Thursday, August 14, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins at the Tennessee Theatre

Two posts in one day? I know, what is this blog and what have we done with the Sunsphere?

It's just that Billy Corgan told me last night at the Tennessee Theatre to write on my blog: "he's still crazy, but he can still rock." That was just before he dedicated "Today" to me.

Ok, he didn't really tell me that personally or sing "Today" just for me, but it sure feels that way when you're taking in a rock show at the Tennessee Theatre.

I must confess, I'm not a die-hard Smashing Pumpkins fan, but I adored them at the height of their career and knew that if I ever planned to take in a concert the Tennessee Theatre would be the place to do it. And it was. The theatre in all it's restored glory almost seemed like a sixth member of the band. The soft blue glow of the ceiling and red lights on the walls made me feel like I was an extra in a Pumpkins video.

But of course, the Smashing Pumpkins are not quite what they were 12 years ago. James Iha and D'arcy have gone their separate ways and although they were never the creative forces behind the group and although they've been replaced, it still feels like they should be there.

I bought the tickets knowing that they'd be playing a good bit of stuff from their new album, Zeitgeist. I wasn't terribly familiar with it, but after hearing a few songs off it last night I can say it's OK, not great, but OK. Judging by the crowd's reaction, I wasn't the only one who thought that.

I still got out of the show what I hoped for: a classic alternative rock concert. The Pumpkins don't disappoint in that aspect, and Corgan was sure to let us all know that they'll keep on alt-rocking even as American Idol and emo rock dominate pop music. They also shared a few old favorites like "Tonight, Tonight" and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and closed the show with their own interpretation of a Pink Floyd song (not sure which one) that went on for a good 20 minutes ... or at least felt like it did.

The encore sold me, bizarre as it was. The band pulled out kazoos. And sang Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime." My boyfriend hated it. He was hoping for "Cherub Rock" or something along the lines. But it's those off-the-wall surprises that I go to concerts for.

I'll deduct three wigs for the quality of the new tunes (the Russian judge wanted to take away five) and give it seven wigs.


B said...

I, too, was there. I was having a great time up until Billy Corgan said, "We f@#!ing rock and you know it. And they know it out there. Everyone knows it."


I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure he's just as upset that things aren't what they used to be.

After this comment, they went into heavy metal jam time for forever, where I sat down. My mind began drifting until someone a few seats down screamed, "You arrogant prick! Play something good!"

and what I have to say to that is that everyone who bought a ticket knew what they were getting themselves into. I was even getting the feeling that Billy Corgan wanted us to dislike him a little.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I can't dislike them for what they have become no matter how much I may want to. Maybe they'll come back around, but even if they don't, I'll always love them.

Mickey said...

There was a time when I wouldn't have hesitated to shell out $50 to see the Pumpkins: maybe ten years ago. These days that's a little rich to see a band that probably resents it's earlier work, which of course is the stuff we all want to hear.

I was still mighty tempted, but in the end I think all I really want out of them is to listen to Gish really loud while driving with my windows down, thinking about the times when I thought I had it all figured out.

The Modern Gal said...

I had forgotten he said that. At the beginning, I was hoping he would just keep his mouth shut.

I escaped for the restroom when they went into their jam.