The Vic Theatre
May 18, 2017
The glorious roar and jangle of Midnight Oil’s twin guitars and the band’s righteous fury have been sorely missed by many fans in Chicago since their last date here in 2002, when the group headlined Taste of Chicago in support of the Capricornia album. The politically-charged Australian quintet was forced into idle when Peter Garrett left for a career of public service in his country’s parliament. But on Thursday night they were back, larger than life and absolutely ferocious.
Recent set lists have shown how deeply Midnight Oil dug into its catalog to prepare for The Great Circle 2017 world tour. With well over a hundred songs apparently at the ready, the Chicago audience got the first performance of a very special treat.
The set began with a moody, red-lit “Outside World.” During an intense performance of the politically scathing “Short Memory,” birthday boy Jim Moginie alternated between jazz-inflected piano and a brooding synthesizer lead reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” Afterward, Garrett noted, “The things we were writing and singing about then have got this strange habit of meaning as much today as they did when they were first recorded.”
A buzz began traveling the room as it dawned upon longtime fans what was happening. Before launching into “US Forces,” the silver-tongued, fast-talking Garrett revealed the plan. “We’re like an endangered species of mollusk, or Australian mole that slowly makes its way under the ocean floor of the South Pacific to pop up beneath the Great Lakes and play the whole of 10-to-1 for you,” he announced to ecstatic cheers. The band continued, performing mainstays from 1982’s 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 like “Read About It” in addition to rarely-aired songs “Scream in Blue” and “Somebody’s Trying to Tell Me Something.” During…