Peter Garrett - vocals; Peter Gifford -bass; Rob Hirst - drums; Jim Moginie - guitar, keyboards; Martin Rotsey - guitar
Midnight Oil had been together 13 years and were already big stars in their native Australia when they signed with Columbia Records and came to the States to promote their album, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. With charismatic and highly intellectual singer Peter Garrett at the helm, Midnight Oil invaded the U.S. in 1984 amid widespread critical raves, a growing underground word-of-mouth buzz, and considerable airplay at college radio and MTV.
Garrett, with his tall frame and completely bald head, made a strong impression as he preached to the crowd about the various injustices in the world; the evils of corporate greed; the plight of the native Australian Aborigines; and a world still dogged by what remained of the Cold War.
What made Midnight Oil so special is that they could be overtly political (even zealous) about certain social issues, without ever losing sight of the fact that they were a rock 'n' roll band, and the fans in the club were there to rock out. Opening with "Outside World," and kicking right into "Only The Strong," the band delivers a riveting set, despite the fact that their best material and biggest commercial success was still two years away. Recorded at the legendary Channel Club in Boston, Midnight Oil delivers a compelling performance of "Armistice Day," which, upon its release in 1981, became popular in Australia as a Top 40 hit, but was never released to American radio programmers. Still, Midnight Oil came in through the door that U2 opened in 1982, and took the call of social consciousness considerably farther.
Shortly after this show, the band returned to Australia, and Garrett ran for the Senate there. He lost but by a very narrow margin, but it gave him a platform to forever participate in that country's politics. In the years that followed this show, Midnight Oil took aim at everyone and everything, from imperialistic governmental policies to corporate giants such as Exxon (the band played a protest show on the back of a flatbed truck in front of Exxon NYC headquarters to protest the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska). Midnight Oil would have their commercial breakthrough in 1987 with the song, "Beds Are Burning," and the album Diesel and Dust. The band kept going strong through the end of 2002, when Garrett left to pursue non-musical interests.