Peter Garrett performs with Midnight Oil on March 12, 2009

Australian Environmental Minister Peter Garrett hung up his suit and tie and returned to more familiar environs —the concert stage — this week to front Midnight Oil at his former band’s first gigs since 2005.

The Aussie rockers played warm-up shows at the Canberra Theatre on Thursday and Friday, followed by a headlining set at one of today’s two Sound Relief stadium concerts, staged to benefit the victims of Australia’s devastating bushfires.

Prior to this week, Midnight Oil had last performed at 2005’s WaveAid, a concert to raise funds for the victims of the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

“A cabinet minister going back to being a rock musician — surely that’s a world first,” Oils drummer Rob Hirst joked before the band took the stage today at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, according to Billboard.

Today’s simultaneous Sound Relief shows, in Melbourne and Sydney, featured sets by Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Hoodoo Gurus, Jack Johnson and Wolfmother — plus a reunion of Split Enz, the first concert appearance by Hunters & Collectors in 11 years and a surprise set by Crowded House.

The Oils-headlined Melbourne show was soaked in rain, and found some musicians wrestling with sensitivity issues, Billboard reports:

Kings Of Leon, who played a sell-out show at the Rod Laver Arena later that night, opted not to play their chart-topping “Sex On Fire.” Singer Caleb Followill explained, “We know it’s a sensitive thing so we aren’t playing that song.” But Midnight Oil included “Beds Are Burning” in their set. “These songs stand in their own right, they stand in their own time,” singer Peter Garrett told media backstage.

The setlist for the Sound Relief show, as well as the first Canberra warm-up gig, is below. And you can hear today’s set for yourself, thanks to the Mixing Desk Live Music Archive, which has posted for download the FM broadcast of the Oils set.

Setlist: Midnight Oil, Sound Relief, Melbourne Cricket Ground, March 14, 2009

“Redneck Wonderland”
“Read About It”
“Blue Sky Mine”
“Advance Australia Fair”
“One Country”
“Beds Are Burning”
“King Of The Mountain”
“The Dead Heart”
“The Power and The Passion”
“Best of Both Worlds”
“Sometimes”

More coverage of Sound Relief:

Video: Midnight Oil, Canberra Theatre, March 13, 2009

Setlist: Midnight Oil, Canberra Theatre, March 12, 2009

“Redneck Wonderland”
“Brave Faces”
“Dreamworld”
“Under The Overpass:
“Blue Sky Mine”
“Only The Strong”
“When The Generals Talk”
“Golden Age”
“Read About It”
“River Runs Red”
“Bullroarer”
“Power and the Passion”
“One Country”
“Luritja Way”
“King of the Mountain”
“Dead Heart”
“Beds are Burning”
“Best of Both Worlds”

“Truganini”
“Too Much Sunshine”
“Forgotten Years”

“In The Valley”
“Sometimes”

 

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