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Legendary Australian rock band and agitators Midnight Oil announce their first World Tour in over two decades. They also unveiled plans to release three archival box sets including a collection called “The Overflow Tank” which will contain more than 14 hours of previously unreleased and rare material.
“The Great Circle 2017” World Tour will see the group’s classic lineup literally circle around our overheating planet for 6 months, starting and ending with gigs in Sydney. Appropriately for a band forged in their hometown’s sweat-drenched beer barns, the tour will begin in mid-April with an intimate local pub gig (details to be announced closer to the date). Midnight Oil will then perform 30 gigs around the world during the northern summer, playing iconic venues from Sao Paulo’s Espaço das Americas and the Wiltern in L.A. to London’s Hammersmith Apollo and The Olympia in Paris. They will share festival stages with artists like The Arcade Fire, Sting and The Pixies and finally return to New Zealand after 20 years. This long-awaited World Tour will climax with 18 special homecoming concerts through October and November, 2017.
These will be Midnight Oil’s only shows in the last 15 years apart from two stadium benefit concerts (and their related small warmup gigs) in Australia in 2005 and 2009. It will also be the group’s most extensive world tour since their classic late 80’s/early 90’s albums like “Diesel & Dust”, “Blue Sky Mining” and “Earth & Sun & Moon” sold over 10 million copies around the globe.
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Australian culture knows the basics of Midnight Oil’s story. They are the incendiary post-punk band from Sydney’s northern beaches who shunned pop TV shows, forging a fierce bond with their audience through nonstop gigging and jagged Ozrock classics like “Back On The Borderline”, “Bus To Bondi” and “Don’t Wanna Be The One”. They are the musical innovators who turned high tech, anti-jingoistic polemic into hits like “Power & The Passion”, “U.S. Forces” and “When The Generals Talk”. They are the activists whose social justice campaigning includes “The Dead Heart”, “Redneck Wonderland”, “Beds Are Burning” and hijacking the 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony with their “Sorry” suits. They are the committed humanists and environmentalists who brought us anthems like “Blue Sky Mine”, “Forgotten Years” and “Say Your Prayers” plus a string of protests from the Tasmanian wilderness and the Jabiluka Uranium mine near Kakadu to mid-town Manhattan where they unforgettably stopped traffic outside the Exxon building after the Alaskan oil spill.
Their music makes you feel. Their lyrics make you think. And the combined impact live onstage is nothing less than a call to action.
In a dangerously warming world of Trump, Hanson, Petry and Le Pen the voice of Midnight Oil clearly takes on renewed relevance; they have always been a band that both reflects and shapes “the temper of the times”. Clarion calls like “it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees” may have been intended for earlier eras but they resonate more than ever in these days of ‘alternative facts’.
In keeping with the band’s longstanding commitments, their carbon footprint during “The Great Circle” World Tour will, of course, be fully offset and sustainability initiatives will be undertaken at all shows. Midnight Oil will also continue their collaborations with local and international environmental organizations including Greenpeace, supporting their campaigns on crucial issues like dangerous climate change and the imminent threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
At one level “The Great Circle 2017” simply reflects the geographic reality that the tour will loop around the world and circle Australia. At another level the name clearly implies the planet itself but it has a further meaning too. Sailors, and airmen use “the great circle” to navigate the globe because on a sphere the shortest distance between two points is not usually a straight line. How appropriate for a group who has always been deeply engaged with the world around them but whose career path has never been linear.
Midnight Oil is more than just a rock’n’roll band. In 2017 they will finally bring things back to where they all began. The circle remains unbroken.