Midnight Oil w/ All Our Exes Live In Texas
Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA

Formed in 1972 as The Farm, and renamed in 1976, Australian band Midnight Oil may be hugely popular in their homeland but it was a surprise­–for a band that had a few hit singles in the 1980s–for their show at Seattle’s Moore Theatre to be sold out.

For their “The Great Circle Tour,” a crowd of middle-aged fans showed up in full regalia, waving to other people they knew. It felt very festive, and a big blown up image of the top of Earth hung behind the drum kit.

Opening the show were All Our Exes Live in Texas, a 4-piece female folk rock band from Sydney, Australia who did beautiful four-part harmonies. They played the accordion, a ukulele, a mandolin, and an acoustic guitar. They thanked Midnight Oil for taking them on tour, exclaiming about the band’s incredible energy and musicianship, “How many of you have already seen them on this leg of the tour?” To which a huge cheer arose from the crowd. Occasional shouts of “You’re awesome” and “you’re lively” came from the crowd between songs, and they earned a standing ovation as their set concluded.

Then the crowd was on their feet as Midnight Oil took the stage. The guy next to me had seen them live eight times, drove up from Portland after seeing them play there the night before, and planned to follow them to Vancouver, Canada the night after. The band hadn’t toured in almost twenty years and brought with them a deep musical repertoire.

The band went right into the fast paced “King Of The Mountain” to kick off their set, and lead singer Peter Garrett shook his arms by his side, very animated in his movements. He played harmonica for the second song, running all over the stage while the rest of the band rocked out, two guitarists, a bassist, and drummer. The crowd knew all the words.

On the third song in, Garrett tore up some of the setlist on the stage and tossed it to the side. “Kind of blessed and cursed that some of the issues we were singing about in a different time are still with us today,” he said, before going on a tangent about “the Bastard (aka Trump) as we call him” and how the GOP is destroying health care in our country. The crowd loved it.

Throughout the set, the whole band was very energetic and looked like they were having the time of their lives, the crowd still on their feet. Garrett did this sort of stiff dance where his elbows went up and down while his whole body kind of shimmied about. Security was on patrol making sure no one was taking photos with their phones and everyone was restricted to their seats, but the crowd didn’t seem to care, it was a big party, with huge cheers after each song.

About ten songs in, the band switched to acoustic instruments. The drummer had a snare drum on top of a bass drum with a little cymbal attached, and the next song the keyboardist has a guitar and the other guitarist joins him. The drummer played the snare with drumsticks as the two guitarists hung out with him at the front of the stage. Then it was “sing-along time,” Garrett announced, and the crowd obliged, singing and dancing in their seats.

In the middle of the third acoustic song though, the band made a quick switch back to electric, not missing a beat. Garrett removed his button-up and put on a black t-shirt with white, all-caps lettering that read “To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men,” and the band launched into “The Dead Heart,” a trumpet player coming out of the background.

During the final song, the crowd took to the aisles to dance, pump their fists, and sing along before the band left the stage and the lights went dark. A minute or two later, they returned and invited the crowd to come up front as it felt “very lonely up here,” and the crowd happily obliged. The entire theatre was on their feet, which was ironic as the singer dropped to his knees to belt out the lyrics. On the second song of the encore, he tried somewhat unsuccessfully to put a t-shirt over his protest t-shirt. After a bit of effort, he got it over his head and got some help from the side of the stage to pull it down, all while singing.

For the third and final song of the encore, the band was still at full energy and Garrett high-fived one of the many fans up front. The first encore ends and the crowd is screaming for more, so the band granted them a second. Garrett delivered a short speech welcoming everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or income before launch into a few last tracks and dancing up a storm to close out a hugely successful show.

Review and photos by Alex Crick

Midnight Oil

All Our Exes Live In Texas