Last Night: Smashing Pumpkins at Revolution July 20

Last Night: Smashing Pumpkins at Revolution July 20
Photo by Ian Witlen

Smashing Pumpkins
with Kill Hannah
at Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

View a slideshow from last night here.

Better than: What I expected

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The Review

Although D'arcy, James, and Jimmy left the band many moons ago, it's hard to hide loyalty for the Smashing Pumpkins original lineup. That said, this show, featuring lone original member Billy Corgan and backing band of new recruits, exceeded what was expected.

Last night was definitely the Billy show, though, and many fans

admitted that they felt like it was Billy Corgan and a Smashing Pumpkins

cover band, rather than the original Smashing Pumpkins. Even with that

in mind, the newly added members gave it their all, and Billy tried to

let his band mates' talents shine, granting each a solo at some point,

and even going off into mini jam sessions with guitarist Jeff Schroeder

on several occasions.

The concert started off half an hour late, with Kill Hannah taking to

the stage. Sounding a bit like a young Smashing Pumpkins, fronted with

an Ethan Hawke-sounding vocalist a la Reality Bites, his whine

wasn't quite at Billy levels, but we could tell that was what he was

aiming for, and that's all that matters, right?

The sound was a bit off and we couldn't quite hear the vocalist for the

first two songs, but the audience didn't seem too bothered by it. The

guitars sounded Pumpkins-esque, and that seemed to be enough. Kill Hannah

picked up the pace mid-set though, and redeemed themselves by

attempting to chat up the crowd about their love of all things SP, and

how they were living a dream following the band on tour.

The next band slated to perform was Bad City, but fans were

thrilled when Billy took to the stage, instead. Mr. Corgan likes to be

on time, and we were all grateful to get things running. He started off

with his first single off of the new album, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope,

"Song for a Son," to warm us up, and once he jumped into "Today," the

crowd went from mellow middle-agers to the rambunctiousness of teens at

their first rock show.

The guitars were rich and the sound

clean, and Corgan's 20-plus year musical career with the Pumpkins was made

apparent by the maturity in his voice. He was rehearsed and the lyrics

were clear, and he stuck to strictly singing, but played with such

energy that we almost didn't want to hear him chat the crowd up.

Billy did start interacting, though, about eight songs

in. At first the crowd head scratched, confused because he began a song

a bit differently. As soon as we noticed it was his beloved "Bullet

with Butterfly Wings," the crowd went chaotic. Guys in the pit tried to

mosh, but security stopped them instantly. That didn't stop the moshers,

though, and they started the pit mid-crowd, to make it harder for our

yellow-shirted friends to stop the fun. Hey, haven't they ever seen the

music video for this song? It's supposed to be about moshing and getting


Black T-shirted Zero audience members were singing so

loud throughout that it was hard to hear Billy's voice, but he knew

that this show was about fans reliving youth, so he let them have at


Show-goers sporadically crowd-surfed when security wasn't

looking, but he knew exactly what to do to calm us down. He had the set

list planned and down to a science, with slow downs and energetic

climaxes perfectly paced. This could have been

to appease the older audience -- many of which were probably fans since

the band first got together in 1988 -- or so he

could take a breather between songs.

The cuteness commenced when he unexpectedly brought a "surprise

guest" on stage. The last time I saw him do this was when he opened for

the Rolling Stones in the late 90's, and brought Marilyn Manson on stage

to sing with him. Wondering how he could possibly top that, his young

niece came up to sing a rendition of the 1920's song "Love is the

Sweetest Thing," and the crowd oohed and ahhed as she sang

along in the duet with her soft, fragile vocals. Billy went on to

imitate her after the song, saying that she loves all the fans because

they help him make money that he then goes on to spend on her at Toys R

Us. Aww.

Corgan continued through his lengthy set, as the crowd became more and

more drenched in sweat, but the poor

ventilation didn't stop fans from belting out the words to crowd

pleasers like "Perfect" and "Cherub Rock." No fresh air from the big propellers on stage -- once they turned on, they were

only a well-lit prop. 

At one point, Billy confessed to being a bit winded, too, as he

admitted to stalling in hopes of catching his breath, asking crowd

members to ask him what they wanted to know, and throwing in a little

South Florida love, announcing "Whenever we come to South Florida, we

know it's gonna be a party -- a rock 'n roll party." He laughed with us,

telling us he not only designed the set list, but is also a fire

marshall, deciding how many people can get in, that he makes vegan ice

cream, and that, "This ain't porn, you can't keep going and going."

He also made brief mentions of the Miami Heat, and having to

speak Spanish before saying "fantastico" and calling it "el grande rock

show." After spouting on and finally regaining his strength, he asked

"But did you come here to hear me talk?" and the crowd went wild, before

he began the one song we all expected to hear to finish it all:

"Tonight, Tonight."

Set list:

Song for a Son


Astral Planes



As Rome Burns


Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Ava Adore

United States

Love is the Sweetest Thing

Bleeding Orchid


Cherub Rock

Stand Inside Your Love



Tonight, Tonight

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: Smashing Pumpkins were my first favorite band... ever.

By the Way: With all the Zero T-shirts in the audience, he didn't perform "Zero"... or surefire crowd pleasers like "1979" or "Disarm"?

Random Detail: It was hard to get a good view, no matter

where you stood. So many extremely tall fans. I've never seen so many

people over 5'8" in my life.

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