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Concert @ Dane County Coliseum - Madison, WI

Garbage w/ Special Guest Girls Against Boys

Release Date: 11.18.98
Record label: Garbage
Genre(s): Country Western

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"I Feel Like a Homecoming Queen!"
by: bill aicher

Last night was a great night. I finally saw one of the last bands on my list of REQUIRED concerts. (All I have left is Radiohead). Lucky for me as well as the rest of Madison, WI it was an excellent show. Garbage had finally come home. The Madison native band (except for Shirley Manson, who is from Edinburgh, Scotland) has not played a show in their town since March of 1996. Wednesday, November 18, 1998 was their homecoming.

The show started out with special guests Girls Against Boys. Their sound was an excellent mix of Industrial and punk rock. The synthesized beats / keyboards mixed with a hard guitar crush gave them a harder edge than I think anyone expected. The beats pulsed, and they got the crowd moving - which is a feat most opening acts fail to achieve. Add an inflatable alien and insect to the crowd and they will go nuts. Add the lead singer and you have a frenzy. Very sweet - especially how he continued to sing the vocals.

-Break between bands-

Symphonic music, darkness, very cool. The orchestration begins to skip, like a bad needle on a record. Lights up - Temptation Waits. That is how the show began. Fierce power - Garbage was determined to give their neighbors and supporters the show they had waited for; the show they deserved. Manson announced their return with "Madison, Wisconsin!! I feel like a homecoming queen!"

This was not the end of the mentions of Madison, in fact it was the main topic of conversation for the evening. Some locals up here have been complaining about a few unsavory remarks Manson had been quoted as saying regarding Madison. She cleared them up in a hurry. "Whenever you sell more than two records you get grossly misquoted." This was in regards to a Rolling Stone interview - an interview which Manson states she is currently suing the magazine over. To make sure the fans know of the true love the band has for this wonderful city, they filmed a video for "When I Grow Up" at the show. In fact, it took two times to get the copy they wanted. She simply told the fans to "act like we're international rock stars!"

So how was the music? Yes, I had to leave the best part for later in the review. Hate me if you want, but you were not there. I couldn't just break out that information at the beginning. In one word the music was "awesome."

I had never realized how much of the music is actually done on instruments, such as guitar and drums. Previously I thought most of it was done on drum machines and synthesizers. I guess I could have been wrong (though I hate to admit it). Butch Vig was a god on drums. The beats were insanely perfect, yet thrashingly impossible as well. Duke Erikson is an unbelievable guitarist - I was simply amazed at the speed and professionality with which he could pull off some of those riffs. The processors, etc. that he goes through give the guitar sounds never before conceived of - Garbage are musical genius. Perhaps they should change the dictionary definition.

The show started with definite zest, but the one to get everyone involved had to have been "I Think I'm Paranoid." Everyone there knew the song - and they brought it out nice and early to get the crowd pumped. "Hammering in my Head" brought to mind visions of a rave; the hard techno beats, the pulsing lights, the movement of the crowd. It was invigorating to say the least. "Stupid Girl" seemed to have a greater punch than the album version, and "Stupid Girl" was as power-pop as they could get. Strangely, Shirley did not sing the dirty version of "Vow" although she did change the lyrics around a bit at the end. For a while I was not sure if I was at a concert or at an aerobics class while the band played "Push It." Manson changed the tone of the lyrics to sound like more of a motivational song than anything - it was actually quite funny. The last song before the encore was "You Look so Fine."

The encore began with a cover of a Vic Chestnutt song, "Supernatural." Manson said the band likes playing it live because they were unable to play it for the Vic Chestnutt tribute CD, as it was already taken. "The Trick is to Keep Breathing" followed, dedicated to one of Shirley's party friends out here in Madison. Finally, the show ended with a second playing of "When I Grow Up." They needed another copy of the song to make their video.Maybe you will see yours truly on MTV one of these days.

How can I ignore the best part of the show? You may or may not know what I am getting at, but here it comes anyway. Shirley Manson is even sexier in real life than any other way I have seen her. Media simply doesn't do her justice. She knows how to move. Even though she was wearing only baggy cargo pants, a tight black tank top, and her hair in a ponytail she knew how to look good.

The way she slinked about the stage like a minx added to the sensuality of the music. She knows she is sexy - and used it greatly to her advantage. A few quotes come to mind "You can still be naughty." (when she told people to back up for security reasons) and "I'll go down on you, if you want me to" (#1 Crush). The way she stated these, along with her accent made my night.

So, although I did not get to go backstage, I had a great show. I love our band. They love us too, out here in Madison. The talk of them not being a true local band is bullshit. They care about their city - and the fact that they came here later in the tour, once they were sure they could play all the songs well live, is a tribute to the town they love so well. Maybe I should head down to the Rave in Milwaukee on Tuesday... but then I would be a stalker, and heaven forbid that.