Video: Midnight Oil rocks Exxon building in Valdez protest 20 years ago this weekend

Midnight Oil at Exxon, 5/30/90

With BP’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil leak now surpassing the Exxon Valdez as the single worst oil spill in U.S. history, it’s sadly fitting that we mark Sunday’s 20th anniversary of Midnight Oil’s infamous “special guerrilla action” on the streets in front of the towering Exxon building in New York City.

On May 30, 1990, the Aussie rockers — who were in New York to play three nights at Radio City Music Hall during the Blue Sky Mining tour — pulled up in front of Exxon’s Sixth Avenue headquarters on a flatbed truck, unfurled a banner that read “Midnight Oil makes you dance, Exxon oil makes us sick” and proceeded to play a 30-minute lunch-hour set. (“I love it when the suits clap,” frontman Peter Garrett famously said.)

According to a New York Times account of the brief streetside concert, Garrett chastised Exxon for not doing more to clean up the oil that remained in Alaska’s Prince William Sound following the March 24, 1989, spill. Garrett told the crowd: ”We can’t treat the world like a garbage dump, and there’s more to life than profit and loss.”

Midnight Oil released the performance, along with press-conference and interview footage and a music video, on VHS as “Black Rain Falls” in 1990. While it’s still never been released on DVD, you can watch the entire video below.

 

Video: Midnight Oil’s “Black Rain Falls,” live in New York City, 5/30/90

 

Midnight Oil, 'Black Rain Falls'

Tracklist: Midnight Oil, “Black Rain Falls”

1. Introduction
2. “Dreamworld”
3. Interview
4. “Blue Sky Mine”
5. Press conference
6. Interview
7. “Instant Karma”
8. Press conference
9. Interview
10. “River Runs Red”
11. Interview
12. “Progress”
13. Interview
14. “Sometimes”
15. Press conference
16. Interview
17. Press conference
18. “King of the Mountain” (music video)
19. Press conference
20. “Antarctica” (over credits)

 

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