Cape Town - ICYMI legendary Australian rock band Midnight Oil is coming to South Africa for one show only in Johannesburg on 29 July.
It’s been 15 years since the band played live and it’s been over two decades since their last visit to South Africa.
Sidenote: You’ve probably heard their hit song Beds Are Burning at every SA wedding you’ve ever attended.
The show in SA will form part of an extensive tour called The Great Circle 2017 World Tour, which will see the band performing over 30 gigs around the world.
We had the amazing opportunity to chat to frontman Peter Garrett ahead of their SA show.
Chatting to us from Toulon in France, this is what Peter revealed:
On returning to South Africa:
We have great memories of visiting the country. Even though it’s a long time ago, it still seems very fresh to us. We are really, genuinely very excited about coming. We wanted to include South Africa in the tour even though it’s not as easy perhaps as it should be or could be. We found the audiences to be really responsive and we’ve watched the issues in South Africa with great interest, and yeah, it’s going to be a big highlight for us.
On the decision to tour again:
There was always the question; I mean we went our separate ways. I went off and spent some time in environment NGO work and then eventually ended up in politics, in mainstream politics. I was in the government in Australia for a number of years, which is very different from what I’m doing now. The others kept on making music in different ways, but there was always a question around whether we would play again, and particularly in Australia where we’re well-known.
When everyone had a moment to spare, we said well why don’t we get into a room together and see what it sounds like. And if it works there, then maybe we can do some shows. Then we thought, well, we might as well see if anyone else wants to listen to us as well, and it just kept on growing and growing. The response has been phenomenal, quite unexpected for us. We really saw us as simply finding the people that wanted to hear us and play to them, however big or small it may be, but of course it’s turned into something much bigger.
On the US leg of the tour selling out:
It’s fantastic when that happens, you just don’t know, especially when you’ve been away for a long time. I think one of the things about it though is that, I mean we’re a band that always put our music first and we value the fan relationship quite highly. I mean we had our periods of being well-known, like with Beds are Burning and so on, but generally speaking in our career we were just a working band. So if we come to your town or your city, in Australia, or in Canada or wherever it might be, we probably came back a couple of times and we built a relationship with people that weren’t dependent on the media, in a way. And it wasn’t dependent on whether we had a song on the radio, people just knew that this is who we were and this is what we did, and it seems like those people plus all their younger brothers and cousins and next door neighbours have come back.
On their remastered CD boxset and rare footage released:
Our remastered CD box set includes unreleased footage of the first South African multi-racial show that we played at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. No one has ever seen it. We hadn’t seen it you know, it was one of those classic looking through the bottom drawer where someone’s left a box of film you know under a few cupboards in a workroom. You pull that out and you go, Oh my god look at this!
We remastered all the albums at Abbey Road, the B-Sides, the cover songs, the songs that didn’t make albums. Then we looked at all the material, which there was such a lot of visual material, because we had cameras with us a lot of the times. We kinda don’t remember it.
What was interesting to me was just seeing the evolution of this band. It really just starts off as scruffy young kids from the Sydney suburbs in Australia, a long way from anywhere else, and just seeing you know, this relentless kind of intense flurry of activity, and all the music that was created at the same time. I mean it’s a big fan package obviously, but we’re glad we got it done, it took a long time, but we’re glad we got it done.
Sharing a crazy tour story:
Ah, you know, crazy tour stories, in some ways we’ve had them all and none of them. I do know one night we were travelling across Canada and it was 2 or 3 in the morning and the bus for some reason had stopped. And everyone thought that the reason that it had stopped is that someone had to take a toilet break. So a couple of us jumped out, we couldn’t see the driver, so we jumped out to see what was going on, and there was actually a herd of moose in the middle of the road, advancing on the bus. So there you go…
On what SA fans can expect from the show:
Lots and lots of music, lots of heart, lots of lyrics to lift them up, stir their passions and a celebration of the fact that we’re all still alive together.
Date: Saturday 29 July
Venue: Marks Park, Emmarentia, Johannesburg
Gates open: 11:00, concert ends at 17:00
Supporting act: Freshlyground (more acts to be announced soon)
General Admission Standing: R495 (excl R25 ticket service fee)
Golden Circle Standing: R745 (excl R25 ticket service fee)
Tickets are available here. No Transfers. No refunds. Ticket sales limited to 10 tickets per person.