Jun 242015

You know how I’m always mentioning that I keep the radio on in my bedroom at all times because I need to keep tabs on current music even if I don’t like it because I’m obsessed with knowing shit about all music? Well, every now and then I’m rewarded for enduring the occasional Meghan Trainor ear-slaughter and one of those times was last April when there was an ad for a short-run, acoustic-electro Smashing Pumpkins tour. When I heard the bodiless voice-over man say that it was at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead, I thought I heard wrong. So I googled and sure enough, it was Trufax up in that radio piece.

“I need to go to this,” I said to Henry in the urgent whisper I adopt when things are Urgent and need to be Whispered.

Henry was basically like, “Godspeed” and went to bed.

Tickets went on sale ta few days later and I was kind of hemming and hawing because we had Chooch’s birthday party coming up and I didn’t want to be spending too much money, but then I was like FUCK IT I WILL JUST GO ALONE. And since I waited an entire 2 hours after tickets went on sale (due to the Hemming and the Hawing), I wound up with the last seat in the last row in the balcony. I WILL TAKE IT, I shouted to the universe and then yelled for Henry to fetch me my wallet.

I never heard or saw anything advertising this show again after that. To the point where I was actually concerned that it was some kind of hoax. Like maybe it was actually a Smashing Pumpkins cover band? But I guess that’s kind of what the Pumpkins are these days: a cover band fronted by Billy Corgan. But still, I was willing to pay to see this, no matter who was standing up there on that stage with him.

The show was Tuesday, June 16 and people at work were excited that for once they actually knew a band that I was going to see! It was pretty adorable.

I was kind of bummed that I was going alone, but at the same time, I needed this night. Going alone was probably the best thing for me, in all honesty. Plus, I was happy to have a seat. I’m not usually down with seated events, but it had been A Day.

As soon as I entered the Music Hall, I made a beeline for the makeshift wine bar and ordered a double grigio and then headed up to the balcony, where the usher asked me if I was with the man behind me and I haughtily responded, “Nope. I’m alone.” Now show me to my fucking seat!

I was actually pretty content with my seat. This wasn’t something that I felt the urge to be right up front for, and I was happy that I was, as previously stated, the last seat in the last row, next to a wall, and the broad who sat next to me was older and extremely inoffensive (and she disappeared after the first few songs and never returned). As were just about everyone else in the chunk of seats below me. And even when the seat in front of me was claimed, I could still see just fine.

Katie Nash was already playing when I got to my seat, and once her set ended, the next band, Yoon Do Hyun, started within 10 minutes. I love a flawless transition!

Yoon Do Hyun is a Korean rock band, and their English was adorably shaky. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it definitely wasn’t the singer opening his mouth and letting out an Elvis-esque croon. Fuck, his voice was huge and unexpected. I really enjoyed these guys, and their set was a very appropriate length.

Right around 8:30, Billy walked onto the stage alone and the whole room just lost their fucking shit. It was really intimate, being in this small venue with what I would honestly consider one of the greatest singers of my generation. He sat down at a piano and began to play “Tonight, Tonight” and again — everyone lost their shit.

And then like clockwork, the Fashionably Late squad all showed up, causing the ushers to have to run around with their flashlights; people having to stand up to let these tardy assholes get to their seats; and the obligatory angry murmurings that arise when the rest of us, who got there ON TIME, had to have our views obstructed.  I guess when you’re old and rarely attending shows anymore, all manners and couth go out the car window on the wings of the latest Taylor Swift song playing from your radio. But, that was the only lowlight of the whole show, so I can’t complain too much. The lady two rows in front of me was doing enough of that for the both us, and I loved her for shouting, “WOULD YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!?” to the older people conversing loudly across the aisle, like they were having breakfast at Denny’s and not listening to Billy Corgan perform some of his best songs.

WHY!? Why pay $50+ for a concert ticket if you’re just going to TALK during it? I will never understand what it’s like to be someone who only attends shows for the novelty of it all.

Anyway, Billy performed the first handful of songs alone, and then his current guitarist joined him for most of the rest of the show. Katie Cole filled in on bass and guest vocals here and there, and because of this, a rumor started that she was officially the new Smashing Pumpkins, but according to her Facebook page, this is untrue. I’m not sure the Pumpkins even have an official bass player right now and to be honest, I quit keeping up with the ever-revolving door of band members a long time ago. It’s too much!

Parts of the set were electro, and while I noticed that people were bitching about that online (OMG he used a drum machine!), I enjoyed that aspect of the night as well. Especially “Ava Adore.” That is my fucking jam. And anytime I hear “Today,” I am back in middle school, listening to mixed tapes sent to me by pen pals way cooler than me and telling my mom that I need to go to Waves and buy Siamese Dream on the ASAP.

“1979,” and I’m back in Lisa’s parents’ minivan.

Really though, who doesn’t at least love ONE Smashing Pumpkins song? (If more than 5 people read this blog, I could anticipate an influx of comments informing me of people who don’t like at least one Smashing Pumpkins song. “The lunch lady at my junior high.” “My neighbor’s drug dealer, Kemo.” “Probably all of Billy Corgan’s ex-lovers.” “Your butt.”  OK I GET IT.)

