. Now, I’m not a big 80s synth-pop fan, but I am now keen to hear this new album. Gotta wait til October 7th.

Midnight Oil

“We said we would come and play no matter what!”

mIDNIGHT oILAt 9pm sharp Peter Garrett took the stage with his band and made this proclamation amid a background of distortion and feedback. They then launched in to Read About It, with the still gangly Garrett singing out, “the rich get richer, the poor get the picture”.

Clearly little has changed since 1982 when the song was first release.

What has also not changed is Garrett’s need to rail against the man, the machine and the system. His targets during his between-song rants included (predictably) Donald Trump (or The Dumpster), the “United States of Dumbness”, Fonterra and cattle farmers. After a particularly lengthy diatribe leading into Kosciusko, some audience members were getting tired of being preached to and boos were starting to be heard (what did they expect, this was Midnight Oil after all?).

Garrett quickly read the room and introduced drummer Rob Hirst, whose birthday is was, to sing the next tune.

Politics aside, Midnight Oil’s musical abilities are impressive. They can rock as hard as anyone out there and then bring it down to a more introspective mood, as they did for My Country.

The band was augmented by sax player Andy Bickers along with backing vocalists Leah Flanagan and Liz Stringer (who also played guitar from time to time).

With a show that clocks in at over two hours and covers a career dating back to 1979, the only complaint I might lodge is the lack of variation in their song topics. There are no love songs, nothing too personal, just rants against “the man”, which, well-placed though they may be, can get a little tiresome after a while.

But that’s what this band has always been about, and they certainly aren’t about to change now.

Midnight Oil paid tribute to their fallen comrade, Bones Hillman, by performing The Swingers’ (Hillman’s previous band) Counting The Beat during an encore that seemed to never end.

“Sing along for Bones!” Peter insisted.

Finally, at 11:15, the band was finished and the audience, drained, headed for the stairs. But I’m sure given half a chance; these 60-somethings were still keen to play a few more tunes.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk

Troy Kingi:


Midnight Oil:

Troy Kingi Setlist:

  1. Nam Must Stay
  2. Picking Up Speed
  3. Elephant In The Room
  4. Break A Bone
  5. All Your Ships Have Sailed
  6. Time Lipsium Gangtasium

Midnight Oil Setlist:

  1. Read About It
  2. At The Time Of Writing
  3. The Barka-Darling River
  4. Dreamworld
  5. Progress
  6. Tarkine
  7. First Nation
  8. Nobody’s Child
  9. Koala Sprint
  10. Sometimes
  11. My Country
  12. US Forces
  13. Short Memory
  14. Kosciusko
  15. Somebody’s Trying To Tell Me Something
  16. Redneck Wonderland
  17. The Dead Heart
  18. Power And The Passion
  19. Beds Are Burning
  20. Blue Sky Mine
  21. Forgotten Years
  22. Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers
  23. Counting The Beat
  24. King Of The Mountain
  25. Hercules