The Smashing Pumpkins Shine, Oh So Bright At 30th Anniversary Show
Smashing Pumpkins Celebrate 30th Anniversary With A Little Help From Their Friends
The Smashing Pumpkins have turned 30 and they did so in New Jersey last night at The PNC Bank Arts Center. For fans and the Pumpkins alike, this evening was a special performance smack dab in the middle of Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour and it was nothing short of extraordinary. This particular show was made extra special thanks to guest appearance which brought together once in a lifetime performance we very well may never see again. Guests for the evening included Mark Mcgrath of Sugar Ray, Courtney Love of Hole, Chino from The Deftones, Davey Havok of AFI, and more… But we will get to that in a bit.
The tour marks the closest to the original line up since all four original members performed together back in 1999; in the nearly 20 years since then, we’ve seen different variations of the band, all lead of course by frontman Billy Corgan. Now in 2018 The Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour finds Corgan joined by Pumpkin founding members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin, along with SP 2.0 guitarist Jeff Schroeder and they’re even accompanied by the new track “Solara”.
It’s this current line up that allows Corgan to orchestrate his vision and bring a version of the Smashing Pumpkins fans have long yearned for. Arguably a guitar driven and thunderous undertone the band has been missing, but now breathes life back into the earlier material making those tracks able to shine like they were meant to.
In the 30 years since the band’s inception, they have helped shape and define a genre like very few others have. Simply put, if you think about the 90’s you most definitely think of Nine Inch Nails, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and without a doubt The Smashing Pumpkins! Corgan may very well be one of the most underrated and under-appreciated songwriters from that time, and even now.
But I challenge anybody to see this show, this revival of the Pumpkins and tell me they don’t hear classic songs and amazing musicianship and songwriting. I can make this challenge because the tour offers a full arsenal of the best Smashing Pumpkins material ever written.
But before we dig deeper into The Smashing Pumpkins performance, another highlight of the tour comes in the form of the opening act Metric. The synth driven guitar rock band led by vocalist Emily Haines, formed back in 1998. The band finds themselves on the road promoting their upcoming self titled seventh studio album, they recently released the records single “Dressed to Suppress”, which you can listen to here.
The four piece rock band from Canada maybe the opener for the tour but their performance is up to par of a headliner. If you don’t think you know the band, you’re probably wrong unless of course you’ve been living under a rock or something.
My bet is if you’re a TV watcher or video game lover you may no the band after all. As the band took the stage stripped down with only the necessities needed for the performance. Their instruments and speakers, and the band themselves. Crooner Emily Haines approached the mic donned with sunglasses, and presented an introduction simply put “Hello NJ we’re Metric” before diving into their hit song “Black Sheep.”
Performing under spotlights and strobes, Metric made their nine-song set fly by. The set which included the songs “Satellite Mind”, “Dark Saturday”, and “Now or Never”. The crowd, who was most definitely there for the Pumpkins, seemed to enjoy the shows warm-up, many standing in support of the bands sound. The performance was fun, energetic, and was met with a show of appreciation from the New Jersey crowd with cheers and applause.
Next up was the moment myself and about 18,000 others were patiently awaiting; it was time for the main event: The Smashing Pumpkins. In case you didn’t get the memo earlier in this article, the night was an extra special occasion that would be met with an extra special performance. Think about the list of names and then picture the nostalgia of it all. If you’re like me and were born in the range of 1984-1988, you’re presumably a 90’s kid, unless your taste in music doesn’t suck, or maybe you’re a 30 year old who thinks the 90’s sucked because you believe you should have been born in the 70’s.
If you are a 90’s kid like me then it’s quite possible that most of those names listed in the beginning as the nights guest along with the Pumpkins most likely played a major role in your love for music. I most certainly know for me bands like the Deftones and Smashing Pumpkins albums Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness were my musical bibles growing up.
