Concert Review: Smashing Pumpkins Give Reason To Leave The Past Behind

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Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins (Nick Caito)

Based off their performance at Mohegan Sun on Sunday night, it would seem like the Smashing Pumpkins are about ready to put the past behind them.

Sort of.

The past can’t be entirely forgotten, which has become all too apparent for Billy Corgan. With everything he touches, every bit of new creative output, a headless horseman follows to toss about the ghosts of pumpkins past.

– click here for more photos from the concert –

Of course, making such a big deal about reclaiming that band from the past kind of calls for it.

But this concert at Mohegan was about the present. Specifically Oceania, Corgan and co.’s latest album. The record, a big chunk of the conceptual epic “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope,” was performed front to back in its entirety.

It’s a bold move for an album’s first tour, but it’s one that seemed to go over well with plenty in the audience. There were fans there who were actually singing along to new songs. Young ones. Smiling and cheering. And all without a song on a Michael Bay movie soundtrack.

Billy Corgan (left) and guitarist Jeff Schroeder. (Nick Caito

Corgan looked to be in good spirits as well. The whole band seemed to mesh, well, comfortably. Midway through the Oceania set, Corgan bantered with guitarist Jeff Schroeder. “You know what we’re going to do after we play Oceania?” Billy said. “Yeah, gamble!” replied Schroeder. (The correct answer was apparently to play old songs, or ‘dusties’ as Corgan referred to them. There were 8 total).

It was certainly a different vibe from the band’s 2008 jaunt at the casino. Rather than joking about “blowing his brains” at the craps table, the ghosts of pumpkins past seemed to drain the life from Corgan. It was the 20th anniversary tour, after all.

This time around he played with spirit. Not ‘god of rock and roll’ spirit, but with just enough gusto for ‘The Chimera’ to pop, ‘XYU’ to be brutal, and ‘Tonight, Tonight’ to glisten.

Smashing Pumpkins bassist Nicole Fiorentino. (Nick Caito)

The Pumpkins’ newest blood, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne, fell into place well (Fiorentino, apparently a native of the area, had her mom in the audience). Byrne had perhaps the greatest weight to carry on his 22 year old shoulders- that of replacing Jimmy Chamberlin, the only original member other than Corgan to survive the band’s reincarnation.

– click here for more photos from the concert –

Smashing Pumpkins drummer Mike Byrne. (Nick Caito)

It would be nearly impossible to replicate Chamberlin’s unnaturally-natural style, and Chamberlin is more technical and subtle. However Byrne was no slug, and thumped his way through classics like ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ and ‘Cherub Rock.’

Perhaps the Smashing Pumpkins are finally coming back into their own. It is not, after all, the same band. The zeitgeist of this concert was moving on (a signal of which was that nary a note of that synonymous album was performed), so maybe if Billy has done so, and most of the “play the hits” fans have too, then it’s time to let the jack-o-lantern wounds heal.

What did you think of the concert? Leave a comment below!

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7 thoughts on “Concert Review: Smashing Pumpkins Give Reason To Leave The Past Behind

  1. Emma

    Great review! I actually saw them a few years ago at a sold out show at House of Blues in Orlando, and I was blown away at how they pulled off all their recordings. They were great live, and I would definitely see them again if I ever got the chance. I heard they’re actually playing a show with a new Spanish rock band called A Band of Bitches. I’m not usually into this type of music, but the masks they wear in the video they have for “Noreste Caliente” look like Billy haha! Check it out for yourself :) http://bit.ly/MtMmBx

  2. yohon

    nice review, i agree completely. love then new songs and band. can’t wait for the next record.

    luv luv luv

  3. Mike

    They didn’t play anything from “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.” The name of the album they played from start to finish was “Oceania.”
    The Smashing Pumpkins DID have a song in a Michael Bay movie…Transformers. The song was Doomsday Clock.
    Doomsday Clock is on an album titled Zeitgeist…which is a word you used to discribe the concert….so…good stuff.

    1. Nick Caito Post author

      I’m not quite sure what you mean, Mike…
      I say that the concert “was about the present. Specifically Oceania, Corgan and co’s latest album.” According to interviews, etc., Corgan is working on a multi-album concept epic called Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. Oceania is the first album in that ‘epic,’ and they played Oceania in its entirety.
      I’m glad you picked up on the Michael Bay reference. However the context is that at this concert, Smashing Pumpkins did not play a single song off Zeitgeist. Meaning no Doomsday Clock. As for using an album title to describe the concert, ‘zeitgeist’ is a phrase of German origin roughly meaning ‘the spirit of the moment.’
      But thanks for reading!

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