Concert Review: Garbage @ Hard Rock Rocksino

Written by on October 22, 2018

The year was 1998.  Legendary crooner Frank Sinatra left the mortal coil, Google came into existence, and the alternative band, Garbage, released their sophomore album, Version 2.0.  When I first heard this album, I instantly became a fan of Garbage.  A year later, I saw them for the first time in concert. Thanks to being a member of Marshall University’s Student Activities Programming Board, I met Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Steve Marker, and Duke Erikson, collectively known as Garbage, backstage before the concert.  For years, I thought nothing would top that fateful meeting, but I was wrong.

The last time I saw Garbage in concert was April 2013, when I lived in Las Vegas.  I just started out with my concert photography and was hoping to photograph the band, but, that night, it was not meant to be.

Finally, on Thursday, October 18, 2018, almost 19 years after seeing Garbage in concert for the first time, I attended Garbage’s “20 Years Paranoid” concert at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield, Ohio.  In celebration of Version 2.0’s 20th anniversary, the band played all of the songs and B-sides from the album.  Interspersed between the songs, lead singer, Shirley Manson would talk to the audience about stories associated with certain songs.  

As a segue way to Big Star’s “Thirteen”, Manson told a story when she was a kid she loved watching American television shows like “Starsky and Hutch” and “Charlie’s Angels.”  Shirley’s mom reminded her that when she was seven, she said she was going to marry a brown eyed American. As it turned out, Manson married producer, Billy Bush, who is a brown eyed American.  Manson concluded by saying, “Anything is possible.”

There were also nods to other artists’ songs throughout the night as well.  In the middle of their song, “Temptation Waits,” the band played a sample of Depeche Mode’s hit, “Personal Jesus.”  At the end of “Sleep Together,” Manson sang a line from Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never.” The regular show ended with the song “You Look So Fine,” which is the last song on Version 2.0.  To close out the song, Manson sang a portion of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

One of things that Manson mentioned was a review from the previous night’s show in Chicago.  She told about even though her father warned her to never read the reviews, she read one and the reviewer said she talked too much during the set.  When Manson said this, the fans booed and for good reason. Anyone who has previously attended a Garbage concert will tell you that one of the best things about the concert is that Manson talks to her fans like they are her friends.  Whether it is something about sex (“This is a song about eating pussy,” Manson said about the song “Lick the Pavement.”) or the band’s devotion to their fans (Manson dedicated the last song of the encore, “Cherry Lips,” to the LGBTQ community who she said has stuck by the band from the beginning), Manson uses these little dialogues to connect with the loyal fans.

This was my fourth time seeing Garbage live and they are just as great, if not better than the first time I saw them.  I am eagerly awaiting whatever comes next with them especially a possible “20 Years Beautiful” tour in 2021 to mark the 20th anniversary of their third album, Beautiful Garbage.”

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