Smashing Pumpkins at Bayou Music Center, 5/15/2013
This is not a Smashing Pumpkins review.
Sure, the title of this post hints otherwise, but I assure you -- the Smashing Pumpkins broke up in Chicago, on December 2, 2000. I was there.
Props to front man Billy Corgan for trying like hell to keep his dream alive, but after a while, we have to come clean and call this band what it really is: Billy Corgan and some hired guns mostly playing songs they mostly didn't write.
Harsh it may sound, but that's coming from an admitted (mostly) former Pumpkins fanatic. I need to utilize all my fingers and most of my toes to count the number of times I've seen The Pumpkins live since 1994 (at the age of 11). I have just about every Pumpkins T-shirt ever designed -- I've worn each one into the ground, and I've even got the awkward school pictures to prove it.
Of the several Pumpkins shows I saw in 1996, one in particular echoed through my mind during Wednesday night's show at Bayou Music Center. During this one, the band plowed through several radio hits early on, and saved the hidden gems and fan favorites for the encores. "See those empty seats," I vividly remember Billy saying, pointing out the newly empty seats of fans who came and instantly left after hearing the singles. "We don't play for those people," he assured us. "We play for you."
It was a starkly different scene Wednesday.
Not only were there zero hidden gems in the hit-dominated set, but there was a general lack of passion onstage. Besides some quick banter with guitarist Jeff Schroeder, the band didn't interact much.
According to Corgan, his current band members (guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino, and drummer Mike Byrne) are "capable musicians." And they are: Technically, the band is so tight they could all waltz into a studio ready to record in an instant. Without passion or the least bit of chemistry, however, this talent all gets lost in the mix.