(All photos by Justin Peterson)
The Smashing Pumpkins are my all time favorite band. If you you’ve met me over the years, the one thing you would know for sure, is I’m “that girl who is obsessed with the Smashing Pumpkins.” I spent most of my formative years talking non-stop in Pumpkin lyrics & generally being a complete Pumpkinhead.
That said, I’ve never seen them play live. Yes! Crazy, I know! Being a bit “young”, I wasn’t able to have seem them in their “mainstream” touring days (Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness was released October 1995- I was nine *gulp*!) – & the year I really got into them (feed me Bsides, I own the boxset, live/breathe SP) was 2000 & the unfortunately the year the original members of the band broke up. The few times they have been to the Tampa area since 2000, I’ve either been out of town, or unable to make it for some reason or another. (Shame!)
I was terribly nervous heading to the concert. I hardly could talk, this was my first time seeing my coveted band! The band that changed everything! Gabi even poked fun at me for how nervous/unable to speak I was. I was worried that they wouldn’t live up to what they are in my mind. I mean, 10 years of build up… doesn’t seem like it’s going to go well.
Once in, Gabi & I got a drink. I know my friend, Justin (all the photos), would be there & actually his girlfriend, Andrea found me! She informed us that Justin was already in, he had been able to score an armband to see warm-up & such. As soon as the doors opened, the three of us rushed to find Justin. He was up front!
I was standing front row middle. of. my. favorite. band. -ever.
I could barley believe it. Shortness of breath.
The stage was a complete over-the-top extravaganza, w/ two giant silver mosaic fans spinning & lighting fixtures that flashed multiple strobe lights. Visual delight!
The current line up features guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino, & drummer Mike Byrne. Make no mistake though, Billy was running the show & at every opportunity he was wailing on his guitar. It was a night of guitar worship, -the altar of The Bald One. ;)
I was excited that they played well known “mainstream success” songs, like “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” & “Today,”. The crowd went nuts w/ energy as they sang along & enjoyed 1995 all over again. To top it off, they played the best version of “Ava Adore” I’ve ever heard, which was full of Billy’s guitar talent & rock-your-face-off rock.
The kinda lame part is, I was moved beyond I ever expected. I cried a few times during the set. Tears of total happiness.
The band left stage, everyone screamed & cheered until the Pumpkins came back out to an even bigger applause to play one last song, the ~18-minute song “Gossamer.” The unreleased track began w/ sexy guitar riffs, melted down into a muddled stew & came back to a shred fest before Billy finally put it to bed. (I have watched this song online, it ranges anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes when played on tour.)
I also scored a drum stick from Mike Byrne! I screamed & screamed for a track list (I collect them, & wanted to be able to post here), but they exited & the Ritz’s security was complete jerks, -made everyone exit asap.
Some of the songs they played:
Astral Planes (new song)
Ava Adore (“Adore”)
Today (“Siamese Dream”)
Stand Inside Your Love (“Machina/The Machines of God”)
Bullet With Butterfly Wings (“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”)
Cherub Rock (“Siamese Dream”)
Tonight (“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”)
That is the biggest smile of complete awesomeness happening in front of you
& clearly, Gabi is getting her face rocked off.
It’s the day after & my ears are still ringing as I’m writing this. If every show was like this Smashing Pumpkins one, rock and rock would have no problem. This is easily the best concert I’ve ever been to. (Previously, my top concert was Thievery Corporation in Chicago @ the Metro in 2007.)
HUGE thanks to Justin & Andrea for the sweetest spot & also, Justin is an amazing artist & great person -make sure to check out his work!
If you want to see all my photos from the concert, visit my Flickr photo set. & I added the Pumpkin song widget to the right. Make sure to check it out! :)
Update, thanks to Andy:
1. Astral Planes
2. Ava Adore
5. As Rome Burns
6. A Song for a Son
8. Bullet With Butterfly Wings
9. United States
10. Bleeding the Orchid
12. Cherub Rock
13. That’s the Way (My Love Is)
15. Stand Inside Your Love
17. Tonight, Tonight