Garbage returned to the Kings Theatre on October 27th in Brooklyn, NY to close out their North American celebration of the 20th anniversary of their sophomore album 1998’s Version 2.0. Similar to their self-titled debut two-decade celebration back in 2015, vocalist Shirley Manson brought the record to life by wearing the same color scheme as the cover artwork as she went from pink to orange. However, the group delivered the album differently than their debut commemoration by mixing up the order as well as including b-sides, rarities, and cover songs. These alternative rockers have always been a class of their own as they’ve managed to unite fans from all over the musical spectrum and this evening was no different.
The group made a unique choice to open the set with two b-side tracks, “Afterglow” and “Deadwood.” It was unexpected and possibly chosen to keep the concertgoers on their toes. Once the Version 2.0 opener “Temptation Waits” rolled in, the vibe of the room changed as the crowd heavily moved along with it. Shirley continued to interact with her fans as she expressed her gratitude for the popular demand of the second LP twenty years later as she went into “Wicked Ways,” with part of a snippet of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” and then moved into “Special.” Garbage switched up the set again as they went into the 1999 James Bond theme song “The World Is Not Enough.”
As the lights continued to flicker along with audio clippings of pop culture references from the nineties, the set continued with “13X Forever” followed by a brief The Kinks cover of “Tired of Waiting For You.” It was a mixed-up performance as no one was able to predict which song would be next as they went into “Get Busy With the Fizzy,” “Hammering in My Head,” to the emotional “Medication.” The group’s overall twenty-five-year history together was shown that night as they also provided a piece of music history by going into the Big Star cover of “Thirteen,” and The Seeds’ “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine.” Shirley introduced the Big Star track explaining how the group was a significant influence on bands such as Nirvana.
The headbangers in the venue appeared when the band powered into “I Think I’m Paranoid” followed by “Sleep Together,” “Dumb,” a partial Siouxsie & The Banshees snippet of “Happy House,” “Soldier Through This,” and “Lick the Pavement.” As the night was wrapping up, Garbage saved the best for almost last with “Push It” and “When I Grow Up.” Shirley effortlessly engaged with the audience as well as given the concertgoers a chance to sing along to each tune.
Unfortunately, there were times when Shirley’s frustration with her in-ear monitors came out as she growled into the microphone at one point. However, her short growl was pitch perfect, which could make one wonder what she would sound like in bands such as Arch Enemy. It was a brief moment, but when the night was nearly complete, the group had to cut the performance of their latest single “No Horses” short due to the technical difficulties. The group pushed through the technical obstacles as drummer Butch Vig walked to the front of the stage to ask the audience what song they wanted to hear. Vig picked up fans requesting “#1 Crush” and asked for Shirley’s approval and soon broke into the classic track. Ultimately, the band closed the night with “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!” taken from 2001’s Beautiful Garbage. Shirley thanked the crowd and shouted the year “2020,” suspecting that will be when their next tour or album will arrive.
After 25 years together, Garbage still has it and delivers a set for all to enjoy. It was a unique experience to see them perform their second record in its entirety and probably could have panned out slightly better if they did go in order. While we missed hearing a few debut classics or a bit from their latest effort 2016’s Strange Little Birds, and everything in between; the audience left the Kings Theatre happy with an extra feeling of refreshing, nostalgic sentiments.