At Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K., September 12, 2018

GARBAGE (Live at Northumbria University, Newcastle, U.K., September 12, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

You know you are getting old when a band that you consider “new” celebrates the 20th anniversary of their second album and you start to realise that the ’90s are not just a couple of years ago. Where did all of those years go?

Alternative Rockers, Garbage broke through with their 1995 self-titled debut album together with a string of hits including Stupid Girl and Only Happy When It Rains successfully crossing over into the Pop, Rock and Indie markets. The follow up Version 2.0 was even more successful giving the band their first UK Number 1 album, selling 4 million copies worldwide. 2018 marks its 20th anniversary and Garbage hit the road to celebrate.

It’s hard to believe that tonight’s show at Northumbria University is their first ever show in Newcastle or maybe time is playing tricks on the old memory. Whatever, the hall was absolutely packed as Shirley Manson strolled onto the stage for Afterglow.

Those of an observant nature will notice that Afterglow is not actually on Version 2.0. This was clearly not going to be the usual run through a classic album followed by a few hits at the end which seems the popular approach these days. No, this was going to celebrate that landmark album properly and fully by playing the whole album, but not in order, together with all of the B-Sides, bonus tracks and deluxe edition tracks and Garbage duly delivered with every track bar one related to that release.

While initially the focus of Garbage was on drummer Butch Vig due to the huge success he had producing Nirvana’s Nevermind, attention soon switched to the striking Scot, Shirley Manson, petit in stature but towering in personality. Tonight, she was certainly striking with her hair pulled back into a couple of startling bunches and a red stripe across her eyes together with glitter encrusted Doc Marten’s.

Vocally she sounded great as she stalked across the stage with B-Sides Deadwood and Get Busy With Fizzy mixed up alongside the album tracks Temptation Waits and Special with it’s nod towards The Pretenders.

The excellent covers of The Seeds Can’t Seem To Make You Mine and a wonderful Thirteen, that Big Star proclaim as the best cover of one of their songs, sounded radiant but it was the hits that really set the party going with Push It and an incendiary I Think I’m Paranoid sparking the crowd into a frenzy.

The only none Version 2.0 song was the Bond Theme, The World Is Not Enough, that had Manson’s voice soaring to the stars proving what a great choice it was for the movie.

The great strength of Garbage was their ability to reach out across the genres and Dumb epitomised that combing a strong Rock riff with a dub dance beat in a way few others could match.

After the whole of the album and all of its extra tracks were played there was only one place to go to close the show, a sparkling cover of Bowie’s Star Man. A fitting end to great birthday party.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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