Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
October 6th, 2011
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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.
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.
"Frail and Bedazzled"
"Thru The Eyes of Ruby"
"My Love is Winter"
"Bullet With Butterfly Wings"