Over the years I’ve developed an interesting relationship with The Smashing Pumpkins. One one hand I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their albums and on the other, I’ve been less than impressed with their live shows, until now. The previous three times I’ve seen The Smashing Pumpkins, were not that great at all but, on this evening that I saw them, they put all those old thoughts and feelings to rest. The Shiny and Oh So Bright tour is more than a spectacle, it’s a right of passage and a sense of realization of a band that has always been at the forefront of alternative music.
As the lights dimmed and the curtain opened just a tad, out walks William Patrick Corgan (he no longer goes by Billy), armed with an acoustic guitar, he starts strumming the chords of “Disarm.” What a way to start the show. Then a quick pause to allow the other members of the band join on stage as they blast off with “Rocket.” Already after two songs, my mind is blown. I’ve been waiting years to hear these songs. As the show went on, more and more favorites of mine were played like “Siva,” “Rhinoceros.” “Drown,” “Thirty-Three,” “Soma,” “Eye,” “Hummer,” “Cherub Rock,” and “Muzzle.” Of course there were the quintessential staples that were played like “Zero,” “Tonight, Tonight,” “Today,” “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” and “1979.” One thing that made this night even more special was the inclusion of so many deep cuts like “Try, Try, Try,” “Mayonaise,” “Drown,” “For Martha,” and “Blew Away.” Even their new song “Solara” sounded superb. The production for this show was top notch as well. The videos playing behind the band were pretty trippy and drenched with different emotions to accompany the songs played. Even their cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway To Heaven” was outstanding.
This night not only proved that The Smashing Pumpkins are back and better than ever but, it showed that real artistry is still alive. 30 years into their career, the Pumpkins, have shown that their songs stand the test of time and for the most part, their fan base is still intact, just waiting for the next great album from William and company. I will say that having Jimmy Chamberlain and James Iha back in the band really does make a difference. They have a distinct feel for how they play these songs and they really come to life with them on stage. Jeff Schroeder on guitar is a perfect addition to this group. Having been in the band since the Zeitgeist album, he too has a really great take on how to play these songs. Lastly, the addition of Jack Bates on bass was stellar. He brought a subtle yet dark eerie vibe to the low end that really complimented these songs well. Plus he’s the son of the legendary Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order so, it’s without a doubt that he understands the proper tone.
I came in not knowing what to expect, and left the show completely blown away. The 3 and a half hour set didn’t feel like it was that long. Every aspect of this show was spot on. William sounded great and better than ever. Personally I can’t wait to see them again. What a night and setlist to remember forever. Thank you to The Smashing Pumpkins for delivering one hell of a show and playing so many of my favorite songs.
The Smashing Pumpkins Set List:
01) Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness
06) Space Oddity (David Bowie Cover)
09) The Everlasting Gaze
10) Stand Inside Your Love
14) Blew Away
15) For Martha
16) To Shelia
18) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
19) Landslide (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
20) Tonight, Tonight
21) Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin Cover)
22) Cherub Rock
24) Ava Adore
25) Try, Try, Try
26) The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning
29) Bullet With Butterfly Wings
32) Baby Mine (Betty Noyes Cover)