The Australian alternative rock band is playing the Sound Relief concert March 14 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, with proceeds going to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire relief.

Australia’s worst wildfires, which occurred in February, killed more than 210 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Midnight Oil played Canberra’s Royal Theatre March 12 as a warm-up gig, with proceeds going towards promoting and staging the Melbourne concert, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

After breaking up in 2002 after 26 years so Garrett could pursue a career in politics, Midnight Oil last played together at another benefit – 2005’s Wave Aid concert which raised funds to help victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

It’s no surprise that a benefit concert would once again bring the band back together for a couple of nights because Midnight Oil was once known as champions of Aboriginal rights and the environment. One example was the band’s 1990 concert outside the New York headquarters of Exxon Mobil Corp. to protest the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Some fans were worried Midnight Oil would censor its antiestablishment songs at the warm-up shows and Sound Relief concert because Garrett has kept his former views under wraps for the most part since becoming a minister. This is the first time Midnight Oil has played a show since Garrett became a minister as part of the Labor Party.

“Can Midnight Oil field 20 whole minutes of material that wouldn’t get Mr. Garrett sacked if he were to read it out in Parliament rather than shrieking it while twitching violently to guitar music?” Sydney Morning Herald columnist Annabel Crabb wrote recently.

Garrett said he didn’t fully understand why there was so much interest in the songs the band was planning to play.

“We won’t be choosing songs on the basis of whether or not they’re considered by political commentators to be political songs or not, we’ll play songs for the fans,” he told Australian Associated Press Wednesday.

At the March 12 show, Midnight Oil played “Blue Sky Mine,” a song about asbestos miners suffering lung disease, and the anti-establishment and anti-war songs “When the Generals Talk” and “Read About It,” according to the Herald.

Although the former frontman didn’t give the audience any political sermons like the concerts of yore, Garrett did tell the crowd, “It was a good thing we said sorry,” after playing “Dead Heat,” a tune about Aboriginal land rights, according to the Canberra Times.

The Sound Relief concert will also features artists including Augie March, Bliss N Eso with Paris Wells, Gabriella Cilmi, Hunters & Collectors, Jack Johnson, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson with Troy Cassar-Daley, Kings Of Leon, Liam Finn, Jet, Paul Kelly, Split Enz and Wolfmother, according to the event’s Web site.

Coldplay is headlining another bushfire benefit concert March 14 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney.

Click here for more information about Sound Relief.

Read the AP story here.

Read the Canberra Times article here.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald article here.