(Entry below was handwritten on 10/25/2015)
Last night was the Brooklyn stop on the 20 Years Queer Garbage tour, where they are performing the entire first album for the first time as well as all the b sides released between 1995 and 1996. The show last night was in Flatbush Brooklyn at Kings Theatre, a historical, huge theater that was recently renovated.
It’s a pretty spectacular place. Even Shirley Manson had to comment on how it all took their breaths away when they walked in the first time. I was in Section 3, row Q, seat 14. I had an extra ticket so I gave it to a guy who was standing outside asking if anyone was selling a ticket. I offered it to him for free, just so I could have someone accompany me. He was nice and normal enough, and bought me a drink to thank me.
My seat was pretty good, but I still wished to be closer to the stage to get a better view of Shirley. Those spots are always difficult to get. I missed the opening band, Torres, but I didn’t mind that much. I was there for Garbage. Dom, the guy I gave my extra ticket to, said he saw Garbage the previous night in Long Island and that their set started around 9:10pm. But the band came on pretty much on time in Brooklyn.
Before they came on, a large projection showed a short clip on how life was in 1995, and everything that was happening in the world then, along with some clips of Garbage in candid moments backstage. It ended with their most recent publicity shot, one band member appearing at a time, and the white screen stayed up throughout the first song, a b side, ‘Subhuman’.
It’s always a real treat to hear them play live. The music just fills my body and makes me feel so joyful and alive. I wasn’t as close as I would’ve liked to be, but I could still see Shirley’s face and make out that it was her. Her hair is short again, almost to her shoulders, and is dyed a bright pink. She wore a pink sheath type dress with black stockings and black arm cuffs, and a long necklace with what looked like a jeweled lion’s head pendant.
She was sweet and humble and funny as usual, saying how she was told once that Garbage is not a Brooklyn band, to which she replied, ‘What the fuck does that mean?’ She told the audience that they were now playing in Brooklyn, which proved that person wrong, and she said something to the effect of “That’s why you must never think of yourself, the way other people think of you. People try to keep you defined in this little box of their idea of who you are.” And she is right, of course.
That is the whole philosophy of the band, to be an individual, regardless of whether or not that makes you an outsider.
It was strange and wonderful to hear Shirley sing songs from the first album, like ‘Not my Idea,’ ‘Dog New Tricks,’ ‘Sleep,’ and b sides like ‘Trip My Wire’ and ‘Driving Lesson.’ Many of those songs I had never heard live and had only seen them performed on old VHS tapes of concerts from their first tour that I bought on Ebay.
Listening to all those songs: ‘Supervixen,’ ‘As Heaven is Wide,’ ‘Stroke of Luck,’ transported me back to being 16 years old and discovering the band and so many other things back in 1995. It was a strange feeling because I instantly remembered the mindset I had back then, all my longings and insecurities, and all my naiveté about the world- the real world outside of my school.
My world, mentally was so small and limited at that time. And while I have grown considerably, that lost, lonely 16-year-old girl still exists inside me, the one who just wants so desperately to experience love and maybe even more-so, lust and passion. Garbage vocalized all those desires I had so perfectly in that first album, as well as all of my frustrations about feeling misunderstood, a misfit without any idea of what it meant to have friends or enjoy my youth.
I was way too busy intellectualizing it all the time, trying to find rationalizations for things, and trying to express a mass jumble of feelings and emotions through journal writing and poetry writing. The lyrical content of those first Garbage songs just really spoke to my soul, spoke the words that I couldn’t find a way to say myself, and resonated with my heart on a very deep level.
Shirley Manson always amazes me, she always puts on a killer show and entertains the hell out of her audience, and does it always humbly and with grace. She is a beautiful person, but still real, and she has more energy on stage than any 25-year-old would have.
I watched her and realized that she lives in a world separate from mine. Mine is mundane, while hers is full of creativity and self-expression and glamour and fantasy. I despaired knowing that even though this band and their music has had such a profoundly positive affect on me throughout my life for the past 20 years, they will never know who I am or acknowledge me in any way. And that I can only admire them from afar.
I thought about what I would do or say if I had bought one of those meet and greet packages where you get to meet the band, get something signed and take a picture with them. And I imagined that I would be so starstruck and tongue-tied that I’d barely be able to string two words together coherently. But it would still be so amazing and a miracle to actually speak to them face to face. I think the excitement of that would totally overwhelm me, but it would definitely be worth it.
Garbage is supposed to come out with a new album next year. If that happens, I hope I’ll muster up the courage to buy one of those VIP meet and greet packages so I could finally meet the band that I have idolized and adored for much of my lifetime, and which I will continue to love and find the deepest comfort in, in years to come.
This deep connection I feel to their music and their message will always be a fundamental part of who I am . And will always be a major source of joy and inspiration in my life.
“you must never think of yourself
the way other people think of you.”