Photo Gallery by Danielle Boise, Review by Tillman Cooper
Garbage is currently on tour in support of their new album, Strange Little Birds. It’s been over a decade since Garbage has performed at the Tabernacle. Their last stop at the venue was during their Bleed Like Me tour in April of 2005. I remember the show well, as it was the last Garbage show that I would ever get to attend with my best friend, Howard. My fiance, Howard and I drove four hours from Columbia, South Carolina, saw the show and then turned around and came home the same night. Howard passed away last year, and since then, any time I go to see one of our favorite bands live, I wear my Rush 2112 shirt in his honor. But, while this piece isn’t about my friend Howard, it is about the unique relationship that Garbage has with their fans.
Garbage has been recording, performing and thrilling their fans for over 20 years now. Many of their fans have grown up with the band and are now in their mid-30s to late 40s, some even older. In Atlanta, when I took my seat at The Tabernacle, I looked around and it seemed like I recognized so many of their faces from concerts in the past. This would be the sixth time I had seen Garbage live since 1998 and the first time since that last Tabernacle performance in 1995. My wife and I skipped the Not Your Kind of People tour when Garbage was at Music Midtown in 2012. We had moved to Atlanta by then, I had just undergone extensive spinal surgery and didn’t have it in me to do a festival.
Fast forward to July 22, 2016. Garbage took the stage at the Tabernacle and jumped into “Supervixen” off of their self-titled debut album, followed by “I Think I’m Paranoid” off of Version 2.0, and then “Stupid Girl.” The crowd was thrilled to be in the presence of Shirley Manson, Steve Marker and Duke Erickson (drummer Butch Vig is sitting out this tour due to health issues preventing him from flying). It was around this time that Shirley would take the first of many breaks to talk to the crowd and gush about how “they are not used to this kind of reception.” She was moved to near tears a few times during the night, and had to beg us to “shut up” so she could start singing.
The rest of the set was punctuated with hits from each of their previous albums, including “Special,” “Push It,” “Automatic Systematic Habit,” “Why do You Love Me,” and “Only Happy When it Rains.”
One of the most touching moments of the evening came before they performed “The Trick is to Keep Breathing.” Shirley took a few moments to talk about us, the fans and how amazing we were, how special we were and how we made them feel. She then dedicated the song to a longtime fan, Joe Henry, who had passed away, and whose family was in the audience that evening. She somehow managed to hold back the tears and belted out the song, blowing a kiss to the sky when the song was done.
Another moment came as a change to their normal set. Instead of playing “Control,” Shirley took a few minutes to talk about the state of the world in 2016 and then introduced a song off of BeautifulGarbage called “Androgeny,” which they had not played live since 2002.
Throughout the evening, the band brought everything they had and entertained the hell out of the venue. We did our best to make sure they knew how much we loved them, and based on Shirley’s obvious embarrassment at our enthusiasm, I think they got our message.
Kristin Kontrol at the Tabernacle – 7/22/2016
Garbage at the Tabernacle – 7/22/2016