Now I had seen the Pumpkins in the past, eagerly, I might add, after being told by numerous haters that they were “Garbage” live. Well let me add, of all the times I’ve seen Billy Corgan and company, which I believe is four before this show, they were always good! Folks I’m here to tell you after this show, in 2018, the Smashing Pumpkins were GREAT!!! I don’t know if this has anything to do with the return to the almost complete line-up minus Darcy or if a fire was just naturally lit under the band but either way it’s amazing to see. The anniversary show wasn’t just special because of Corgan bringing out some friends to perform some cool songs. What really made the show special was it was completely different than the rest of the tour. The setlist contained tracks specifically added for this show as well as songs that haven’t been played, some for almost ten plus years. The anniversary show also found the Pumpkins ditching the massive video screens instead opting for cool lighting backdrops.
The set kicked off quickly with record-hits like “Rocket” and “Siva” before kicking it into high gear with the fan favorite “Zero”. The Pumpkins who are known for being the quiet type verbally in between songs were not tonight.
Corgan and James Iha thanked the crowd multiple times and even did some onstage comedic jargon back and forth between songs. After the initial eleven songs of the set it was time for the first guest, that guest came in the form of Chino Moreno of Deftones!
The two songs performed would be a throwback, the first was “Bodies”, which was the band’s first performance of the song since 2008; the second would be “Snail”, which hasn’t been performed since 2000.
Are you starting to see the special factor coming into play?
In between guests, the special vibes nor the surprises stopped, as frontman Corgan took to the piano to cover Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” with virtually the entire amphitheater singing along. The next guest’s to take the stage were Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer of The Killers, who helped the band shred away to the songs “Cherub Rock” and the more mellow “1979”.
The craziness didn’t stop there Mark Mcgrath who you probably know from Sugar Ray came up to perform his bands famous hit “Fly” and a rendition of Judas Priest classic “Breaking the Law”.
Next up was where the party really began, the part of the show I think everybody including myself was waited for.
Corgan got on the microphone to announce the next performer, “She’s a friend, she’s been a lover, an inspiration. Please welcome my friend Courtney Love”
The audience erupted with screams and applause as Love made her way onto the stage, introducing the song she was about to perform by saying “This is a song I wrote with Billy.” In came the opening riff of the Hole hit “Celebrity Skin”. She would remain onstage for two more performances consisting of “Malibu” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, in which she screamed the choruses.
The fun wasn’t done yet and nearly two hours in to the band being on stage pretty much nonstop, nobody was complaining and the fans most certainly were not bored. The show flowed seamlessly and was constantly exciting and attention grabbing. In fact, to be honest, I can’t really think of many bands I could watch for almost three hours without losing my mind but the Pumpkins did something incredible special, dare I say historic. Billy Corgan once again took a moment to address the packed crowd, “You know we played a sold out show yesterday at Madison Square Garden, all I heard all night was why an anniversary show in NJ?” Corgan replied. “Because New Jersey was one of the first places to support us when we first started”. That sent the crowd into a frenzy and just kept them alert for the next guest and maybe one of the coolest.
Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order took to the stage, saying “Billy asked me to play a song” and jumped right into the New Order track “Age of Consent” after Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan would join Hook on stage with the help of AFI’s Davey Havok to cover two Joy Division songs “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, which found Courtney Love back on stage.
The Pumpkins would finish off the night with two encores “Solara” and the Betty Noyes cover “Baby Mine”.
Say what you want about the band, their history or their line-up changes, but the band they are at this very moment is a force. Corgan underrated as a guitarist and vocalist shines and exceeds all expectations.
The musicianship and spirit of the Smashing Pumpkins is better than ever and I really don’t think they will be slowing down anytime soon since it seems their mojo is working full force. The band hinted though this was the first 30th Anniversary show, it may not be the last one either this year or next.
Either way The Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour is currently happening, it runs for another month and change and even makes its way to the UK. Check out the full list of dates on the bands website HERE!