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review: Garbage played ‘Version 2.0′ & b-sides in Brooklyn for 20th anniversary

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Garbage wrapped up the 20th anniversary tour for their classic sophomore album Version 2.0 at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre last night (10/27), and the tour went out with a bang. They played every song on the album, but like at the previous tour stops, they opted to not play it start to finish but to instead mix it up with b-sides, rarities, and covers from the era, almost all of which were compiled on the new expanded Version 2.0 reissue. (Other than their 1999 Bond theme “The World Is Not Enough,” every song in the main set is on that reissue. The encore also included recent single “No Horses,” which was cut off early due to technical difficulties, b-side from their self-titled era “#1 Crush,” which was a fan request, and “Cherry Lips” from Beautiful Garbage.)

They opened up with two of the b-sides, “Afterglow” and “Deadwood,” which sorta eased the band and the crowd into the show gradually, but then things kicked into full gear with Version 2.0 opener “Temptation Waits.” All of a sudden, the band seemed more engaged, and the crowd was singing more loudly. Hearing that album opener made for a rush of nostalgia, but it was also a reminder of how timeless the Version 2.0 songs still sound today. Shirley Manson talked more than once about how not only were they surprised and grateful that Version 2.0 took off when it came out, but about how they truly never could’ve guessed there would be demand for it 20 years later. There certainly is, and Shirley and the rest of the band had no trouble satisfying that demand. Shirley is still a total rock star and had the crowd in the palms of her hands the entire show, whether she was belting a classic chorus or delivering her entertaining stage banter, which varied between funny, socially conscious, and emotionally powerful.

Of the rarities, the biggest highlights for me were the two covers, Big Star’s “Thirteen” and The Seeds’ “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine.” Introducing the Big Star cover, Shirley talked about how glad she is now that they had the thought to record that one 20 years ago, and clearly was urging Garbage fans to check out Big Star if they haven’t already. “If you don’t know Big Star, they’re a band who influenced Teenage Fanclub and Nirvana and Primal Scream… we’re just one of the many,” she said. As on the recorded version, Garbage really made it sound like their own song while keeping the charm of the original intact. Guitarist/keyboardist Duke Erikson introduced the Seeds cover — he’s less of an on-stage storyteller but you could tell from his brief introduction that he has a ton of admiration for the band — and Garbage also did a ton of justice to that one, keeping with its ’60s psych vibe by using an overload of vibrato guitar. That one ended with Duke and Shirley on either side of his keyboard, both messing around and hitting random keys. They were clearly having fun up there, and it was fun to watch too. Aside from those two full covers, Garbage also worked bits of songs that presumably influenced them into their own songs. They did part of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” during “Wicked Ways,” part of The Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting For You” during “13x Forever,” part of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Happy House” during “Dumb,” and a dark, gothy rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” at the end of set closer (and Version 2.0 closer) “You Look So Fine.” (Not to mention the “Don’t Worry Baby” interpolation in “Push It” which is of course part of the studio version too.)

It was a cool concept to make this set not just Version 2.0 but also most other songs from their repertoire during that era, though it was really the album tracks where Garbage felt and sounded the most powerful. The performance of ballad “Medication” was sweeping and emotional. While Shirley was often the center of attention, the hard-hitting instrumentals of “Hammering In My Head” gave other band members the chance to step to the front of the stage and rock out. And hits like “Special,” “I Think I’m Paranoid” and “When I Grow Up” had the whole theater feeling lively and united as one and like we were all back in 1998 for just one night. My only real complaint is that, during the bigger songs like those, Shirley would too frequently stop singing and point the mic at the audience. The room was too big and not enough people were loudly singing for it to work, and really we all just want to hear her — her voice is in the same incredible shape it was 20 years ago and that’s worth celebrating. Minor quibbles aside, it was a great show and a great opportunity to hear all these 1998 faves that you wouldn’t hear at a normal Garbage show. (To compare, their NYC show last year had just three Version 2.0 songs.)

We didn’t get pictures last night, but we previously posted pictures of the Chicago show and the other NYC-area show at Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre. Check out a gallery of pics from Port Chester, along with videos and the setlist of the Brooklyn show, below.

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Garbage at Kings Theatre – 10/27/18 Setlist (via)
Afterglow
Deadwood
Temptation Waits
Wicked Ways (with Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode snippet)
Special
The World Is Not Enough
13x Forever (with Tired Of Waiting For You by The Kinks snippet)
Get Busy With the Fizzy
Hammering in My Head
Medication
Thirteen (Big Star cover)
Can’t Seem to Make You Mine (The Seeds cover)
I Think I’m Paranoid
Sleep Together
Dumb (with Happy House by Siouxsie & the Banshees snippet)
Soldier Through This
Lick the Pavement
Push It
When I Grow Up
You Look So Fine (with Dreams by Fleetwood Mac snippet)

Encore:
The Trick Is to Keep Breathing
No Horses (aborted due to issues with Shirley’s in-ear monitors)
#1 Crush (Fan request)
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)

Garbage at the Capitol Theatre:

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