Midnight Oil turns in an energized set at The Keswick - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Midnight Oil | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | moonloopphoto.com

Playing their first Philly area show in well over a decade, Midnight Oil sounded more like a band in their prime than one into their fifth decade as performers. It was clear when they opened with their 1990 hit “King of the Mountain” that this was going to be a special night. The capacity Keswick crowd never once sat through the two-hour set, enjoying a journey through the band’s 41 year catalog. Oils’ frontman Peter Garrett oozes stage presence, gesturing and pacing, eyes piercing into the crowd as he conjures their participation.

Known for his politics (Garrett ran for senate in the band’s native Australia and spent over a decade with the band on hiatus while he was involved in politics), there were only brief mentions of the current political situation in the US. “I won’t ask if there are any Republicans in the crowd. I made that mistake in New York the other night. So I know some of you are out there… and you are the ones who have the power to choose, to (do the right thing).” He also broke out a t-shirt with a Ella Wheeler Wilcox quote: “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.”

Midnight Oil | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | moonloopphoto.com

Early in the set we were treated to great versions of “Truganini” and “When the Generals Talk,” but it was later in the set when they erupted. Playing a four-song tsunami that began with “The Dead Heart” and merged into their massive hit “Beds are Burning,” the lights came up on the crowd and intensity swelled. It opened into another big hit with “Blue Sky Mine” and peaked with a crushing version of “Forgotten Years.” They then left the stage and returned for a stripped down version of “My Country” before pounding the accelerator again with “Power & The Passion” and “Dreamworld.” A second encore of “Hercules,” which Garrett somehow was trying to relate to the Grateful Dead, closed the night. It was a cathartic and welcome return from one of the shining lights of the 90s.

New York’s Boytoy opened and held their own with a mix of punky/ shoegaze that got the crowd in step.


King of the Mountain
Only the Strong
Surf’s Up Tonight
When the Generals Talk
Spirit of the Age
Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers
Comfortable Place on the Couch
The Dead Heart
Beds Are Burning
Blue Sky Mine
Forgotten Years
My Country
Power and the Passion

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