Smashing Pumpkins at 1STBANK, 10/16/12
Jon Solomon Smashing Pumpkins last night at 1STBANK Center.
SMASHING PUMPKINS @ 1STBANK CENTER | 10/16/12
"So, for those of you who are insiders into our multi-faceted world, you know that we're playing our album first tonight, Oceania," Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan told the crowd at 1STBANK Center on Tuesday night. "And then, if I'm in the mood...I have been know to be fickle -- a flip-flopper, maybe. A bit of a gig flip-flopper. Then we get around to playing a few classics at the end. In the beginning, they were just really good songs, and now they're classics. See, the funny thing is now we're playing good songs that one day may be classics. Ironic, isn't it, to have lived that long?"
But as noble a notion as it may have been, playing Oceania all the way through for the first half of the set might not have been the best to way engage the meager crowd, which seemed to fill roughly a quarter of the venue last night. With the stage placed in the middle of the floor, it made the 1STBANK Center feel a lot smaller than it did last week at the New Order show.
Corgan was flanked by his latest line-up of guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne, who Corgan would later note that they were the 87th, 88th and 89th band members in the Pumpkins 24 year history. While running through Oceania during the first hour, the quartet dug in and delivered some powerful cuts, like "Quasar" and "The Celestials," which started off slow and ramped up the intensity halfway through. Byrne, who proved to be a more than capable drummer, fueled a few songs with his vigorous tom-tom beats.
It wasn't like the Pumpkins weren't trying, but during that first hour, the crowd just seem to be really feeling it. Most of the people who weren't on the floor were sitting in their seats, like they were watching a film or something. The looks on their faces seemed to be looks of either fascination or confusion, or maybe a combination of both. Or maybe they were just mesmerized by the giant video projection globe above the band. Despite Corgan's proclamination that these Oceania cuts were good songs that one day may be classics, judging by the crowd's tepid reaction to a lot of the tunes, you got the feeling that they weren't necessarily buying it.
It took a revved up take on David Bowie's "Space Oddity" to really spark the crowd, and the tune was borderline epic with Byrne beating the hell out of the drums. The crowd started warming up even more on "Disarm" and "Tonight, Tonight," and by the time the Pumpkins launched into "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," the crowd clapped along to the bass and drum intro, and from there, the place pretty much went batshit. That song got the biggest reaction of the night.