There was only ONE SONG in the entire set that I was like, “Nope. Nopenopenope. LALALALALALALALALA. *fingers in my ears*” and that was motherfucking “Landslide.” I hate that song with such a passion. I hate the original Fleetwood Mac version (and no, I don’t hate Fleetwood Mac, typically). I obviously hate the Dixie Chick’s cover. I would wager that I would even hate a rendition by The Cure. And I’m sorry, Billy, but I hated your take on it too. I just HATE THAT EFFING SONG.

My mother may or may not have something or a lot to do with that.

Here is the set list for anyone who cares:

  • Tonight, Tonight
    (piano solo)
  • 99 Floors
  •  Today
  • My Poor Troubled Heart
  • Freedom Ain’t What It Used to Be
    (Zwan cover)
  • For Your Love
    (Zwan cover)
  • Drum + Fife
  • A Stitch in Time
  • Mayonaise
  • Prairie Song
    (Billy Corgan song)
  • Jersey Shore
  • Sparrow
  • Perfect
  • To Sheila
  • Behold! The Night Mare
  • For Martha
  • Blissed and Gone
  • Ava Adore
  • Now (And Then)
    (Billy Corgan song)
  • The Crying Tree of Mercury
  • 1979
  • Run2Me
  • Pinwheels
  • Stand Inside Your Love
    (duet with Katie Cole)
  • Landslide
    (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  • A New Poetry
    (Zwan cover)
  • Encore:
  • Spaceboy
  • I Am One
  • Siva
  • Rhinoceros
  • Bury Me
  • Snail
  • Crush
  • Suffer
  • Snail
  • Tristessa
  • Window Paine
  • Daydream
  • Geek U.S.A.
  • El-A-Noy

So that whole Gish teaser during the encore was allegedly spawned because some guy down on the floor was being an asshole and pissed Billy off so he was like, ” I am only going to play 10 seconds of all these songs, fuck you.” There were several times during the night when he would sarcastically answer someone’s heckle-like demand with a sardonic, “Whatever you want, buddy. I’m here to serve you.”

What an odd, beautiful creature Billy Corgan is. I was really happy, and—-dare I say it?—-#blessed to get to hear these old familiar songs performed this way. The evening, those 2 and a half hours of gorgeous music, relaxed me in ways that a day at the beach never could. I’m getting pretty good at doing things alone. Between this and seeing the Kurt Cobain “Soaked In Bleach” docudrama the night before, I have been feeling super nostalgic for my teen years lately, bouncing back and forth between gangsta rap and then, anytime I was in Lisa’s car (which was A LOT), alternative. I guess all I need to do now is revisit some old Scarface tracks.


The best part about all of this is that, after hearing me, all hyper and buzzing from the latest concert-high, spasmodically recounting the show to Henry, Chooch expressed interest in hearing their music. I YouTubed some of their videos for him and he asked me a lot of questions, like, “So, what? Is he like a vampire or something?” because I guess Billy is just too pale for Chooch’s comprehension. And then I brought out my Mellon Collie double CD and The Aeroplane Flies High boxed set and he started pulling out liner notes and basically devouring as much as he could. The next night, I walked past him while he was playing whatever stupid game he’s into at the moment on the computer, and I realized that he was listening to “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” on Spotify and softly singing along.


  10 Responses to “Smashing Pumpkins: In Plainsong”

  1. It sounds like an amazing show… I love SP and have seen them quite a few times. My favorite show was actually in London and for one of the encores they started playing something that wasn’t one of their songs and Simon freakin’ Le Bon walked onstage and they proceeded to play Night Boat which is my all-time Duran Duran song. But I digress… I’m jealous you got to hear Stand Inside Your Love; it’s one of my faves and I haven’t seen them since that album. My sister is the ultimate fan and lived in L. A. for years and has gotten to meet Billy numerous times. She even had him sign her arm and went straight to a tattoo shop and had it tattooed. I love that Chooch is listening to them now. :)

    • OMG I would have died if Simon LeBon had walked out! That sounds so incredible!

      I wasn’t sure what to expect because I hadn’t been keeping up with SP very much since Machina but Billy was just as fabulous as always!

  2. Billy Corgan is probably a vampire, really. That’s why he keeps getting new band members – he’s turning all of the rest of them and they’re in some sort of lair in his mansion.

    I like SP. He definitely has a unique voice, which is not something that can be said about many singers now.

  3. Goddamn this must have been amazing! So jealous!!

  4. “I guess when you’re old and rarely attending shows anymore, all manners and couth go out the car window on the wings of the latest Taylor Swift song playing from your radio.”


    “and I realized that he was listening to “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” on Spotify and softly singing along.

    THE BEST.”

    Yes, the best. A natural interest, encouraged. Good for him!

    There are a few Pumpkins CDs in my collection, though I never fully got to loving them. Still, let us add this band to one we must discuss one day. I had no idea D’Arcy and James and all his band left, actually.

  5. By the way, why did he steal Robert Smith’s song title for his album? POOOOOOOOOOO.

  6. Ava Adore is the BEST. This show sounds like it was pretty kick-ass. I’m glad you had a fun night. I need to go to a show ALONE!

    I’ve never understood why people think it’s okay to yell at the singers/bands on stage.

    • Going to shows alone can be very freeing! The only time it sucks, for me at least, is in between bands. I just stand there awkwardly! I wish you lived here though because there is a house show I’m going to on Saturday and I’m 99.9% no one is going to go with me and it is going to be awkward as fuccccck.

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