Because Garbage and their music has become a bit of a cornerstone of my life, I went to their concert this week, and it was the first concert I’ve ever been to. And oh!, what an experience it was! I’m so glad I went, even if some of it didn’t turn out as expected.
Garbage has had a fair influence in my life. Their albums were the first CDs I ever bought, and buying them got me into buying CDs. Their album BeautifulGarbage got me through the first few years of high school. I’d come home after a bad day if I’d been bullied or victimised or if something had just made me angry, and I’d listen to the album from start to finish.
Naturally Garbage is on my list of bands to see (before I die), along with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Little Birdy. I want to really, truly experience these bands. So I was devastated when Garbage went on hiatus but totally stoked when they came back. I bought tickets to their concert in Melbourne the morning they were released.
This was going to be the first concert I’d ever been to. I was really excited in a way, but also totally nervous. I didn’t know what to expect from a concert, because I’d never been before. I’d talked to a few people about their experiences, but none seemed to have be quite the same setup as this :general admission with mixed standing room and booth seating. The show was sold out, thus I was worried that it would be so packed you couldn’t move and there’s be moshing and crazy violent idiots. I didn’t know how I should act or what I might need to plan for. As it grew closer, I grew more worried, almost to dreading it. Before I left home, I felt a churning in my stomach like I was off to an unknown fate.
I ended up going with my Dad, who actually doesn’t particularly like Garbage, but didn’t want me to go alone and didn’t want to stop me from going. He wasn’t a stick in the mud, but I’ll be honest, he didn’t get into it that much. We had some dinner in the city, and them got to the Forum in good time. Time enough to wait in line for nearly an hour before going inside. When we got in, we found the open area out the front of the stage was larger than I had thought so we decided to park ourselves towards one of the back corners of the space. It seemed like a good spot, not so close to get squashed but with a solid view still.
Before Garbage came on, this little Melbourne-based band called Private Life came out as a warm-up act. I’d never heard of them before, and they weren’t even the band that was listed on the ticket (which was The Dear Hunter who I’d never heard of either). They didn’t get much love from the crowd, who seemed to just clap out of politeness when they finished each song. There were a few people who were bopping along to the music, of which I was one, but mostly they got ignored. I actually quite liked some of their music, particularly their last song Follow the Sun. The only problem was they only played about 5 or 6 songs, meaning they finish so long before Garbage began that everything had “cooled down” by then.
It felt like an eternity before Garbage actually came out and started playing. But once they did, it was pretty amazing. The crowd went crazy when Butch Vig came out, and got even loader when Shirley Manson appeared. Steve Marker and Duke Erikson didn’t receive as rapturous applause, which was unfair. And although everyone was beginning to show their age at least a little, they still performed incredibly. The band was also join onstage by Eric Avery playing guitar, who stood near the back the whole time. But he didn’t just play a little; he seemed to play a lot.
Having never been to a concert before, I didn’t know what exactly to expect from the experience. I had heard that live is the only true way to experience any music, and now I see why. There were so many extra elements that came across with Garbage playing in person. The thing I noticed most was the passion in the songs was so much stronger and more defined than on a recording. The emotion in Shirley’s voice is so much more powerful when heard live, and accompanied by her actions up on stage. She also added a fair amount more swearing, so that helped her get her point across too. The whole band gave a much more intense performance than on a CD. And while you don’t get the nice, crisp, defined sound that I usually like, where you can easily distinguish each musical element, nothing seems lost. You didn’t necessarily hear every word more clearly, but it all seemed to mean a lot more, and the meaning was conveyed more clearly.
So, between my memories, recordings and a set list some people posted online, I have reconstructed the set list for you below, with a few extra details and links to videos of any of the performances on YouTube (**Warning: some may contain swearing**).
- Spooky electro intro – it sounded a bit like a cross between a hawk scream and a bull horn, but dubstep’t
- Supervixen – This was the perfect song to kick it off with because the moment you heard that opening guitar riff you knew exactly who you were listening to.
- Blood for Poppies – Didn’t get as strong a response from the audience as the last two songs, probably because it’s from the new album.
- Push It – The first track that really got the crowd jumping, quite literally. The whole thing just exploded with reaching arms and people singing along.- http://youtu.be/rjy_zvlM_y4
- Metal Heart – http://youtu.be/qlRe8emkXPg
- Shirley had a bit of a funny moment as she said hello to the crowd – http://youtu.be/V2ADuZz8Lfk
- Why Do You Love Me – At the section that goes “I get back up and I do it again”, Shirley did the classic fake dying act, lying on the ground, slowly trying to get up along with the music.
- #1 Crush -Shirley described this song as “the most romantic song we’ve ever written” – http://youtu.be/QWZYs3ZZFQg
- I Think I’m Paranoid – Dedicated to Sue Gudinski – http://youtu.be/rV-9wPYJcAE
- I Hate Love – This song normally end with a distorted voice saying “Can you call me? Can you call me back?”, which Shirley extended on to emphasis the pity and anger that this song is about.
- Milk – I usually don’t like this song, but every song is better live. Even this one.
- Man on a Wire – Dedicated to “anyone whose ever been told they couldn’t do it”
- When I Grow Up – This song only comprised of the chorus and filler lyrics because Shirley screwed up, and then got lost, half way through the first verse. Duke tried to help her find her place, but it didn’t work so the audience sang for most of the time, just looping between “When I grow up…” and “Ba baba ba…”. It was actually really funny.
- The Trick Is to Keep Breathing – Shirley segued into this song from the last one by saying that “as you get older, you stop giving a f***”, and that the trick was to keep breathing.
- Cup of Coffee – Because of the stuff up, Shirley decided to deviate from the original setlist, and offered the audience the option of hearing The World Is Not Enough or Garbage’s “most tragic song ever,” Cup Of Coffee. – http://youtu.be/EpJMCh1Jd2s
- Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!) – http://youtu.be/-xb4K3q29AM
- Only Happy When It Rains
- Vow – I pretty much totally missed hearing this song, as I had to run to the bathroom, for fear of puking. Apparently eating a big dinner, then standing in front of large speakers playing very loud music and jumping up and down a bit will make you sick. Who knew?!
- You Look So Fine – I missed most of this one too, for the above reason. I just got back to hear the end, which was extended, and I could tell I’d missed something good.
- Special – I also missed the start of this one, but not for fear of puking this time. No, this time I actually did puke. I didn’t make it all the way to the bathroom, but I didn’t get it on me, so that was an achievement. Shirley concluded this song with a vocal solo.
- Stupid Girl – http://youtu.be/6vGSuVM4ZQI
- Shirley thanked the crowd and said goodbye – http://youtu.be/EP_kIFdNdmE
- Beloved Freak
I guess it just wouldn’t have been a proper concert if you didn’t get to see someone throw up. Why that person had to be me, I don’t know. Despite that,I had a really good time. I really enjoyed the whole experience. I’d happily go to another concert and would love to see Garbage again. Hopefully they’re that good next time too.
Well, that was a mammoth post! If you want, you can let me know what you thought of it in the comment box down below. Or maybe you can tell me what the first concert you ever went to was. Or if you’ve never been to one, tell me what you want it to be. Oh, and hey, if you’ve got any ideas for a blog topic, like a tech question you want answered, throw that in the comments too, or drop me a line via the Contact Me page. I’ll be super-happy to hear from you.
From your Friendly Neighbourhood
- Review: Not Your Kind Of People – Garbage (nitemice.wordpress.com)
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