Last Night: Smashing Pumpkins at the Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City, Dec. 3, 2008.
Better Than: Watching your friends play as Billy Corgan in Guitar Hero World Tour.
Download: The video for G.L.O.W. on MySpace Music.
Vocalist/guitarist Billy Corgan would exclaim “don't give up on us yet!” as The Smashing Pumpkins capped their successful two-night stand at the Gibson Amphitheatre, with a career-spanning two and a half hour set that delved into the past while gazing (everlastingly?) into the future.
The icy cold electronic drumbeat of “Ava Adore” cued the appearance of the Smashing Pumpkins as Corgan walked to the front of the stage with an illuminated candy pumpkin pail. Jimmy Chamberlin (other than Corgan, the only remaining original member) wasn't behind his kit for too long as he would later utilize a marching drum for a stately version of “Cupid De Locke”.
“1979” appealed to a strong majority of the audience with its repetitive riff that mesmerizes your ears. The mood would remain lighthearted as they kept things acoustic with “99 Floors” and “Sunkissed.”
Interestingly, it took a whole seven songs for Billy to finally grab his custom Fender Strat for the shimmering chords of “Soma” from the album Siamese Dream. The hard driving groove of “Cherub Rock” integrated beautifully into the altered psychosis of “Zero.” Crowd participation was in effect during “Bodies” as the crowd chanted along with the refrain, “love is suicide.”
Guitarist Jeff Schroeder did a superb job the whole evening as he frantically kept pace with Billy during “I Of The Mourning”. I can guarantee that you will be able to find a Youtube video of “Landslide”, as the Gibson Amphitheatre was illuminated with a sea of digital cameras and phones. One of the many spine tingling moments was during “Disarm” as the added accompaniment of horns, keyboards and violin was probably the best version of the song that I have heard dating back to when I first saw them in 1994. And I nearly lost my mind when guitar virtuoso George Lynch of Dokken fame came out during their epic space jam “Gossamer” for one gigantic three guitar freak out special.
Closing the show, Billy thanked the crowd for their support and promised another twenty years of Smashing Pumpkins music. The encore touched on new and old when they tackled “That's The Way” from their recent album Zeitgeist and “I Am The One Pt 2” from the past. George Lynch made another guest appearance at the end to blow the roof off the Gibson Amphitheatre. I think everyone who witnessed these Los Angeles shows won't be giving up on the Smashing Pumpkins anytime soon.
Personal Bias: Billy Corgan's 2005 solo album TheFutureEmbrace still sounds ahead of its time.
Random Detail: I need to get a pair of Billy Corgan's silver sparkled Nike Air Force One shoes.
By The Way: Grab a copy of their new DVD “If All Goes Wrong” which documents their bicoastal residency from 2007 or download any of the songs from both nights at livesmashingpumpkins.com in case you missed these shows.