Somehow I went through the entire 90′s without ever seeing one of my all-time favorite bands, Smashing Pumpkins. I blame it on the fact that they were from Chicago and I took it for granted that I would always have the opportunity to see them. Yeah, well that didn’t happen. And almost 20 years from when I first discovered them, I FINALLY got to see them perform. The line-up may be different, but the only one that really matters in this band is Billy Corgan. He is the mastermind, and always has been, behind this band! The songs, the arrangements…it’s all him! And because of that, I was never in doubt that this particular show would be one that I could NOT miss!! As soon as I got the information for the presale date I knew I was in a bind. I would be working when the tickets went on sale and I was sure they would sell out pretty quickly. Luckily, my friend and current concert buddy decided he wanted to go this show too; he was able to jump on the presale and buy us both tickets. I was so grateful and thrilled that we would be going. The closer it got to the date, the more excited I became. This tour is in support of the new Pumpkins album, Oceania. I bought it so I would be familiar with the songs before the concert. I really love this album. It rocks, it vibes…it’s his best in years. My favorite song at this moment from the album is The Celestials. It has such a sweet melody and sentiment. I love it! I got a glimpse of what would probably be the set list for this show. Since this was a pre-show to the start of the official tour, the first half of the concert was dedicated to the entire new album. It wasn’t in order of the album, but they played all the songs. It was amazing to hear them live. It was apparent by the looks Billy was giving to the sound guy that they were still working out some kinks in the show. What I adored were the little smiles Billy gave at the beginning of the show. This is a brand new album and this audience was already singing every word. Billy’s smiles conveyed both his surprise and pleasure in the fact that his audience already knew these songs. How awesome!! I loved it! I want to backtrack for a minute. I told my friend, before the show, that I wanted to get there before the doors opened so we could get a good spot. Since it was a general admission show, it would pretty much be a free-for-all when it came to getting close to the stage. The line was already incredibly long when we arrived, but I knew it would move quickly once the doors opened. And it did! We were inside by 7:10 and we got a great spot in the middle about 8 rows back from the stage (standing room). I was happy and I wasn’t planning on moving from that spot. At this point, we still had no idea who the opening band was. In fact, we didn’t find out till they went on at 7:30. Ume is a local, Austin band. They’re a 3-piece with two chicks (lead singer/guitarist & drummer) and a male bassist. For a 3 piece, this band ROCKED! I almost felt sorry for this male bassist because he was surrounded by these incredibly badass female musicians. They really won me over. I had seen this band’s name everywhere, but I had never heard their music. I will definitely be checking them out again. Back to the Pumpkins. Their set started at around eight. I was so impatient. In fact, right before they went on, I had been crouched down because I had gotten so antsy and my back was killing me from standing in one spot for an hour. I heard the crowd start to roar, so I jumped up and there they were! Billy’s traveling with 3 other band mates…a female bassist/keyboardist, another male guitarist/keyboardist and a male drummer (who also plays the keyboard, btw). These guys were a great complement to Billy. I was very impressed. After the band made it through the entire list of Oceania songs, they played a David Bowie cover, “Space Oddity”. That was very cool. And then…then came the classics or the “dusties” as Billy called them. lol The first classic was X.Y.U. I knew it was coming, so I was prepared for it. Even so, that’s one of my favorites, so I still went a little nuts when I heard it starting. I was excited about the songs that I knew to be included in the set list. But one song, one of my FAVORITES, was glaringly missing. So all I could hope for was that they would add it into tonight’s show. Just when I thought I knew what song was next. Just when I was reaching into my purse for a piece of candy, the beginning strains of Zero (the song I wasn’t sure he would play) began:
I started screaming like a lunatic, grabbed my friends arm…I mean, I grabbed his arm so hard that I ended up scratching him and drawing blood. I was a maniac…a freak. I LOVE that song! I was so incredibly happy they played it. I told my friend, “Kill me now because I can die a happy girl!” And in the moment, I meant every word! They played quite a few oldies, but goodies like “Disarm”, “Tonight, Tonight”, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”, “Stand Inside Your Love”, etc. I think “Cherub Rock” was the last song in the main set. YES!! And then they left the stage. The crowd was calling for an encore and the band did not disappoint. A few minutes passed and they came back out with some dude (Jimmy Flemion) from the band The Frogs. I have no idea. He did one of The Frogs’ songs. ?? And then he jumped in on a Smashing Pumpkins song, “Thirty-Three”. This guy was so weird. He kept pretending like he was gonna throw his guitar in the audience. And he actually jumped into the audience for a quick minute. He was just very odd. He finally left and Billy ended the show with one more song, “Mayonaise”. I haven’t been to a show this incredible in a long, long time. I was in heaven. I’m so happy I went and I’ll never forget how great it made me feel to be there…to be a part of this amazing music. The band played for two and a half hours!! They sounded great, the guitars sounded brutal, & the audience was electric! Billy didn’t talk too much during the show, but when he did he was actually pretty funny. After the last song and the lights had come up, he took a few minutes to walk from either side of the stage and really acknowledge the audience. That was great. It was evident he really appreciated all the love. And we appreciated the outstanding performance!