Fading Bush appears all wet

by Kieran Grant
Toronto Sun
May 13, 2002

Lean years for Brit band
It was cold and soggy. And the weather conditions for Bush’s appearance at the Molson Amphitheatre Saturday night weren’t much better.

That didn’t stop the fading London alt-rock band from drawing as many as 6,000 people out for the deluge.

Amazing what a little last-minute ticket giveaway action can do, apparently.

It was the first show of the season at the outdoor lakeside venue — and an inexplicably early one at that.

Okay, so 6,000 isn’t exactly a stunning turn-out for an Amphitheatre show.

But compare that to the 2,500 tickets that Bush had sold 48 hours earlier, and clearly there must have been a bit of smoke-and-mirrors at work.

Bush’s current tour comes in support of their fourth album, Golden State, which came out last fall to favourable reviews but low sales.

It’s been a lean couple of years for the band –frontman Gavin Rossdale is best known these days as a footnote in stories about his fiancee, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt.


But while the group’s North American success seems to be behind them, time has also worked in their favour: What seemed like an egregious Nirvana rip-off back in ’95 now sounds palatable, if innocuous, compared to the flood of truly awful post-grunge bands that followed.

Sashaying into the spotlight after the band had launched into their first tune Saturday, Rossdale still looked like a model who’s had a guitar thrust into his mitts by a stylist.

The quartet, augmented by two keyboardists, laid down an unremarkable 80-minute clatter that sounded like a dozen better bands after a soul-ectomy.

It was odd just how little seemed to be going on behind Bush’s exercises in angst, the well-practiced moves, and window dressing in the form of a screen flashing pseudo-profound slogans.

The hardest-hitting emotion was the nostalgia that came with hits Everything Zen — “Some songs are just still relevant,” said Rossdale — Swallow, Machine Head, Greedy Fly, and Glycerine (not to mention a straight encore reading of The Cars’ Just What I Needed).

Somehow it was hard not to be at least impressed by Rossdale’s desire to be adored, and much of the audience did him the honour of playing along.

For some, maybe a cold and soggy Bush is better than no Bush at all.

Sun Rating: 2 out of 5