Garbage is using tracks now too.


I give up. Garbage (Shirley) was the epitome of attitude in the 90s.

Hey, just announce on the tickets that "this band uses backing tracks"; spare me the walkout expense.

Which tracks? Tracks for things that the band can't cover on stage (extra percussion, background vocals, synths) are common and quite acceptable to me. Lead vocal tracks are a no go for me.


Silver Supporting Member
When you say “backing tracks” what specifically are you referring to? Canned back up vocals, weird synth noises, or entire tracks being lip synched? I love Butch Vig as a producer, but is he playing Roland trigger cymbals and drums?

I listened to the first 3 songs - and there is a lot going on up there (both guitar players have keyboard setups, butch has an electronic/acoustic mixed kit with who knows what programmed in). She sounds like she's singing live to my ear. Maybe some backing vocals here and there (since I don't see any other mics on stage)?

There sound like some sequenced keyboards for sure but I'd sort of expect that.

Bob Maximus

Gold Supporting Member
they are touring with Tears for Fears. Can you see the difference in the shows? TFF has enough instrumentation to cover what they need to get to where they want to be; the sound is huge. The musicians listening to each other, not some click/count in their IEMs. IMO backing tracks are karaoke. yuck. YMMV of course.



Yeah, as a keyboard player I'm offended by this too, because it's usually the many synth sounds that get canned to save expense and setup/breakdown time, I get it but don't like it, to me it's not something to pay a concert ticket for.


I have no problem with minimal backing tracks to fill in some effects or an instrument that isn't used enough in a set to warrant adding a musician to the tour. For the most part, though, I prefer to see musicians getting work, and a live performance should be live. If this requires some reworking of the arrangements do the work. Session guys are always available, aand musicians should be supporting musicians.


As others have stated they had a huge number of tracks in the studio. I think Garbage 2.0 had upwards of 100+ tracks on each song from what I recall. Touring with a Symphony orchestra size of electronic musicians obviously isn't feasible. Butch definitely put his studio knowledge to work with Garbage. Great band BTW.


Gold Supporting Member
I just saw this tour in Denver at an outdoor pavilion. I think it was in May.

It's funny because as I was walking up and Garbage was playing, it sounded like a recording of them. It sounded way too polished for a live show. I think they were definitely using some enhancements via backing tracks to fill it. Tears for Fears had great live sound and production, but they sounded like an interacting band.

I think the best way I could describe it is that Garbage looked and sounded like they were playing to their own you see on an awards show.
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