Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] The DVD!

Björn Blomquist bjorn.blomquist at mbox301.swipnet.se
Wed Jun 9 12:12:30 MDT 2004

There hasn’t been that much discussion about the "Best of Both Worlds"
DVD, that one could have expected. Apart from some unlucky US fellas
waiting for the right format to arrive, I suppose that most Powderworkes
have got it by now. Maybe everyone is just busy watching it? ;-)

Anyway, I have watched it – each of the show – three times now. Plus
listened a few times to the "Oils on the Water" gig on the audio cd. So
here I go:

I definitely prefer the Goat Island gig to the one in Capitol Theatre.
The reason is simply that in 1982 the band hadn’t yet put out their best
work; of course the fantastic ’10, 9, 8
’ album was released, but ’Bird
Noises’ and ’Postcard’ are among my least favourite Oils material. Am I
the only one who thinks that the studio recording of "No time for games"
– and to a lesser extent "Lucky country" too – is BETTER than the
speeded-up live version? Well

Interesting that some of the performances in this show are the same that
appear on the ’Scream in Blue’ live album – I now understand what the
squeaking noise in "Brave faces" comes from (I thought it was something
coming out of Pete’s mouth)! Because of the aforementioned album, it is
very annoying hearing the edit in the final number "Powderworks". It’s
not even synchronised with the song’s "flow", is it? Also I wonder if
the short take of "Burnie" was performed that way, or if it was edited
too? I’m not a sucker for that kind of image "trickery" with stills and
stuff which the footage for this number presents. I want to see the
"real thing", if you know that I mean. Then the bonus clip: Title 6,
Chapter 1 for you who don’t know how to find it outside a computer. I
liked the letter from "Youth" there too (and there’s another one by Jim
elsewhere on the dvd).

Finally you can’t help wondering what has happened to the rest of the
concert footage. I supposed that they did tape the whole thing? Did they
play more nights at the same venue, or was this material from one show
only? "Armistice Day" clip on the "20,000 Watt" compilation: not the
same as this one, right?

The "extra songs" on audio only: were these from the very same concert?
Why couldn’t they have been mixed to equally good sound quality? I could
live without those tracks.

What impresses me most about this concert is that it SOUNDS very good,
in fact better than more recent concert films I have watched. (Twenty
years later nothing in this world is any better
) Congratulations to the
sound engineers both at location and to those cleaning it up for the dvd

Over to "Oils on the Water" a.k.a. Goat Island gig. This show is
interesting in a number of ways: 

1) The very unusual setting for a rock concert: a harbour in the
background. I just can’t help wondering: was this a free-entry gig? If
so, I think there should be more people there! As you watch the gig, the
sky changes from blue to black, sunshine becomes rain, early evening
turns into night time
 And it lasted only 80 minutes? Fascinating

2) This is the first time we get live material from ’Red Sails’
officially released! I have often wondered why neither ’Scream in Blue’
nor ’The Real Thing’ have got any ’Red Sails’ numbers on them. (Yes, I
know there were two clips on the "20,000 Watt R.S.L." video collection,
but one of them reappears here, and this time you get it on a CD too.)
And I wonder even more now, as it turns out that those songs worked very
well live. Especially the version of "Minutes to midnight" is great! And
"Kosciusko"... Yes, I still use the old spelling and won’t change it!
’Red Sails’ is still not my favourite Oil album, but I think that the
songs from it become more powerful live, much thanks to the sound. Here
the drums sound like drums, just compare the "Generals" intro on the
album version with Goat Island...

3) The band messes it up in "When the generals talk"! Hahaha hihihi.

4) "Giffo" in action. Nothing to argue about considering his bass
playing I think, but he hasn’t really got a singing voice as good as


1. Who is the fellow who helps out with percussion on "When the generals
talk" and plays the bass drum on "Jimmy Sharman’s boxers"? (I just ask
in case he is a Powderworker. You’ll never know

2. Who is the fellow who joins Garrett’s maniac-dancing during "Stand in
line"? He IS a Powderworker, I’d be surprised if that’s not the case!
;-) And the "Read about it" bloke should not be forgotten either. Well
done, guys! How did they manage to get up on stage in the first place?
Don’t you have any "stage guards" in Australia? But what the heck – this
was in 1985 after all. Ancient times...

3. Why were no songs from ’Species Deceases’ played? The EP must have
been released at this time? I wouldn’t have minded a "Progress" or a
"Blossom and blood" here...

4. What is Garrett raving about between the songs? His broad Aussie
accent really bugs me. I can hardly decipher a sentence besides "J J J
is ten todaaaaay..." ;-)

5. Was this an entire concert, ie. showed from start to finish? If not,
what is left out? Didn’t I read somewhere that this edition features
material not included in the original broadcast of this "JJJ 10th
Anniversary Concert", or whatever it was called?

6. Why no "Bakerman"?!? For God’s sake, there was even a brass section.

Again, the extra audio clips, the "rehearsal tapes" do not much for me.
Interesting though that they did "Lucky country" the day before instead
of "Back to the borderline". Otherwise it’s the second half of the show

Did they play a complete "rehearsal" gig too, with an audience? 

The reason that the last three numbers were selected on the "20,000
Watt" compilation – is that the fanatical on-stage maniac-dancing
Powderworkers? It’s no coincidence that "No time for games" was chosen
from the Capitol show, for the same reason I guess...

All in all, nice to have this dvd. And the audio cd is a welcome bonus,
even though I’m not overwhelmed about live recordings. The fact that
some numbers appear on both concerts is not a big problem. Let alone
that "Only the strong" is not a favourite of mine (at least it’s not
twice "Stand in line" or "Knife’s edge"), but you can never get enough
of "Short memory" and "US Forces". Can you? After all, those damn songs
are on the ’Real Thing’ live disc too, so if you say "yes" I don’t blame

I think I’m speaking for many of us when I say that a latter-day Oils
concert featuring Bones will be a very welcome DVD release in the
future. MTV Unplugged, please! And what about one from their very last

Time to finish this off.

Short memory must have a!


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