My Musical Adventures

The Smashing Pumpkins @ The Fillmore, 8/1/07

It’s the last night of an 11 night residency at The Fillmore. In our master ticket plan, we decided to try for the last night, because a) people would try to get tickets for the first few shows, and our chances might be better, and b) good things happen on the last show of a tour. Even though The Smashing Pumpkins are going on to do more shows, this is the last of the small ones.

There was a wickedly long line to get in, with a strict will call where those who tried to pick up their tickets and head out to the street were yelled at. I don’t know how much this system worked, but it seemed pretty strict. Once we walked into the ballroom, we saw the stage that I had been reading about. It was huge, making the Fillmore seem like an outdoor show.

The 88, from LA, was the opening act for this night only. Very polished band, but didn’t seem to be a great match for an opener (they should open for Interpol, and have a suit-off). The singer makes some great facial expressions when he sings.

During the setup for SP, someone came out an informed us that we would be getting two individual sets- one acoustic and one electric. I knew that the other shows had started with acoustic- Billy coming out and playing a few songs- but this one must be different.

Another thing that I was prepared for from reading reviews was an obscure setlist. Still, I had no idea. I had refreshed my pretty avid SP memory by listening to them a lot over the last few days, and it didn’t help. Once the band came out and sat down and Billy and Jeff opened up their music books, I should have known.

Ginger Reyes is a tiny, tiny woman. Basses are big, but she makes it look cartoonish. Plus, she has a Amy Winehouse bouffant.

And Billy’s shaved head has made him look the same over all these years. I forgot how much I liked the white suit, black and white striped shirt thing…it’s a good look. The Voss water….that’s another story.

While the acoustic set sounded nice, most people seemed to be lulled into a stupor. The occasional, “bring us the metal!’ and ‘let’s go’ was yelled out. People yelled for Billy to talk, and he said “damned if I do, damned if I don’t”. Talking to your audience is not the same as taking out one page ads in the Chicago paper.

At one point, Billy flubbed a song as he started to play. He said, “I should stop writing such complicated songs”.

Standouts were ‘1979’ and ‘God and Country’.

There was a 30 minute break between the acoustic and electric sets. At this point, the guy standing next to me told me he had been to all 11 shows. Wow! That’s hardcore.

The band came back out to much fanfare. This is what everyone was waiting for. However, the band could not commit to to rocking out or being mellow. Plus, as my friend said, Billy Corgan’s ‘hippie dancing’ to his music is a bit awkward.

Unfortunately, towards the end, the Hard Rock Chick had a bit of a fainting spell. Even though the security guards were passing out free water to these of us up front, I still got too dehydrated. And it was a mellow mellow mellow crowd, too…I don’t know what the deal was.

So here’s the video to check it out. Enjoy!

Link to another review, with the setlist

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    I agree. This was not their best show. Billy didn’t say anything to the crowd or play any of the songs that everyone was there to hear. Very disappointing. The audience was falling asleep during the acoustic set and a lot of people were leaving during the electric set too.

    The opening act looked like they had their shit more together than Billy. What happened to him and what was with those long jams!?

    I miss the Smashing Pumpkins. Billy come back!

    The obscurity was a bit difficult to deal with. For the accoustic part, however, I didn’t seem to care. Hearing his voice on such an intimate level was mezmorizing. I traveled back and forth in my mind between the beautiful talent I saw before me and what his sound made me feel in the 90s. Very sentimental.

    I’m sad to say it, but I could hace done without the electric set (except the lighting was the best indoor stage I’ve seen). That kind of sound inside is already hard to follow at the Fillmore. And it’s near impossible to rock out after already standing for 3 hours (on a weeknight) especially when I don’t know any of the freakin’ songs!

    I realize he didn’t want to do a ‘greatest hits’ tour and I respect that. I fully expected to hear a lot, if not all, of the new album. But he forgot that the relationship I have with the Smashing Pumpkins is from those brilliant albums: Gish, Siamese, Melancholy, etc. To pretend like those don’t exist is to pretend like I’m not a fan.

    p.s. I actually liked his hippie dancing. It made him look goofy and more approachable.

    the obscure songs are brand new songs that they had been writing during these residency shows in north carolina and san fran. these residency shows were intended to be more intimate and less structured than traditional tour shows. it was supposed to be a chance for them to play less commonly played songs, try out brand new songs, write new songs, involve the fans in the creative process to some extent, etc. i’m sure that the official tour will have more of the greatest hits that everyone loves.

    count me in on loving his dancing. 🙂

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