The capacity show made for a packed but breathable pit with the Pageant's tiers stuffed by stools. After the house music was cut about 10 minutes before the band took the stage, the house speakers set the tone with an organ recording that'd superbly complement a river crossing on Charon's boat. Thick spider-web backdrop marked an otherwise scarce stage setup -- all the more for Shirley Manson to seductively stalk and occasionally writhe about.
The group is immeasurably better live thanks to the overbearing guitars, a blatant baroque attack summarized in the disarming drone of "Control" and numbingly enjoyable chunk of "Only Happy When It Rains." After setting a high-water mark with the resonating "Metal Heart," the frontwoman remarked, "It's been a long time coming to return to your beautiful city...thanks for being here with us."
Manson's hold on the crowd - be it an expression of desire or idolization - proved palpable through the night. Still pale as fresh linen, Shirley one-upped the crowd's predilection for black with her obsidian heels and a collared cape. Making gratitude her theme of the night, she took an extra pause between songs to comment on an oil pastel in the crowd. A dedicated fan named Rebecca turned her painting into the memory of a lifetime when Shirley called for a Sharpie and autographed it -- "Mental," the lead singer's repeated one-word review.
With the guitars empowering the band, Butch Vig artfully conducted the sound he helped originate as a post-grunge answer. With production credits on each of the band's albums, Vig also crafted "Nevermind," "Siamese Dream," and, in an apparent heat check move, House of Pain's "Shamrocks and Shenanigans." Already timeless, Butch, a member of the La Russa Ageless All-Stars, attested to it with his flawless performance.
Prior to the encore, our redheaded muse admitted that the band was wrapping a year-long, worldwide tour in promotion of its latest release. Having opened a label, STUNVOLUME, for the effective purpose of self-releasing the first Garbage album in six years, the last week of such a tour had the foursome visibly vindicated. Championing those who stuck with the band since '95, Garbage saved "Push It" and the song that started it all, "Stupid Girl," for the encore. With the crowd loud enough to prove they genuinely needed the extra songs, the vocalist could only giggle in elation.
Automatic Systematic Habit
I Think I'm Paranoid
Blood for Poppies
Why Do You Love Me
Battle in Me
Cup of Coffee
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
As Heaven is Wide
When I Grow Up
Only Happy When It Rains