Following a sexually driven high energy performance by alternative rock veterans Janes Addiction, who played many of their early 90s classics with Queens of the Stone Age member Troy Van Leeuwen standing in for Ink Master heartthrob host Dave Navarro on guitar, the Smashing Pumpkins tested their audience with a set mixed of fan-favourites, deep cuts, and unreleased tracks.
Opening with “Empires”, a yet to be released track from their upcoming record Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts, Billy Corgan and company set a heavy rock tone to their set in front of the nearly sold out crowd. The band surprised the audience by playing “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and “Today,” performing two of their arguably biggest hits at the very start of their show.
A makeup-ridden Corgan did not take many pauses for banter with the audience. Instead, Smashing Pumpkins filled gaps between songs with ambient guitar solos and extended jams. In one of the few instances where he did speak, Corgan joked with original bandmates, guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, about the “Siamese Zombies” and “Mellon Collie Zombies” teasing fans who yelled requests for the band play tracks from their hit records Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Smashing Pumpkins performed many newer tracks like “Cyr” and “Solara” before eventually dropping hits like “Cherub Rock,” “Zero,” and “1979” near the end of their set. It was a hodgepodge of material that at times could have challenged those who only knew Pumpkins songs from the 90s. It was clear the band wanted to showcase who they are today rather than live solely in their past.
As casual audience members spilled out of the venue after getting their fill of familiar hits, Smashing Pumpkins gifted those who remained with an extended performance of “Silverfuck” from Siamese Dream.
Overall, the show was not meant to cater. Hardcore Pumpkins fans would appreciate the diversity of tracks from their catalog while casual listeners could have been a little lost at times. It expanded from early days to who they are as artists now, making for an eclectic live experience.
By Glenn Alderson
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