TVD Live Shots: Bush at Pier 6 Pavilion, 8/14

“I’ve been a lot of places, but this is a lovely place to end a tour,” said Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale on Sunday night at the Pier 6 Pavilion in Baltimore. And wind up the last leg of the US tour behind Man on the Run they did, with one hell of a show. In spite of the stifling humidity, and the torrential downpour/ thunder/ lightning that cut short the set of opening band Chevelle, Rossdale and the band showcased why they’re still playing shows—their live show is full-on power, a throat punch, a kick to the teeth.

This was no 1990s-era band phoning it in for the payout, delivering just the hits. Well, it was, perhaps, in theory—they played only one song from Man on the Run, “The Only Way Out,” which is unusual for a tour promoting a record—while the rest of the set was from the hitmaking records like 16 Stone, Razorblade Suitcase, and The Science of Things. But bands phoning it in don’t usually work this hard, so much that the frontman breaks a string from playing so heavy on the first song (“Everything Zen”), and the whole band is 10 pounds thinner from energetic sweat by the end of the show.

How tight this band is as a whole needs to be acknowledged—they could start and stop on a dime collectively. Chris Traynor on lead guitar plays the meanest slide and Corey Britz isn’t the usual bassist who just stands there, Entwhistle-style. Original Bush drummer Robin Goodridge still pounds the bejebus outta the skins. And Rossdale never stops moving, who, at one point, singing “Little Things,” was running full-tilt through all the Pier 6-aisles and fan-filled rows. A testament to cardio routines, the man should market his and sell it.

The only slightly odd spot was Bush covering “The One I Love” by R.E.M. Does Bush do a killer job of it? Indeed. Do Rossdale’s vocals do the song props? Indeed. Was it a slightly weird choice given the song’s meaning (NOT ABOUT LOVE), and Rossdale’s recent, and very public, marital drama? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a topic of discussion post-show.

All in all, Bush is a remarkable live band, and the show at the Pier 6 Pavilion was a stellar one. Obviously, they’re a band that leaves it all on the proverbial floor night after night, a trait all bands should have, but not all necessarily exude. And Gavin Rossdale is a keen songwriter, so one hopes he’ll create something that can catch another fire with the general populous soon like before. Bush is too good a band to be the Beach Boys of the ’90s fuzzy guitar/grunge sound for years to come, only coming out to play the hits.

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