By John Curley
There are many female vocalists in the world. But there is only one Shirley Manson.
Manson dominates the stage like few other lead vocalists can. She was the focal point at Garbage’s fantastic show at New York City’s Terminal 5 on Friday, March 22nd. And the band were firing on all cylinders, making Garbage sound better now, in the second year of their comeback, than they did during their late 1990s/early 2000s heyday. In addition to Manson on lead vocals, Garbage are comprised of Steve Marker and Duke Erikson on guitars and Butch Vig on drums. They are augmented by bassist Eric Avery, formerly of Jane’s Addiction. Erikson and Avery also played keyboards at different points during the show.
Kicking off the show with a propulsive version of “Push It,” Manson and Garbage soon had the crowd under their spell. There were some unfortunate technical difficulties early in the set, but Manson, clad all in black, filled the time capably by speaking to the crowd until the issues were sorted out. During one of these breaks, Manson chided Avery for leaving the band at the end of this North American tour to join Nine Inch Nails’ touring band. Manson joked that she was going to give Trent Reznor a tongue lashing about that.
The sold-out crowd at the show was quite raucous, and Manson and the band seemed to delight in that. Many in the crowd held up signs. One audience member gave a bouquet of flowers to Manson, which she accepted herself by leaning precariously over the security pit in front of the stage. The audience made quite a bit of noise throughout Garbage’s two-hour set. It was quite clear that the crowd was very happy that Garbage has reformed and produced a great comeback album, 2012’s Not Your Kind Of People.
There were many highlights during the 18-song main set. Opening the show with an amazing version of “Push It” was a genius move. “Automatic Systematic Habit” from the latest album was a real gem. “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)” received a huge reaction from the crowd. And the guitar work of Marker and Erikson on “Only Happy When It Rains” was terrific.
But the most amazing part of the concert took place at the start of the encore. Marissa Paternoster, guitarist/vocalist with the New Jersey-based band Screaming Females, joined Garbage on the stage for a scintillating take on Patti Smith’s “Because The Night” (which Smith co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen). Manson and Paternoster traded off on the lead vocal part. And Paternoster’s guitar work on the song was a sight to behold. Her guitar battle with Marker during the song was one of those great music moments where two musicians are so in synch that they seem like they’re playing just for the benefit of each other. It was jaw dropping, and Paternoster and Garbage received a massive ovation from the crowd when the performance of the song concluded. (Garbage and Screaming Females teamed up for a recording of “Because The Night” that will be available for Record Store Day on April 20th.)
The show came to a conclusion with Duke Erikson’s solo performance of “Thank You Honey Bun.” The rest of the band then came back onto the stage to join Erikson for a final bow as the crowd roared for more. This was one of those incredible concerts that you never wanted to end.
Garbage’s tour for Not Your Kind Of People is one of the must-see shows of the year. The North American tour concludes on April 12th with a date in Las Vegas. Give their tour dates a look and catch them live if you have the opportunity. They are still one of the best live acts around.
Garbage’s setlist at Terminal 5 in New York City on Friday, March 22nd was as follows:
Automatic Systematic Habit
Hammering In My Head
Blood For Poppies
Why Do You Love Me
I Think I’m Paranoid
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)
Cup Of Coffee
Only Happy When It Rains
Because The Night (cover of Patti Smith song performed with Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females)
When I Grow Up
You Look So Fine
Thank You Honey Bun (Duke Erikson solo performance)