Blondie and Garbage Put On Prodigious, Intense Show At Artpark

Concert Review

Rage and Rapture Tour
Artpark Outdoor Stage
Lewiston, NY
Tuesday July 25, 2017
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

When the announcement came out that the Rage and Rapture tour would touch down at Artpark many fans rejoiced. After all Blondie hadn’t played the area all that much over the last ten years and it had been even longer since Garbage last played near the Buffalo area. The tour featuring two of the most prominent female singers in history, in Deborah Harry and Shirley Manson was an ideal match. Neither band disappointed as the double-bill gave the crowd more than their money’s worth and left them craving more.

Garbage was up first and gave everyone a good taste of what they were all about. Led by vocalist Manson they proceeded to tear the roof off… if the outdoor venue had one. With rock steady drummer Butch Vig, and the precision playing of guitarists Steve Marker, Duke Erikson as well as bassist Eric Avery, the band brought the studio recordings to life… and then some. The 75-minute set started with the band’s newest song, “No Horses” which will appear on their forthcoming album that’s already half finished.

Garbage mixed in dark somber tones with rage like on “I Think I’m Paranoid” but managed upbeat numbers as well like “Special”, their dedication to Pretenders leader Chrissie Hynde, which proved to be one of the highlights of the night. Although it appeared many of the fans did not seem to know it, nevertheless, it received a decent ovation.

As their set wound down, it appeared to gather steam with each successive song. “Stupid Girl” started the ball rolling and it escalated into “Only Happy When It Rains” both songs were instrumental in breaking the band and for pushing their debut album to double platinum status. Next came “Push It” from Version 2.0, which was the lead single. A blistering version of “Vow” brought the band’s set to a fantastic finish.

It doesn’t happen every day that you see a band play like it could be their last performance. Garbage left everything they had out on the stage and left a strong buzz out in the crowd that brought up the old question how can Blondie top that?

Well Deborah Harry and Blondie were up to the challenge. Blondie have been around a long time and so have guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke. Stein who co-founded the band with Harry also co-wrote many of the band’s hits from back in their heyday. Rounding out the band were bassist Leigh Foxx, keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen and guitarist Tommy Kessler.

The group started their set with the ol’ trusty one-two punch of “One Way or Another” and “Hanging on The Telephone” a sure-fire way to get the crowd’s attention. It wasn’t until the third song “Fun” that they dug into their latest album, the stellar Pollinator.

Some of the highlights of the band’s set came from Pollinator including “My Monster” and “Fragments” in my opinion the two strongest songs from the album. The only blemish of the night was a needless Bob Dylan cover. Knowing there was a 10 PM curfew that would have been the song to eliminate. It was very unfortunate since “Dreaming” had to be dropped due to the time constraints.

On a happier note the band blazed through a searing version of “Atomic” that featured an astounding solo by Kessler and ended with the reggae infused “Tide Is High”. The band recently put it into the set as it was missing from the earlier shows of the tour.

The Rage and Rapture tour delivered exactly as advertised. Not only did we get to see two of the best female fronted bands in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, but two bands who can still bring it live every night. They both appear far from the finish line with plenty left in their tank.

Garbage Set
No Horses
Sex Is Not The Enemy
#1 Crush
I Think I’m Paranoid
Cherry Lips
Night Drive Loneliness
Even Though Our Love Is Doomed
The World Is Not Enough
Stupid Girl
Only Happy When It Rains
Push It

Blondie Set
One Way Or Another
Hanging On The Telephone
Call Me
My Monster
Rainy Day Women 12 & 35
Too Much
Long Time
Heart Of Glass

The Tide Is High

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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