Photos by Merideth C. and review by Jenelle Baker
Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins surprised their audience by opening with their new album "Oceania," in its entirety. The shockingly small crowd was very impressed with "The Celestials," but seemed to enjoy singing along with "Pinwheels" and "Pale Horse" the most. The band really cut loose when performing the nearly nine minute long title track, "Oceania." Any first-time viewers surely were awe-struck to see the gifted front man swing his guitar to the side and play the keyboard while singing. The massive light orb hanging above the performers, on which psychedelic and artistic images were projected, was a stunning visual addition to the stage.
About three-quarters through the album, Chicago native Corgan took a moment to talk sports with the audience. The loyal Cubs fan mentioned that since both his team and the Tigers share a division rival, the White Sox, he roots for the Tigers. Corgan congratulated the Tigers on their entrance into the World Series and also said, "This city [Detroit] deserves a championship."
After a melodic hour and ten minutes, the keyboards were taken away and you knew the band’s classics were about to begin. The intense "dusties," as the multi-talented entertainer referred to them, included "Disarm," "Ava Adore," and a handful of favorites from their 1995 double album, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." The die-hard fans eagerly awaited "Tonight, Tonight," "Zero," and "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," all of which they thoroughly enjoyed. Corgan put a twist on "X.Y.U." and it was well-received by the Pumpkins’ aficionados. The band unexpectedly covered David Bowie’s "Space Oddity" (a.k.a. Major Tom), which initially slowed the vibe down a bit, but as the song went on the crowd’s energy was quick to rekindle.
After a short break, Corgan focused the spotlight on drummer Mike Byrne as he performed a song of his own. Speaking of sharing, Corgan confided in the audience that earlier in the day he had received a text from his father stating that he had to put down "his best friend" (the family dog). The musical genius then dedicated a heart-felt song to his grieving Daddy, William Patrick Corgan Sr.
Throughout the nearly two and a half hour concert, the back-up vocals of bass guitarist Nicole Florentino were as beautiful as her leopard-print dress and the raw talent of guitarist Jeff Schroeder was evident.
Overall, the Smashing Pumpkins continue to amaze. This alternative rock band still outshines others with their ever impressive guitar-heavy sound. Lyrically, the album “Oceania” is less about pain and anguish, but still conveys the densely-layered emotion the band is famous for. Billy Corgan and the gang will undoubtedly be producing musical masterpieces and enthusiastically touring for years to come.
- The Celestials
- Violet Rays
- My Love is Winter
- One Diamond, One Heart
- Pale Horse
- The Chimera
- Wildflower Classics:
- Space Oddity (David Bowie Cover)
- Tonight Reprise
- Tonight, Tonight
- Bullet With Butterfly Wings
- A Song for a Son
- Cherub Rock Encore:
- Black Diamond (KISS Cover)
- Ava Adore