Smashing Pumpkins at the Wiltern

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Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Smashing Pumpkins
October 6th, 2011
The Wiltern

Click here to see more photos.

When bands kick off a tour they are often rusty and display jitters of nervousness. Smashing Pumpkins displayed neither of those traits as they ignited the Wiltern with a two hour twenty-one song set ripe with deep cuts, fierce new tunes and a few hits for good measure. Longtime fans had to have been pleased as they dusted off songs from their 1991 debut album Gish and a smattering of selections of their 1994 compilation album Pisces Iscariot.
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Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
The lead off track "Quasar" from their upcoming album Oceania started the proceedings and was a full out auditory assault. The opening notes of "Starla" took me by surprise as I can't remember hearing the song live in a number of years dating back to when I first saw them at Lollapalooza in 1994. Billy Corgan finished off the song with a searing guitar solo on his custom Fender Stratocaster.

My jaw hit the floor upon hearing the creamy distortion of "Geek U.S.A" which they haven't played live since 1999. This show was turning special very quickly. A gorgeous rendition of "Muzzle" left me in disbelief as the Pumpkins were reaching back far into their catalog seemingly selecting fan favorite songs."Window Paine" featured more fiery fretwork by Corgan along with some rock solid drumming from Mike Byrne.

"Lightning Strikes" had guitarist Jeff Schroeder noodling away all over his fretboard as Corgan carried the galloping rhythm. Sounds of thunder proceeded "Soma" as Corgan would unleash another mind bending guitar solo. "Siva" soared with its bouncing bass courtesy of Nicole Fiorentino and ending with Corgan cracking a smile. 

"Oceania" was expansive, psychedelic and dreamy with its liquid guitars and Corgan hunkered over a keyboard to add delicate washes of noise. The song was punctuated with some dual guitar soloing in the vein of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. "Frail and Bedazzled" was a unabashed guitar romp featuring more fancy guitar work.

Things got even heavier as "Silverfuck" was deafening with its detuned guitars and patented Corgan screams. Corgan would later switch to a hollowbody guitar for the spacey "Obscured". "Thru The Eyes of Ruby" was chock full of phased guitars and ended with a tease of "I Am The One". A stuttering snare drum signaled "Cherub Rock" and everyone in the Wiltern would proceed to roar loudly in approval. 

The crisp guitar jangle of "Owata" was uplifting as the Pumpkins kept things moving at a high level. Byrne moved from his drum kit to the keyboards for some fancy key strikes on "For Martha" to close the main set. Corgan would thank everyone for coming stating that he had the best fans in world. A ripping take on "Pissant" and nearly speed metal version of "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" capped one memorable night with the Smashing Pumpkins. This was a Coachella headliner worthy set without a doubt.

Opening band Light FM impressed as they played selections from their new album Buzz Kill City. Led by Joshiah Mazzaschi, Light FM fused elements of Weezer and the Rentals for some power pop rock on steroids. Fancy Space People were literally out of this world with their David Bowie Space Oddity inspired outfits.

Personal Bias: Too many to list.

Crowd: Hardcore Smashing Pumpkins fans of all ages sporting various concert t-shirts throughout the years.

Random Notebook Dump: Some girls were gossiping how they saw a Glee cast member in the pit.

Setlist:
"Quasar"
"Panopticon"
"Starla"
"Geek U.S.A"
"Muzzle"
"Window Paine"
"Lightning Strikes"
"Soma"
"Siva"
"Oceania"
"Frail and Bedazzled"
"Silverfuck"
"Obscured"
"Suffer"
"Thru The Eyes of Ruby"
"Cherub Rock"
"Owata"
"My Love is Winter"
"For Martha"
"Pissant"
"Bullet With Butterfly Wings"




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15 comments
Brynnzo
Brynnzo

Was there... have been to old shows in the 90's and recent zeitgeist tour...this show was one of the best. THE SMASHING PUMPKINS (and billy) are at their best. If you don't go and see for yourself... stick it up your silverfuck arse

Irvine Homes
Irvine Homes

I just stumbled upon your informative blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. I will be your frequent visitor.

Katt Winter
Katt Winter

The show was one of the best shows I've ever been to. The set list was amazing.

