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The Amber Fresh Chronicles

You're the Voice: Midnight Oil at Fremantle Arts Centre, Oct 2017

Andrew Ryan

Midnight Oil - EDM.jpg

I've got this voice. I was calling it by a certain name and the psych said "Let's just call it intuition. That's more socially acceptable." I said "Ok."

The voice tells me where to go and when, what side of the street to be on, how to manage the affairs of life, being my own being and how to love, in ways that predict the future - yeah, not that socially acceptable to say.

Alice Coltrane must have had the Voice when she was playing on Journey to Satchidananda, and Nina Simone must have had the Voice when she said "Ain't got no god, ain't got no money, but I've got my face," in a summary way of remembering the words of that song.

Well, I don't know if Peter Garrett has the Voice, but the Midnight Oils are some expression of the spirit of that voice, speaking loudly and with a true australian vernacular - spectacular.  

We climbed around fences and between bushes and "weeds" - no such thing - to get close without a ticket, with a few hundred of the other fremantle legends, not committing enough to re-swap their time for money, but committing enough to mix music and adventure.

We had a good salad made, things were grated and chopped finely because more surface area means more flavour. The Midnight Oil flavour was spreading out far beyond the fences they were behind, and as I looked up I felt this expression: "The moon approves". Cheesy, but it was true.

All the songs at the beginning were all psychedelic and bowie-ey, it was not the straight desert tones we were expecting. It was the tones of american mushrooms or many pedals, or music you could put a flute on top of if you really wanted. It was delux, and unaustralian, in the lovely way we all should be unaustralian, and then it turned to become AUSSIE, in the way we would all want to be AUSSIE. I didn't know all the words to all the hits, but the blonde woman in uggboots(™) sitting in the vacant lot dirt and rocks behind us, leaning into her man and charging ciggies, did.

Dead Heart. The Power and The Passion. Peter Garrett talking and moving like the only politician you would ever want to open their damn mouth. All this filled me with sadness for our world and some big feeling also of rightness and hope. And then sadness, the Oils burning through the atmosphere as they fly the globe trying against that hope to get people to wake up on the edge of a dying reef.

I looked up and all the trees were moving too. Animate, feeling, they loved the old stuff and the new stuff.

And the sense of pride grows when you're from Freo/Walyalup. The sixty year olds here probably only have one investment property, they're supple in yoga class, they greet each other on the dog beach and all vote for Brad Pettit for Mayor instead of the sister-in-law of Twiggy Forrest, and they rock up to the Oils at the Freo Arts Centre instead of at Perth Arena, for the show where all the money is going to help the campaign against mining in Exmouth, and they don't pay to go in.

"That was HUGE." The man in a doccers beanine and scarf said to the man in an eagles scarf, both with ratty grey hair "I'm never paying for a ticket again!" We were all on the outside of the fences by choice. Our compatriots on the inside of the fences by choice, Peter Garrett being just one only loud voice against pillage of the dying earth in our country - how can technology save us now - and amnesia of country, his words - aside from when they are mixed in the party political - being a stream of consciousness of that other Voice… It was an amazing show, even though we only glimpsed it through the moonlight and the trees.


These people won't listen to you, but call them anyway:

Call the Prime Minister‘s office at Parliament House on (02) 6277 7700.

Send written correspondence to the Prime Minister at Parliament House here.

Call Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, on (02) 6277 7860.

Call Julie Bishop, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Parliament House on (02) 6277 750o.