Garbage and Cigarettes After Sex at the Roseland Theater on Sept. 18, 2016

Inside a sold-out Roseland Theater with anticipation building, the crowd presses forward towards the stage. Volume's set to stun as the lights dim and then a pulsating light and rhythm begins to fill the room. Butch Vig starts the cymbal’s crashing. Cue the bass. Shirley Manson appears in a silhouette of blue flood lights and so it begins with "Subhuman."

From my place in the photo pit for the first three songs, the energy coming from the stage as well as behind me from the audience was literally overwhelming. Manson paced and jumped during the performance of "Stupid Girl," and at a point, I thought, "This cannot possibly reach a higher level of intensity." Then Manson turned to the band and repeatedly screamed to her bandmates, “Come on boys, let's go!” And somehow they responded with an even higher level of intensity, a moment really beyond words.

Garbage's performance was electrifying, at times magical—a live performance with stunning sound and lights and, of course, Shirley Manson, whose energy, voice and passion for the moment were breathtaking. And the set seemingly included every song I wanted to hear. It was more than perfect when the crowd was singing along to "Special," or the passion in the performance of “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed” from their masterful 2016 LP Strange Little Birds. From the heartfelt introduction to “Supervixen” to the moving ovation that followed, or the deeply personal moment Manson shared before dedicating “Bleed Like Me” to Portland author Cheryl Strayed, whose book Wild Mason credited with saving her life after the passing of her mother—a moment so moving many of us were brought to tears.

Garbage, beautiful Garbage delivered a 22-song performance that every rock concert hopes to achieve but few reach. The band's sheer love of performing shone throughout and was immensely complemented by Manson's genuine and humble gratitude for the fans.

Set List:
I Think I'm Paranoid
Stupid Girl
Automatic Systematic Habit
Blood for Poppies
The Trick Is to Keep Breathing
Sex Is Not the Enemy
Even Though Our Love Is Doomed
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
Night Drive Loneliness
Bleed Like Me
Only Happy When It Rains
Push It

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