Smalldean
Smalldean

How was the crowd? Was there any excitement/dancing around because that's what expect at a pumpkins show.

rose
rose

I loved it! AMAZING show!! I don't know what the other poster is talking about. Corgan blew the Wiltern to fucking pieces! 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Ugh... Used to be sooooo much better.  I went to a show a couple years ago I think it was south bay invasion at the Home Depot Center... Pumpkins were headlining the night and they came on right after the Foo Fighters who I liked but really wasnt a huge fan of.... Two things happened that night... I walked out halfway through the pumpkins set and I walked out a HUGE Foo Fighters fan.  So much Energy Foo Fighter blew the place apart and Smashing pumpkins didnt stand a chance.  

So sad they used to be one of my favorite bands but without Iha and D'arcy they are just Billy (Acts like Axl) Corgan. and the accompaniment. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

What I'm saying is The Smashing Pumpkins consisting of Billy Corgan, James Iha, D'arcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlin WERE phenomenal... Probably saw them at least 5 times when you were still in elementary school.  When the alleged brain trust (Corgan) destroyed the core of the band because after all Smashing Pumpkins was all about Corgan anyways, The band went to hell... Any small coincidence that every album produced by Butch Vig went Platinum?  And after that they were produced by Billy and barely touched gold?  How about this quote?  "Zeitgeist has received mixed reviews, indicated by a score of 59/100 on Metacritic. Some negative criticism of the album stemmed from the absence of half of the original lineup, with Pitchfork Media's Rob Mitchum suggesting the name was revived for "cash or attention or both."  

A lastly possibly the most telling sign of a band heading for the County Fair tour is the fact that 10+ years ago they were selling out multiple nights in arenas and now they are playing to 2300 people at the Wiltern. Look at the tour schedule... Pitiful I really feel bad for them? 

On the Bright side we should only be months away from a new Tool Album, Hopefully

Sp4life
Sp4life

What an idiot, its all about billy and jimmy not iha and darcy, what you said proves u really don't know what your talking about.

lindastrawberry
lindastrawberry

So, you weren't even AT the show and you are using 'reviewers' opinions of past records to knock down what was an amazing show. That is so lame.

909Jeff
909Jeff

The only true thing you said

"its all about billy"

I'm sure he would agree with you too...

909Jeff
909Jeff

"may have been your teacher in elementary school!"This would put you at about 50+ so I doubt that. 

"Any real fan understands the difficulty keeping all egos & creative ideas in a band in synch throughout the years."

Nice attempt at a dig with the "Real Fan" Comment.  

"any "band" that has been around 20+ years is going to change, evolve"

Key word "Evolve" Def: To develop or achieve gradually. The Only thing they have "achieved" is smaller audiences and lower album sales.  

And yet you feel compelled to come on to a music blog and defend mediocrity....

Southcoastsurfing
Southcoastsurfing

Jeff, sounds like you "used to be a big fan" however still interested enough to post on a band that you no longer like and a show you didn't even go to! They rocked this show no doubt. I saw the original band many times as well (and may have been your teacher in elementary school!) Any real fan understands the difficulty keeping all egos & creative ideas in a band in synch throughout the years. Guess what,... Billy is a control freak, big deal. If you don't like the direction a band is going, don't listen. Don't whine about what used to be. I can list a multitude of bands that changed their direction & sound and I wish I could live the old days (REM, Green Day, even the Chilli Peppers) but none of it "breaks my heart". Move on,... any "band" that has been around 20+ years is going to change, evolve and often lose a fair amount of their original hardcore fans.

This group with Billy did a great job on Wednesday night and sounded strong.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Hey, they call them salad days for a reason.  

lindastrawberry
lindastrawberry

well, as I see it the past is dead. In the here and now the music is amazing, and the band is on fire. You can witness what is happening right now or just complain about the past. Either way.

909Jeff
909Jeff

So, you weren't even AT the showNo, as I have pointed out I saw the REAL smashing pumpkins in their prime... Before yet another egotistical front man proclaimed himself "The Band". Furthermore giving it a chance I saw the latest incarnation of this group a couple years ago and left the show half way through. Why would I waste my money yet again to see this travesty. and you are using 'reviewers' opinions of past records to knock down what was an amazing show. The use of the quote was to strengthen my position that in fact this latest version of the smashing pumpkins are being critically derided. and have lost popularity as a result of producing a substandard product. Not to mention that If Billy Corgan were such a musical genius he would either tour by himself with a backing band or still under the banner of Zuam.  But because neither of those created any legitimacy.  He declared intellectual property on the Smashing pumpkins name in order to sell more albums and put your ass in a seat. Which worked... That is so lame.

Is it? Why? Because what was once a great band, again, one of my all time favorites, has been reduced to this? It breaks my heart... It really does!  

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