Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Better Half and I were fortunate enough to be offered tix to the first of the two Smashing Pumpkins shows at the Midland Theater in downtown Kansas City. Neither of us are what you would call huge fans, but we had a long weekend and a free night on the town was just the ticket.
This was my first trip to the newly renovated Midland Theater, and it was amazing. It was also a great place for the Smashing Pumpkins. I saw them once before, on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour. Don't remember much about their set (although the Beastie Boys kicked some serious ass and George Clinton and P-Funk, were terrible), but have to think that it was just too big for their sound. The Midland was THE perfect venue.
I knew going in that this was not going to be a Greatest Hits tour. Monday's show (there is a second show on Tuesday the 25th) consisted of 4.5 Pumkins songs that I recognized.... Today, Tonight/Tonight, The End Is the Beginning Is the End and Bullet with Butterfly Wings. The rest of the set list (I think) was new stuff. Loud, bombastic and somewhat self indulgent. Just about every song had a solo in the middle comprised of feedback, reverb or what ever. Not that it was bad, it just got a little redundant. The energy for the first half of the set was pretty amazing, despite the lack of familiar songs. There was a acoustic/stripped down set of 3-4 songs, that was nice, but drained the building. When they did play Today, Billy Corgan made sure everyone knew that the old stuff didn't do it for him anymore, and they were playing it to appease "the bloggers". Needless to say, they were well received. The final song of the set, was a trippy jam that went on a little too long for my taste. There was a theremin sighting as well. Sorry to say, but there were definitely some moments when the show seemed lethargic and excessive.
So, if you a Pumpkin Head, be prepared. You probably aren't going to hear much from the back catalog... but you are going to get a pretty ferocious set, with a great light show, in a venue that will literally be shaking by the third song. Side note... the drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin, was AWESOME!