Night one of the Smashing Pumpkins at the Gibson
(Text by Jeff Miller, photos by Timothy Norris. Click on images for entire Smashing Pumpkins slideshow.)
As the Smashing Pumpkins took the stage to a surprisingly
funky new song called "Everybody Come Clap" for their first proper L.A.
show since reuniting last year, singer/songwriter Billy Corgan sported
a striking head-dress/white dress ensemble, lit only from behind for a
forceful visual (and forcefully hard-to-take photos).
Corgan led his band -- which at various times included a
horn section, backup singers, violinists, and auxiliary keyboards --
through both Pumpkins classics like "Mayonnaise" and a sped-up "Tonight
...as well as a bevy of unreleased and obscure
back-catalog songs, like the gorgeously composed "Again, Again, Again
(The Crux)" (during a short, intimate acoustic-type set) and the
plodding, "Guitar Hero"-ish shredfest "Heavy Metal Machine."
The current incarnation of the Pumpkins includes original
drummer Jimmy Chamberlin -- as well as guitarist Jeff Schroeder,
formerly of the Los Angeles alt-rock band The Lassie Foundation.
Corgan was affable and almost alarmingly self-referential throughout
the show. Some choice quotes: (before the acoustic set) "It's a good
time to sit, because you're all old...you know the '90s are a distant
memory. Give up the fight." (During an encore-ending, all-kazoo version
of The Carpenters' "Close To You") "Once we got inside your hearts,
what did we do? We pissed in it!" (before the soft "The Rose March")
"What we lack in hits we make up for in good cheer."
The proper set closed with a 15-minute-plus spaced-out
version of Pink Floyd's obscure "Set The Controls For the Heart of the
Sun," buoyed in part by new bassist Ginger Reyes -- a dead ringer for
original band member D'arcy Wretzky in everything from hairstyle to
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