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
Stand Inside Your Love
Once Upon A Time
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.
Cupid De Locke
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.