Midnight Oil 1984: Rocking the voteby Russell Baillie
An energetic documentary traces a pivotal and political year in the Australian band’s life.
Midnight Oil 1984 attempts to capture the band’s pivotal and political year, armed with hitherto-unused film that director Ray Argall shot on tour. There’s plenty of exciting live footage, with Garrett dancing like Basil Fawlty attempting to direct an airliner to its gate, along with reminders of what a forceful live entity the Oils were before the 1987 international breakthrough of the Diesel and Dust album.
But the time-capsule approach, which also includes footage of Garrett’s strident early outings as a political campaigner and contemporary interviews, makes this feel a bit half-pie – it’s neither a great concert film nor a particularly revealing rockumentary.
Still, fans who packed arenas during Midnight Oil’s reunion tour of New Zealand last year will find plenty of nostalgic wattage in how the film captures the nervy energy of the Power and the Passion period.
Video: Madman Films
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This article was first published in the August 11, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
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