Photography and review courtesy of Joe Stadele for TWTHS. Published August 13, 2015.
The atmosphere of The End Times Tour was a dichotomy of light and dark. On one hand you had the visiting nu-metal(ish) opener Cage and co-headlining Marilyn Manson. On the other side, The Smashing Pumpkins preparing to perform on their home turf. What began as a pairing of old friends transformed into a celebration of legacies with the announcement Jimmy Chamberlin was to rejoin SP for the tour. In the city by the lake, Friday night was a homecoming and thank you to the Pumpkins’ native Chicago.
First, their was Marilyn Manson. If the scars on Manson’s hands prove anything, the man is willing to bleed for his audience. For better and worse, Manson’s theatrics and banter worked to both propel and overshadow the music simultaneously. The stage resembled the interior of a church dedicated to Manson, himself. Matched in spectacle, Manson took to stilts and arm braces during “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These).” Moving into their cover of “Personal Jesus,” Manson took to a podium to preach his distaste for God. He would later continue this train of rant as he played the part of a preacher, speaking in a southern accent as he burned prop bibles leading into “Antichrist Superstar.”
For all of the pageantry and costume changes, Manson was at his best when the theatrics were (mostly) stripped away. The show closing “Coma White” was perhaps the most introspective and solemn moment of the night as he stood center stage and reached into the audience. “Rock is Dead,” a personal highlight, was prefaced with a speech as to why rock is not dead, namely because “_ock is not read” (if you catch my drift). Only performing two new songs, the fist-pumping “Deep Six” and grooving “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” felt right at home among “Disposable Teens” and “Sweet Dreams.” With backing vocals from bassist Twiggy Ramirez and guitarist Paul Wiley, Manson sounded surprisingly solid.
What Manson did best in Chicago was set The Smashing Pumpkins up with the pitch to knock out of the park. From the show opening “Cherub Rock” to the closing “Today,” the Pumpkins were powerful and immediate. With Chamberlin behind him on drums, guitarist extraordinnaire Jeff Schroeder and bassist Jack Bates (son of Peter Hook of New Order) by his side, Corgan was confident and humble. “Is everyone having a good time? In Chicago, a good time can mean different things,” Corgan laughed. “I don’t want to pontificate because when I pontificate I get in trouble, Chicago-style!”
With the stage draped in columns of cloth, the Pumpkins let the music do most of talking as they explored gems throughout the catalog (with the exception of the Gish-era). The opening trifecta “Cherub Rock/Bullet/Tonight, Tonight” set the stage. “The Everlasting Gaze” and “Stand Inside Your Love” were as powerful as ever with Chamberlin in tow. Even Chamberlin’s contributions to new songs “Drum + Fife” and a slowed, yet chugging “One & All” were welcomed.
“I appreciate all of the years, all of the songs, all of the fans, all of the concerts and I don’t always do a good job of showing it, but I do appreciate the love you’ve shown me. Thank you!”
Midset was all emotion. As if to punctuate his internal sentiment, Corgan repeatedly sung, “Can anybody hear me?” and “I did it all for you” respectively, in “Mayonnaise” and “The Crying Tree of Mercury.” Corgan took a solo turn for “Disarm” which was dedicated to the family of Jim Ellison (the late frontman of Chicago band Material Issue whom Corgan deemed “the most talent man” he had seen grace a Chicago stage). Continuing the momentum, Jeff Schroeder returned for a gorgeous cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” The full band returned for a stunning “Stand Inside You Love,” but afterward it was time for Jimmy Chamberlin to shine.
With a swing in his execution, Chamberlin moved into a drum solo which segued into “United States,” easily the highlight of the evening. Just as the song shifted into Corgan’s Hendrix-style guitar solo of “The Star Spangled Banner,” the band went silent. The Chicago Blackhawks’ Jim Cornelison and a girl holding the US Flag took the stage. Cornelison sung the “Star-Spangled Banner” which was welcomed with applause, reverence and comments like…”What is happening?” (Common place in the land of SP). Without losing a step, Corgan/Chamberlin and company shifted right back into “United States.” Closing out with “Today,” even the fairest of fair-weather fans had to pay respect as the Smashing Pumpkins accomplished what they had set out to do; say and give thanks.
Highlight: Jimmy Chamberlin was back on drums; “United States” was as much for Chamberlin as it was for SP’s hardcore fanbase.
Low Point: Two guys in the audience, one resembling a dreaded “The Dude” and another with died blonde hair resembling Kurt Cobain continually yelling, “Come on, play the old shit!” Luckily, SP’s Fleetwood Mac cover of “Landslide” put a cork in the time travelers cake-holes.
Smashing Pumpkins Setlist:
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Drum + Fife
One and All (We Are)
The Everlasting Gaze
The Crying Tree of Mercury
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Thru the Eyes of Ruby
Stand Inside Your Love
United States [Jim Cornelison, Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer, sang The Star-Spangled Banner]
Marilyn Manson’s Setlist:
Third Day of a Seven Day Binge
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Eurythmics cover)
Angel With the Scabbed Wings
Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode cover)
The Dope Show
Rock Is Dead (The End by The Doors/Mother by Pink Floyd tease)
The Beautiful People