Strange Little Birds
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 7/28/16)
Last night was the Garbage concert on their tour for Strange Little Birds. And as usual it was epic, incredible, amazing, beautiful, inspiring, uplifting and so fulfilling and entertaining. I bought a VIP package in which I had access to a three song sound check, and a Q and A with the band, along with early entry access to the show. Also as part of the package, I was given a Garbage bracelet, a poster and a VIP laminate necklace. It was so much fun and so awesome. It was a long wait but I started getting excited listening to the sound check.
Before we were allowed in officially, I could hear the band practicing ‘Night Drive Loneliness’ which sounded so beautiful live, I tried to just block out everything around me but the sound of Shirley’s voice. While I was in the lobby, they were also practicing ‘shut your mouth.’ It was just so cool, I always love hearing Shirley’s voice in person. It is so powerful and just one of the most gorgeous sounds on earth.
We got access to the sound check and that was great too. They sound checked with ‘Beloved Freak’ and ‘Stroke of Luck’ and I’m trying to remember the third song. Then the band sat on the stage in front of about 13 of us VIP fans at the front.
A female couple from Brazil was front and center and one of them started to cry. Shirley asked if she was crying and then got up to hug her. It was sweet. A few people asked questions but it was a bit hard to hear them. Garbage mentioned not wanting to take part in 90’s band package tours, as they prefer to be on their own tour. Butch was not there due to being sick, so it was just Shirley, Steve and Duke on stage.
Then at the end I finally got to ask my questions. I said that I had heard them say in interviews several times that New York City is one of their favorite cities in the world, and I was curious about why they loved it so much.
Steve answered my question and said that he grew up in Westchester (which I didn’t know) and as they stayed in NY currently, they loved taking a boat to see the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks I think, and that there was a particular place that they liked to go to eat. I told Steve I didn’t know he grew up in Westchester.
I asked my second question to all three of them, which was- what was their favorite song on Strange Little Birds. One of them said ‘favorite track on the new record’ which I think was Steve to Duke, and Duke said he loved all the songs but especially ‘Night Drive Loneliness.’ Shirley then answered, first time ever that she spoke to me!! She said that they meant for the record to be played from beginning to end and be heard as one whole piece and they considered it to be a vinyl.
She mentioned that it’s very dangerous the way society has been moving towards not having any attention span and that everything is in bits of information and consumed in 140 characters (for example). I said, “Exactly.” She ended by saying that she would have to agree with Duke and say that every song is her favorite, and then she smiled at me. I smiled back, tried not to look too nervous and then looked at Steve for his answer. He said his favorite song was ‘Sometimes” because it was interesting to see everyone collaborate on that song and agree to have it on the record.
After he was done, I said to them all, “I just want to say thank you…for everything you do, and everything you are.” I made sure to emphasize my words and speak slowly. And I sort of made a gesture of my hands over my heart. They all smiled and looked a bit embarrassed and then Shirley looked up at me and said ‘Thank YOU’ while raising her eyebrows and with a serious expression and it was just a surreal and amazing moment that I will never forget. I don’t think I ever smiled so hard in my life.
After that, the band got up for the meet and greet pictures with the fans who had bought that part of the package. I unfortunately hadn’t, which I was really regretting, so me and one other girl were given our posters by the concierge, Emily and sent out to the lobby. I thought how incredible it would’ve been to have my picture taken with the band.
One day I will do so, but I think would prefer that Butch were present as well, so I could have a picture of myself with the entire band. I took the chance while I was waiting, to buy two band t shirts and to roll up my poster and secure it with a hair tie I had around my wrist.
I wish people could understand my love for this band, the people in it, and the treasure of their musical catalogue. They have very sincerely blessed my life, made me feel like someone out there was like me and sees and processes the world the same way that I do. They are totally insightful, eloquent, and articulate in each of their interviews and it’s just a revelation. I am so happy that they all exist and have blessed so many with their gifts. Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig, I love you with all of my heart.
There are no words to describe the feeling I got when at the end of the show, Duke came close to the end of the stage to hand guitar picks out to the fans up front. And he handed one to me! So much joy! My life felt complete at that moment and I probably could’ve died happy. I was so excited it was kind of crazy. I loved him for that and thanked him on Instagram, I will try to tweet him as well.
I left them several comments on their Instagram pictures saying ‘Your music lights the way for us all, thank you’ and also ‘Shirley, your voice soothes my aching soul. I hope you never stop creating beauty in this world that needs more.’ I hope they see my comments.
After the fact of buying the VIP package, I learned that I could’ve brought a gift for the band, like a card or a letter and handed it to Emily the concierge, to give to the band. She said she’d make sure the band got the fans’ gifts. But I didn’t know that was allowed, and therefore didn’t bring anything and that made me sad. But there is always next time.
One of the fans I met outside, Jason, said that the band was planning an anniversary tour for their Version 2.0 album, in which they would sing that album in its entirety, like they did with the 20 Years Queer tour for the Garbage album. I really hope that happens.
Shirley was absolutely amazing on stage- energetic, so forceful, so emotional and so beautiful. She is true, genuine, and beautiful on the inside and out. She is flawed and able to laugh at herself. She is at ease with herself and confident, while also just being a woman, real and at times jealous and insecure. She is just all around wonderful. And I think at one point during the show she looked at me directly and smiled. I simply adore her.
I adore her as a human being, I love all that she stands for, the meaning and beauty and comfort she has brought to my life over so many years, the way she thinks, her insights, her love for her fans and her constant appreciation and the way she stresses that the band’s work is not a one way street, that we are all a part of it. I also love that she pointed out to us that although the world seems dark and dangerous, there is still so much beauty in it and good things in it to enjoy.
I think the band mentioned the possibility of releasing a book at some point, maybe an autobiography or a memoir? I couldn’t hear the fan question too clearly but Steve said something like ‘it’s going to happen’ and Duke made a joke about them all getting in a room and writing together. It’s lovely to see them laugh and joke around with each other.
They are just down to earth and the coolest people alive, in my opinion. I hope they really do write a book! And I’m so happy that they are releasing music on their own label now- StunVolume, so that they get to decide the course of their careers and aren’t told what to do. I think this has led them to their best record to date- Strange Little Birds.
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