Star 98.7’s Not So Silent Night certainly won’t be remembered as the most exciting local holiday concert this year, especially considering the high ticket price and modest artist lineup, though attendees were treated to a sneak of Alanis Morissette’s upcoming third U.S. studio album. The commercial decline of headliner Garbage gave the sold-out event an anticlimactic air.
The show opened with the modern folk-rock stylings of singer-guitarist Nelly Furtado, who drew cheers for her hip-hop cover of Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On,” followed by the bland, middle-of-the-road efforts of New Orleans band Better Than Ezra, who at least included a Christmas-themed tune in their otherwise uneventful set.
Morissette, who was brought on stage by wise-cracking Garry Shandling, has a new, self-produced album, “Under Rug Swept,” due from Maverick in February, and she offered three of the new tunes, along with four hits from her breakthrough “Jagged Little Pill,” in her 45-minute set. During high-strung opener “All I Really Want,” the long-haired 27-year-old constantly raced about the large Shrine stage, as if running away from the former beau vilified in the song.
Of the new material, the mystical “21 Things I Want in a Lover,” which featured Morissette rocking on electric guitar, was the best, while “Narcissus” and upcoming single “Hands Clean” struck many of the same broken-hearted chords as her earlier hits. “Thank U,” the lone entry from Morissette’s underwhelming 1998 sophomore effort, was the closer. (Her band featured former Jane’s Addiction member Eric Avery on bass.)
Jenna Elfman introduced Garbage, which played to plenty of empty seats after Alanis fans had left. The band offered an hour’s worth of its heartless dance-Goth-punk hybrid, and neither bleach-blond singer Shirley Manson nor her stiff bandmates could generate much energy in the cavernous venue, though Manson did try to stir things up by performing “Paranoid” while roaming the orchestra pit.
Songs from this year’s weak-selling “Beautiful Garbage” (Interscope) album, like the Blondie ripoff “Shut Your Mouth” and the soul-searching ballad “Cup of Coffee,” paled when played next to the band’s more likable early material such as “Stupid Girl” and finale “Only Happy When It Rains.”