Garbage, 20 Years Later, in Chicago

DSC02716_RFShirley Manson did her hair for the occasion.

Her bleached blonde, rose-speckled locks matched Garbage’s self-titled debut album from 20 years earlier. The album, covered in a flurry of pink and feathers, was the real reason why the band is trekking through its 20 Years Queer tour. Manson, along with Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig emptied out an entire backlog of B-sides and other songs from 1995 and 1996 at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre on Oct. 17 in honor of the occasion.

Silhouettes behind a white curtain, the band opened “Subhuman” and revealed itself to flashy pink lights and “Supervixen,” the first of 22 songs stuffed into the lengthy evening set. All Garbage tracks were accounted for, sprinkled in between nearly a dozen extras including “Kick My Ass,” a Vic Chesnutt cover the band originally recorded back in ’96. Supervixen Manson even delighted the audience with tales of teenage heavy petting with a boy, which reminded her of a mod love of The Jam, before kicking into a cover of the band’s 1979 B-side from album Strange Town, “Butterfly Collector.”


If it weren’t for the opening video of scenes flashing on the big screen—the band mid-90s, including the Vig-operated Smart Studios where so much 90s magic happened along with four Garbage albums mingled with shots of Princess Diana, the OJ trail and other scenes from the past—it didn’t seem as if two decades had passed listening to the band fluidly crunch through each track in the town where everything started for them 20 years earlier. “Our whole story began here in Chicago,” said Manson. “It’s been an avalanche of music since then.”


Opening the evening, a darkly, dreamy Torres captured a dance-y dreamscape through half a dozen songs like “Sprinter,” screaming in intervals and closing on other Sprinter tracks like “Strange Hellos,” and weaving in “Honey” and “Mother Earth, Father God,” from her 2012 self-title debut.

Garbage Set List

Girl Don’t Come
As Heaven is Wide
The Butterfly Collector
Not My Idea
Driving Lesson
Fix Me Now
My Lover’s Box
Dog New Tricks
A Stroke of Luck
Only Happy When it Rains
Stupid Girl
#1 Crush

Kick My Ass
Trip My Wire
Cherry Lips
Push It

Check out RF’s photo gallery of Garbage’s Chicago show by Patrick J. Eves (Hippie Death Bed)