Tuesday, July 19, 2011
At the 1988 Masonic Temple show in Detroit, the opening act was Graffiti Man, a.k.a. John Trudell. Trudell has an impressive history as a Native American activist, so in that regard his pairing with the politically involved Midnight Oil makes sense. However, the crowd was not receptive to his blend of poetry and traditional instrumentation, and at one point, Trudell tried to calm then down by saying "peace, man" while holding his fingers in that famous hippie V.
Peter Garrett is a very tall, thin fellow with a shaved head, so he definitely makes an impression onstage. He wore something like coveralls and danced in herky-jerky motions. Although he has a somewhat intimidating look, his stage presence was very sweet and cheerful. Midnight Oil was a very good live band, so it's a shame they very rarely perform anymore. Rather, Garrett has served as a Member of Australia's House of Representatives for several years, working on environmental, education, and arts issues.
Although I haven't seen Midnight Oil since 1990, I did see Peter Garrett once in the early 2000s, before Midnight Oil stopped touring. He was eating alone in a diner I frequented during my lunch breaks when I first moved to Chicago; the band had played a couple doors down at House of Blues the previous night. Of course I recognized him (you can't miss that guy) but I left him to eat in peace.