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Garbage
May 16, 2002
Verizon Wireless Theater - Houston, TX

Sara Samora
Senior Editor
Shirley Manson (picture by Eddie Ferranti)

It is the concert in which I counted the days and the one I long awaited. For the first time that night, I would be experiencing the phenomenal band that had took me so long to notice, yet never too late not to: Garbage.

I have never seen Garbage live before, so I can not compare, or work the before-and-after outline. I can only base it on hear-say and the songs by ear, from past albums and the present, the astounding beautifulgarbage.

Perhaps in past tours, lead singer Shirley Manson's vocals display the raw, hard sound such as she did in Garbage and Version 2.0. Seducing and wrapping her vocals around songs such as Temptation Waits, Push It and Supervixen. Nevertheless, not only did the live set differ from the recordings (except if you're Britney Spears) as usual, some of these songs have had the total transformation. Again, the group dared to explore and experiment with different sounds, the mad scientists they are.

The vibe Manson gives is different than what you may have seen before, whether you've seen the performances on television shows or in previous tours: a whole new album and a whole new look. Bleached blonde hair (buzz cut, might I add), and make up that appears to be of natural tones, shows that she and the band are in charge of their own music, their own words and physical appearance.

However, the music speaks for itself, louder than bright neon colors of yellow, orange and hot pink. The show began with Push It, which burst with strong stir toward the audience. Three more songs off their second album followed, each rendering with it's own substance. Manson's vocals on Temptation Waits may remind many of Blondie (she gives us a another hint of Deborah Harry's influence much later into the set with the rap verses in Shut Your Mouth, but with Shirley's own elegance). While powerful renditions of I Think I'm Paranoid and Special (the song in which "talk of the town" is Manson's hidden compliments for the Pretenders lead-singer, Chrissie Hynde) blew many away, where lead singer battled the static to give her all to the audience.

As many could see in beautifulgarbage, Manson is more open, displaying a sentimental side. Cup of Coffee unfolded the pain of one losing a lover, after learning that her lover no longer is in enamored. When Manson sings, it's as if the audience is her former beau, confessing to him her reaction and how she is handling the sudden break up. It's as if she keeps talking, it will not be true. The emotion showing through as she sings, "So no of course we can't be friend/ Not while I still feel like this/ I guess I always knew the score/ This is where our story ends."

Only she's not pissed, it hurts. It really does hurt.

My only disappointment is that the band did not perform Silence is Golden and Androgyny. Instead, they opted to perform one of their b-sides, Trip My Wire and the Ramones' I Just Want to Have Something to Do, which is one of the most entertaining, or perhaps, the most entertaining of the band's performance. Perchance, Trip My Wire will be one of the chosen for the upcoming B-sides album to be released later this year. The Ramones close was interesting since I, and I'm sure many, are curious in learning more about the music of the late Joey Ramone and his bandmates.

After my first Garbage experience, I can't help but wonder why their material isn't given enough air time, for these are artists who say they have change the sound album after album, and the proof can be heard. Why they are not given enough credit for taking risks, going through fights in the studio like mad scientists working around the clock; (which is obvious they perform this deed live in concert as well), will remain a mystery to us all. They are the hard candies that I craved nor can not get enough of, something in the music I have always searched for but hardly ever find. Thank you Garbage for a wonderful first time experience.


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