The Rave Ballroom was comfortably full for the Bush concert last night, and Milwaukee welcomed the band with open arms.
Supporting their new CD, "The Sea Of Memories," and their new single, "The Sound of Winter," Bush performed for an hour and a half, mixing in a handful of new songs with all their biggest hits.
Lead singer and guitarist Gavin Rossdale set the tone early on for a high energy show, and worked the stage side to side, often making a point to recognize the fans in the balcony by turning and singing directly towards them. Rossdale jumped off the stage and got up and personal with the crowd a few times during the show, whipping them into a controlled frenzy.
While it's been eight or nine years since the band was a prominent figure in the music scene, they're making a point to proclaim that they're back, and in a big way. Last night was far from a greatest hits tour, or a band paying homage to what they were long ago. Rossdale looked and sounded every bit on top of his game and clearly in control of his band.
Bush weaved the majority of their new songs into the middle section of the setlist, a wise choice for a band trying to win back the hearts of old fans while trying to adopt new ones. The audience was treated early in the show to classic Bush songs like "The Chemicals Between Us" and "Everything Zen" before the band ventured into new territory with songs such as "The Sound of Winter," "All My Life" and "The Heart of the Matter."
The new material blended well, and it was refreshing to hear the sort of dedication to songwriting that has occurred in this comeback. It seems that Bush is back for all the right reasons with a focus on quality new music.
Chris Traynor (guitar) and Corey Britz (bass) now stand where Nigel Pulsford and Dave Parsons once did, and original drummer Robin Goodridge and Gavin Rossdale round out the group. The new disc "The Sea Of Memories" was released last month and marks the first CD that all of these musicians have played together on.
While I'm not certain that Bush will sell over 6 million copies of their new release like they did with "Sixteen Stone," very few artists in the industry push more than 2 or 3 million units these days. Bush has come back to an industry that has changed the way it distributes music in a major way, and a public that simply isn't buying music like they used to.
After playing phenomenal versions of "Swallowed" and "Machinehead" the band left the stage to a thunderous round of applause and came back to do a three-song encore. Starting off with The Beatles' "Come Together," a heavy but melodic version that got the crowd singing, Bush moved into two of their best hits, "Glycerine" and "Comedown." There was no doubt after hearing the crowd loudly singing the chorus of "Comedown" that a good time was had by all.