Concert Reviews

Garbage at the Phoenix Concert Theatre

Photographs by Lee-Ann Richer.

As the Phoenix was filling to capacity you could hear comments like, “I grew up with these guys” or “I can’t wait to see them again”. The crowd seemed to me made up of long time fans and other fans that probably were still in diapers when the Scottish-American alternative rock group, Garbage, released their self-titled debut album. This album was a success, selling 4 million copies and went double platinum in the USA, UK and Australia.

Their “20 Year Queer Tour” is supporting their anniversary edition of this album, which was released in October 2015. It includes re-masters from analog tapes, B-sides that they call G-sides; for a total of 62 tracks!

Their nostalgic show started off with clips of OJ Simpson mixed with old footage of the band and early days of the internet. The crowd went into a frenzy when the band walked on stage. Lead singer Shirley Manson took her mic stand (clad in a pink boa to match her hair) and launched into “Supervixen” and “”Queer”. The energy was on 10 on stage and in the crowd volumes were a 12. She mentioned that Toronto was one of her favorite cities.

The past 20 years have given the band a lot of experience but they are fortunate that life has been kind to them. They look, sound and have the energy of youth; however, their experience shows! They haven’t lost any of their enthusiasm for live shows.

After “Girl Don’t Come” and “As Heaven Is Wide” Manson told everyone that they were “going to do a song that was our first cover, a song by The Jam, as we all love The Jam don’t we?” The song they did was “The Butterfly Collector”.

The over 15 song set list included their hit tunes “Only Happy When It Rains”, “Stupid Girl” and “#1 Crush”.

The evening ended with the encore “Kick My Ass” another cover by the late Vic Chesnutt. Shirley reflected on a tour she had done with him. “Trip My Wire” was the last of the standard songs to complete the regular set and then the last two songs (that seem to change from show to show) were “Automatic Systematic Habit” and “Push”.

The venue was sold-out which meant unless you were there fairly early, or over 6 feet tall, you might have had a bit of difficulty seeing the stage. My advice is show up well before doors open, and enjoy the vibe of the crowd. If the crowds are overwhelming, there is a very spacious lounge with comfortable seats. My wish is that the lounge had a video monitor to see the band.

Everyone seemed completely happy that they had had their fill of Garbage!

Thanks to Live Nation Ontario for media access.

About author

Concert reviewer at Live in Limbo.