Midnight Oil 1984 – The documentary

Peter Garrett, Lead singer of Midnight Oil, Sydney, 1983

Peter Garrett, Lead singer of Midnight Oil, Sydney, 1983

MIDNIGHT OIL 1984 is the story of the sweat-soaked, hardworking rock and roll band whose music galvanised a generation of young Australians and inspired them to believe that the power of music could change the world.Featuring the biggest hits from some of their most legendary shows, the movie gives you an Access All Areas pass to see the band behind the scenes and where the action is. Feel the electric energy on stage and witness the personal struggles of the band members.These images were taken in 1983 This Documentary is playing for a very limited season at The Dendy NOW

From The New York Times


Tonight’s closing ceremony was a raucous party, evolving into a rock concert performed by Australian bands with international reputations. Australia also displayed one of its most endearing characteristics: its ability to laugh, often at itself.

Tonight’s frivolity included bicycling prawns, drag queens from the movie ”Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” and a riding lawn mower that tried to mulch a dignitary in a spoof that both sent up Australia’s suburban dream and symbolized the country’s famous antiauthoritarian streak.

The must-see TV here in Sydney became a wicked nightly satire called ”The Dream,” which imagined the Chinese synchronized-swimming routine as the story of the Mao’s Long March and which featured the unofficial mascot of the Games, a wombat named Fatso.

The Aborigine Issue

More serious issues were also given their airing, especially the marginalization of Aborigines. Reconciliation is the most politically and culturally divisive issue in Australia. The indigenous culture was featured prominently in the opening ceremony, and Freeman, the Aboriginal sprinter, lighted the Olympic caldron. Samaranch mentioned the Aborigines in both his opening and closing speeches. Such conspicuous inclusion during the Games deflated a series of planned protests.

Tonight, the Australian band Midnight Oil sang its protest song ”Beds Are Burning,” and its members wore shirts and pants printed with the word ”Sorry,” offering the symbolic apology for the treatment of Aborigines that Prime Minister John Howard has refused to do.

”We have a lot of unfinished business in terms of indigenous people,” Cashman said. ”I think the Olympics created a positive environment for reconciliation. In some sense, the organizers are ahead of public opinion. Whether any further gains take place, or this was just a feel-good thing, remains to be seen.”



Peter Garrett, Lead singer of Midnight Oil, Sydney, 1983

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Comments 1

  1. Can’t wait to see this doc tomorrow ….. saw Midnight Oil a number of times in 70s very early days, and they were a knockout. Don’t think I have ever seen so much energy on a stage. It was exhausting even watching !

    Definitely follow the 2 links in the blog post.

    The You Tube clip from the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics is extraordinary, not only for the sheer power of the Oils performance of “Beds are Burning”, but the audacity to wear ‘Sorry’ outfits on what is normally such a controlled event. And absolute magic to again see the Reg Mombassa figures towering above the celebrating athletes.

    The Guardian article is wonderful piece.

    Wishing the doco every success. This is a limited release, so don’t delay ….

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