“We must never be apart”
Concert review: The Smashing Pumpkins at Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO – October 18, 2012 Published by Jeff Becker, October 19, 2012.
Oceaniaalbum performed in its entirity Space Oddity (David Bowie cover) X.Y.U. Disarm Tonite Reprise Tonight, Tonight Bullet With Butterfly Wings A Song for a Son Zero Cherub Rock Encore: Ava Adore Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover) Muzzle
The world of music is fortunate to have them, still. While the mainstream FM music-listening fan that liked ‘1979’ back in the mid-90’s and now drives out to Walmart to buy the latest Daughtry or Nickelback CD for their spouse is the type of fan that can help fill an arena, they aren’t the type of fan you’ll find in 2012 at a Smashing Pumpkins concert. Those FM fans think Kurt Cobain’s output is still the driving force of the 90’s. It’s not. Give them the new material from Mr. Corgan. It may not have the epic sound of Siamese Dream but that’s OK, because if someone wants the epic sound of Siamese Dream they can walk out to their car and listen to the very epic sound of Siamese Dream – or better yet, go listen to one of the many Siamese Dream influenced bands (i.e., The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, for example). Long gone are the days to rehash ‘‘Zero’, ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’, ‘Disarm’, ‘Today’,…etc. Enough already.
Mr. Corgan wants to challenge himself and challenge his fans. Mission accomplished. Challenges separate the true fans from the mid-90’s crowd that lost interest when Adore didn’t have a song that sounded like ‘Hummer’. And challenge fans he does. Sometimes they like it, and at times during the past 10 years, they don’t – but it’s rarely boring and it’s all balls on Corgan’s part. Publications like Pitchfork are so Radioheaded that they can’t imagine anyone else makes music. Shame. Corgan is probably right when he says he could still write songs for Siamese Dream part 2 if he wanted to. I agree. The Beatles could have recorded Sgt. Pepper part 2 but instead took away the overdubs and recorded Let it Be in a nearly live setting. Corgan wants as little of the past as possible. Songs like ‘Glissandra’, ‘Inkless’, ‘Pinwheels’ sound nothing like anything Corgan has recorded before. Better yet, they sound nothing like anything that anyone is recording right now. This rather jovial show at the Chaifetz arena was a partially filled event featuring the normal crowd you’d expect; loyal followers of a polarizing musician that when he is on, is as innovative as any songwriter in the past two decades. Remarkably well-spoken, clearly driven and confident he’s a remarkable case study quite frankly. His body of work of the past 20 years is matched or surpassed only by the likes of Radiohead and a few others. The arena show evokes the images of Pink Floyd’s tours in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but within 20 minutes into the show – your eyes are off the big Orb and back on Corgan’s guitar. Where normally it would be easy to suggest disbanding with the idea of playing in these basketball arenas, it is needed here for the light show. Yes, the music would sound better in some majestic theater with walls built for acoustics instead of one built for volleyball games – but if Corgan wants to marry his new album and some greatest hits with the Orb, so be it. He’ll be back again, in a theater or small club soon enough.
Corgan’s Ace-in-the-hole this time around – the thing that separates this from Zwan and other Pumpkin extreme makeovers is the high quality of the individuals in the current band. The pressure it takes off Corgan is huge. Each member of the current lineup (Nicole Fiorentino, Jeff Schroeder and Mike Byrne) look like the type of person you’d feel comfortable leaving your kids with for 3 days. You would’ve been scared to ask for a stick of gum from anyone in Zwan and some of the past members of the Pumpkins were a train wreck in slow motion. The ease at which Corgan can now play, write and create is apparent. It’s timely and it’s the underlying factor in the success of Oceania (their first great album since 1998) and its exhilarating live show. If Corgan had tragically gone away in 1997 he’d be the iconic star of yesterday like Cobain and many others are, and thank God he’s not.
Click here for our review of the Oceania album
Click here for our review of the Smashing Pumpkins in Milwaukee in 2011
Click here for our article on the brief Machina 2 sale this year on eBay
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