Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pumpkin Pie in the Face

The last time I saw The Smashing Pumpkins on tour (not just as part of a festival) was November 5, 1996 at the Fleet Center in Boston. James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky still played guitar and bass. Garbage opened the show. I was a 19-year-old college junior.

Lots of things have changed since then. No more Iha. No more Wretzky. No more Garbage (for now). And I'm a 31-year-old lawyer.

But Billy Corgan remains the same. Aggressive. Anti-establishment. Bald.

To get an accurate feel of what the current Smashing Pumpkins tour is all about, one must attend both the "Black Sunshine" and "White Crosses" shows. The setlists are entirely different.

Tuesday night was "Black Sunshine." Mr. and Mrs. APK accompanied us, which was great because Mr. APK is a real Pumpkins fan. I had fun giving Mrs. APK weird looks when the tunes were "experimental," which is a nice way of saying "sucky." That was pretty much 95% of the songs I didn't video.

Everybody Come Clap


Speed Kills
Stand Inside Your Love
United States
Once Upon A Time
The Crux
The Rose March

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

The Beginning Is The End
Heavy Metal Machine
Set The Controls

We Only Come Out At Night (on kazoos!)

Close To You (on kazoos!)

Wednesday night was "White Crosses." We went with Brother Monkey, his friend Matt, Fitty, and her friend Anna. Fitty and Anna were fun concert pals and were great sports during the horrible second half of the concert. I couldn't stop laughing.

Ava Adore

Cupid De Locke

99 Floors
Cherub Rock


I of The Mourning
A Song For A Son


Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
As Rome Burns
The Sounds of Silence
The March Hare
Age of Innocence

That's The Way (My Love Is)
I Am One Part 2

I strongly preferred "White Crosses" over "Black Sunshine." Tuesday night made me grimace much of the time, although the funny encore definitely put a smile on my face, so I left pretty happy. Billy Corgan seemed to be in fairly good spirits and talked a lot to the audience. You must play these clips of his banter from Tuesday night.

Corgan offers his thoughts on the 405 freeway.

Corgan tells the audience to "just give up."

Corgan informs us we are "the most beautiful-smelling crowd" and that "tonight's been all about getting closer to you." Totally fun way to end that show.

While the banter was not as free-flowing on Wednesday, the "White Crosses" setlist was so incredibly impressive up through "Galapogos."

And then it all went to shit.

It was unbelievable how amazing the first half of the show was and how abysmal the second half was.

(Thank goodness for Fitty and Anna and their pronounced headbanging and samba shimmying. Very entertaining. Oh, and the humongous guy in front of us whom we named Gigantor danced like a swaying tree at a disco. Amusing.)

But, seriously, the contrast between the beginning and the end of the concert could not have been greater. Really bizarre. Toward the end, it was like endless electronic thrashing with some weird howling and Latin rhythms thrown in.

The nutso noise notwithstanding, Corgan did make us laugh again.

Corgan calls out a couple who gave him the thumbs down. Hilarious.

Corgan reminds us he's "nobody's fuckin' bitch."

Incomprehensible music, bad attitude, and all, I rather enjoyed the two shows combined. It's crazy talk, I know. But you simply don't experience anything like this very often. It was something special to behold indeed.

I got to hear a fair number of hits. I got to see Gabriel McNair and Stephen Bradley in action (i.e., No Doubt's lovable horn section). I got to see a rad psychedelic set. I got to hang out with fun people. And I got to witness the insanity of a self-destructive genius.


  1. Ugh. I really need to get off my toushy and check this out on my PC. I wish the CIA let us watch your videos at the office.

  2. Hmmm.
    I am going to try to figure out what a swaying tree at a disco looks like. My husband is 6'5" and may be able to do this move.

  3. The only thing I'm jealous I missed from Tuesday that INSANE gold outfit.

    And I'm glad Gigantor and FanBoy didn't land on me or Anna. ;)

    All kidding aside- we had a great time! Thanks for the invite and to be honest, I so COMPLETELY enjoyed the first half I'm willing to forgive the second half. Ok, really it's because the "samba song" was rad.

  4. I was a big SP fan in HS and the first part of college.

    It's not the same with our James and Darcy. It's like the "Beatles" with only Ringo Star.

  5. I am insanely jealous of all the cool things you get to do!

  6. BWBW is still my go-to song when I need to unleash any aggression. Too bad I can't loop it in my office all day.

  7. Love the clips. Seeing the setlists reminds me of how behind I am in the times. I lost interest in SP after Ava Adore.

  8. i would be really shocked if i recognized even ONE smashing pumpkins song.

  9. ^lol Wan! Even I know "Today". It was nice of you to share your tix with APK and Yahpee, mrAPK was raving about it on Friday.


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