Music review: Garbage “20 years paranoid” at the Festival Theatre

Shirley Manson of Garbage. Picture: Victor Chavez/Getty Images

THIS could be the very definition of risk. A celebration of possibly your most lauded album, Version 2.0, in your home-town. On the 1st night of a tour. But it totally paid off, writes Chris Mackinnon.

5 out of 7 stars

Local lass, although current L.A. resident, Shirley Manson and “my boys”, collectively; Garbage, kicked off their “20 years paranoid” tour in the Festival Theatre on Tuesday. Despite having been in the business around 30 years, she gleefully admitted to BBC’s Radcliffe and Maconie earlier that she’d been on the toilet all morning due to nerves.

The 1998 album’s 12 tracks are played here in full and interspersed with various other high points from their canon, kicking off with Afterglow before getting down to business with Temptation Waits, Wicked Ways (with a snippet of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus) and Special, barely pausing to draw breath.

A quick swig of water and a bit of banter with the crowd with a little bit of politics, telling us how proud she is being from a nation that is at the forefront of women’s and the LGBT community’s rights and that one of her personal moments of pride was to play at the opening of the Scottish Parliament. Not sure if Nicola was in. Probably busy.

Their Bond theme, the World Is Not Enough up next and then a few more oldies before playing a fan favourite in the shape of a cover of Big Star’s Thirteen. A version apparently also favoured by the song’s writer, Alex Chilton.

I Think I’m Paranoid, one of their biggest hits had the audience loudly help out on backing vocals and there was a wee tech issue during Lick The Pavement after which Shirley complained she was having trouble hearing pitch. But a few knobs were twiddled somewhere and into a superb version of the 1st single from Version 2.0, Push It and we’re back on track.

“This is our last song” she claims before Look So Fine (with a rather pleasing detour into Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams) also mocking the slightly daft convention of pretending there’s no encore. Amusingly, she blamed the band for this conceit but went through with it anyway.

A minute’s break and then two songs to properly finish up, the last song preceded by a heartfelt dedication to the genius that was David Bowie and they ended with a brilliantly grungey version of Starman. Crowd on vocals again, naturally.

A superbly minimalist set-up on the night let the music, and our Shirl’ do the talking. And despite the odd hiccup it was a fine outing of a what must now be considered a veteran act. That said, this wasn’t a playing to the gallery performance, the band were tighter than tight and still play with a genuine enthusiasm.

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