Jul 30 2007
I got into the Smashing Pumpkins in 2000 (thanks to my friend Gerald), just in time to see (figuratively speaking) the band split. I then followed what Billy Corgan was doing, and actually missed a concert in Paris of Zwan which got canceled wore or less at the last minute. I basically thought that I was cursed, until Corgan announced that he was planning on putting the Smashing Pumpkins back together, and when I saw a few months ago that they were going to tour and play for 10 nights at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
I managed to get tickets from TicketMaster. Once I had a pair of tickets, I actually tried to buy tickets for a second show, but they were all sold out. Tickets must have been all sold within a couple of minutes, so I felt lucky I managed to get some. It actually was a special kind of concert, as people were waiting in line in front of The Fillmore hours before the show.
I actually almost didn’t get in: the tickets were Will Call tickets, so I needed my credit card to get them the day of the show. Unfortunately, my credit card was replaced by the credit card company a few weeks ago because it might have been compomised. At this point, I followed instructions from them destroying my card, only to realize the following day that I needed it to get my tickets. I then spent 30 minutes extracting from the trash and taping together the 50 little pieces that used to be my card (yes, I had been slightly overboard with the scissors when destroying the card), making sure that you could still read the number and see my name. So I crossed my fingers when approaching the doors, but they actually were happy to only see my ID, so I didn’t need to get into a long explanation to justify why my card in tiny pieces taped back together on a piece of paper.
The show started at 9pm sharp with a band from Portland, OR which was pretty good, but whose name I unfortunately did not catch. They played a good set for 30 minutes that did not seem like 1/2 hour (sometimes, support acts seems longer than they are, but here it was really enjoyable). One thing that I noticed though is that every support act that wants to make sure that people scream while they’re on stage tell people who’s playing next: “So the Smashing Pumpkins are here tonight!” Response from the crowd: “Yeaaaaaah!”
At 10.05pm, after the stage was prepared for the next part of the show, Billy Corgan entered the stage with an acoustic guitar and started playing some solo songs, that he referred to as “sad solo songs”. It was a gentle introduction to the show. He also said at some point: “Don’t worry, the rock ‘n’ roll party is going to begin soon”. He was soon joined by the whole band to play Today, and the show really began at this point.
They played a mix of older songs and of songs from their latest album, Zeitgeist. I find these songs really powerful on stage (United States, Tarantula, Doomsday Clock, etc.). At some point during the show, Jeff Shroeder’s amp broke down, which generated a 15 minute break. I was somewhat disapointed by the band which did not do much during this time (they joked about telling a story, but never did).
I was really impressed by the quality of the show. The sound was great. Despite my love of live shows, I often regret that the volume of certain instruments is too high and masks other ones or the singer’s voice. I felt that the sound engineers here at done a terrific job at rendering all the parts of the band. The songs and the performance of the band were really powerful, and it was really enjoyable to watch them play.
After 2h45 of intense performance (minus the 15 minutes break due to the amp), the lights came back on and people left the venue. It’s only when I got home and read a fan forum that I discovered that they actually played two more songs that we missed, which is too bad.
The playlist, courtesy of frenchy at Netphoria:
- Leaving Lament
- Rotten Apples
- Peace and Love
- 99 Floors
- No Surrender
- United States (Jeff’s amp breaks down)
- Bleeding the Orchid
- Lucky 13
- Bullet With Butterfly Wings
- God and country
- Death From Above
- By Starlight
- To Sheila (with Linda Strawberry)
- Tonight, Tonight
- Glass and the Ghostchildren
- That’s the Way (My Love Is)
- The band leaves the stage
- Doomsday Clock
- Heavy Metal Machine
- Lights go back on
It really was an amazing show. Fortunately, there were cameras roaming around, so I can hope to see it again in DVD soon.