Midnight Oil to return to Canberra, powered by passion for reconciliation

Michael Weaver 8 December 2020 1
Midnight Oil on stage in Canberra in 2017

Midnight Oil on stage in Canberra in 2017. The band will return in March next year. Photo: Michael Weaver.

Powered by their passion for reconciliation and the loss of their long-time bassist Bones Hillman, Midnight Oil is sticking to its promise to tour its latest mini-album, The Makarrata Project.

The Oils will perform at Stage 88 on 17 March, making it the fifth of six shows on the tour which will include Brisbane, Adelaide (two shows), Hunter Valley and Geelong in Victoria.

Midnight Oil last performed in Canberra in May 2019 against the backdrop of The Uluru Statement From The Heart. They sold out the Royal Theatre and every other venue of the tour as well.

These gigs will seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart which calls for a Makarrata, or ‘truth-telling’, to account for the theft of lands and displacement of First Nations people.

Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett live on stage

Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett performs in front of The Uluru Statement From The Heart. Photo: Awais Butt.

Their latest body of work, The Makarrata Project, is their first album release in almost 20 years.

The six shows will also be dedicated to the band’s long-time bassist, Bones Hillman, who died of cancer in November, aged 62. Bones joined Midnight Oil in 1987 after stints in various Kiwi bands, most notably, The Swingers. He played and sang on every Midnight Oil recording since the Blue Sky Mining album in 1990.

Midnight Oil originally planned to play some Makaratta Live concerts earlier this year, including a headlining slot at Splendour In The Grass in Byron Bay. Those plans were delayed by COVID-19 and then thrown into doubt by the illness of Hillman.

However, drummer Rob Hirst said Bones urged his bandmates to proceed with these live shows to help draw focus to the new recordings the group had all made together late last year.

A few hours before his death, Bones received confirmation that The Makarrata Project had debuted at the top of the ARIA album charts.

“Bonesy leaves giant shoes to fill but we’ll need to find a new bass player for this tour,” said Hirst.

“On this issue Bones was clear. ‘The show must go on!’, he said, ‘as soon as it’s safe to play gigs again’.

“We’re hoping that these Makarrata Live shows will increase awareness of The Uluru Statement From The Heart and further the reconciliation between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians, and we’ll also be dedicating the tour to Bones.”


READ ALSO: Hands Like Houses breaks down the walls with national tour


At each show of the Makaratta Live tour, the band will be joined on stage by a line up of First Nations collaborators for a unique concert event featuring music from their latest album plus iconic Midnight Oil songs of reconciliation from throughout their career.

The shows will take place in strict accordance with each state’s COVID-19 protocols. The band is aware that many fans will be disappointed that the tour is visiting such a limited number of locations but Midnight Oil will tour in its own right later in 2021 by which time large indoor shows can hopefully be staged safely and without compromise throughout Australia and New Zealand at least.

Midnight Oil will perform at Stage 88 Canberra on Wednesday, 17 March, 2021.

General public tickets go on sale from 16 December at 2:00 pm. Pre-sale tickets are also available via the Midnight Oil website. To prevent scalping and offloading of tickets on other websites, the band urges people not to buy tickets from anyone other than the authorised seller.


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One Response to Midnight Oil to return to Canberra, powered by passion for reconciliation
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Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:21 pm 08 Dec 20

Gee, a lot of people are making money out of the eternal quest for reconciliation. To bands like Midnight Oil it’s a gift that never stops giving.

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