Midnight Oil was slated to debut the Makarrata Live concept at the Splendour In The Grass festival in July 2020, but the event was postponed due to the health crisis.
The Oils, as they’re affectionately known Down Under, will tour “in their 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, reads a statement from Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring, producer of the tour.
“We’re relieved and excited at the thought of finally playing music to live audiences again,” said frontman Peter Garrett. “Lots of the songs which have struck the deepest chords with our audiences over the years, like 'Beds Are Burning,' 'Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers,' 'The Dead Heart' and 'Truganini,' revolve around Indigenous issues so we’re definitely inspired to be playing a set that combines older songs like those with newer songs that share similar lyrical themes.”
The dates will also allow the Oils and fans to pay their respects to long-time bass player Bones Hillman, who passed away in November following a battle with cancer. He was 62.
Bones died just a few hours after the band received confirmation that The Makarrata Project, their reconciliation-themed set, had debuted at No. 1 on the ARIA Album Charts, Midnight Oil’s first leader of new music since Hillman’s very first record with the band, 1990's Blue Sky Mining.
“Bonesy leaves giant shoes to fill but we’ll need to find a new bass player for this tour,” explains drummer Rob 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, we’ll also be dedicating the tour to Bones.”
The four tour dates are presented by Frontier Touring, Roundhouse Entertainment, Triple M (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria), Mix 106.3 (Australian Capitol Territory), Bay 93.9 + Geelong Advertiser (VIC).
In addition, the band will play the Womadelaide festival in Adelaide on March 6 and March 8, 2021.
Forming in 1972, Midnight Oil went on to become one of Australia’s most popular bands – and most vocal on indigenous rights and anti-war messages, with a long list of muscular songs from "Power And The Passion," "U.S. Forces," "Read About It," "When The Generals Talk" and their biggest international hit, "Beds Are Burning".
In 2006, the group was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, and in 2018, its members were feted with the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music, one of the country’s highest music honors.
The unthinkable happened when Midnight Oil reunited for The Great Circle World Tour in 2017, a trek that spanned two years and circumnavigated the globe. It was The Oils' first tour in over 15 years.
Midnight Oil 2021 tour dates:
Feb. 28 -- Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton, QLD
March 6 -- Womadelaide, Adelaide, SA *
March 8 -- Womadelaide, Adelaide, SA *
March 13 -- Hope Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW
March 17 -- Stage 88, Canberra, ACT
March 20 -- Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong, VIC
* Not promoted by Frontier Touring