with Kill Hannah
at Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
View a slideshow from last night here.
Better than: What I expected
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
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:
Song for a Son
As Rome Burns
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Love is the Sweetest Thing
Stand Inside Your Love
Personal Bias: Smashing Pumpkins were my first favorite band... ever.
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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.