British rock band Bush, the band fronted by Gavin Rossdale and responsible for 90’s anthems like Glycerine, Comedown and Machine Head – all off their 1994 debut album Sixteen Stone – came to Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk last Thursday as part of their Black and White Rainbows tour in support of their latest album of the same name and belted out 16 tunes including all of their early hits and many of their more recent ones, with a couple new numbers mixed it. Now, granted I’ve always liked Bush – Machinehead and Glycerine have always been two of my favorite songs, the former frequently being turned up full blast in the car with the windows down while driving faster than I should be – but I’ve never really followed Bush. That’s to say, I have no idea what they’ve been up to over the better part of the last decade. I know The Chemicals Between Us and The Sound of Winter, but the latter was on The Sea of Memories in 2011 (has it really been that long already?) and that was the last time I really listened to Bush on a regular basis.
I’d never seen them live, either, after missing their last couple US runs and not having the chance before their 2002 split, so this was one of those “I have no idea what to expect” scenarios where they could be good, they could be bad, or I could just not care and leave after 3 songs. Of course, the “leaving after 3 songs” thing was never happening, not when I knew they were going to play the tunes I really wanted to hear during the encore. I was spot on, as Machine Head, Glycerine and Comedown were all part of the four-song encore that also included a cover of R.E.M’s The One I Love.
Now that the end of the show is out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of it. Bush kicked off with Everything Zen, and eventually did play The Chemicals Between Us and The Sound of Winter, along with a mere three tracks off the new album. That was a bit of a surprise, since bands touring in support of a new album typically play more than a couple songs from it, but that’s what it was and I was able to get my first taste of Black and White Rainbows (see what I did there?) with Mad Love, Nurse and Peace-S. None of them are bad, far from it, but most songs sound at least a little different live than they do in the studio, so I’m gonna need to give the album a listen and see what Bush is really up to these days.
In the end, Bush quickly took me from “I have no idea what this is going to be like” to “this is awesome” in the first couple songs, and Gavin heading into the crowd near the end of the show made for a unique experience, as did the extended conclusion to Comedown to finish the whole thing off. The whole thing went off without a hitch, and while there wasn’t much fan interaction – until the end – that’s not a problem, since most people would rather hear good music anyway. That’s what you’re paying for, after all, and Bush delivers. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen them years ago, I’ve been missing out. Now that I’ve crossed off my first Bush show, I’ll be seeing them again. Check out the full setlist and photo gallery below.