Peter Garrett’s move into federal politics effectively froze the band’s work for 10 years. (1 News Express)
Iconic Australian band Midnight Oil have embarked on their first world tour in more than 20 years, with shows planned across Australia, the Americas and Europe.
The band’s hiatus was mainly due to the lead singer’s decision to move into Australian politics in 2003.
Peter Garrett left music behind from 2003 to 2013, when he decided to join the world of politics. (Alan Porritt: AAP)
But now the band is free to play again — and their social message is once again resonating with fans around the world.
At a venue just across the Washington DC border in Maryland, fans have gathered to see a band they’ve followed for decades.
The theatre is sold out, and while there are a few Australian expats, the crowd is mostly made up of Americans.
Midnight Oil has just played a series of gigs in South America and have begun the North America leg of its The Great Circle 2017 world tour.
Here in the US, most of the dates are sold out, and four extra shows have been added to thwart scalpers.
Setlist dominated by political anthems
The 64-year-old lead singer, Peter Garrett, moved into Australian federal politics for the Labor Party, which effectively froze the band’s work for 10 years.
But he and the band members, including original drummer Rob Hirst, remained close and now they’re back — at a time of global political turmoil.
The show I attended was on the day Donald Trump sacked the head of the FBI, James Comey.
In the 1980s, Midnight Oil was particularly critical of US military and foreign policy.
And this year, their setlist is dominated by political anthems.
The band are best known for their activist lyrics — on war, the environment, Indigenous rights and refugees.
And it is that social commentary that’s part of what is attracting it’s fans back now, especially here in the US.
Midnight Oil will also hit the United Kingdom and Europe soon, then it’s on to New Zealand and finally in October they’ll arrive in Australia.
For the show that opened the tour, a show held at Salina’s in the Coogee Bay Hotel in Sydney in April, tickets were sold by lottery due to demand.
Altogether there was a massive 26,000 applications sent in for about 700 tickets.