“For the first time in 10 years the (sort of) Smashing Pumpkins played in Cleveland on Saturday. The alternative band’s newest lineup included front man Billy Corgan, mainstay drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, backup guitarist Joe Schroeder and new bassist Ginger Reyes.””
For the first time in 10 years the (sort of) Smashing Pumpkins played in Cleveland on Saturday.
The alternative band’s newest lineup included front man Billy Corgan, mainstay drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, backup guitarist Joe Schroeder and new bassist Ginger Reyes. Another new acquisition, Lisa Harriton brought everything together on keyboard.
Forgoing any opening bands, the Pumpkins emerged to the sold-out Playhouse Square Theater stage to a chorus of cheers.
Unfortunately, that was the high point. No band has brought more mediocrity to the genre than the Smashing Pumpkins and they sought to prove that on Saturday night.
To their credit, the sub-par show was not all their fault. The sound set-up was utterly atrocious. The sound of a thousand dog whistles filled the air, making the guitar riffs almost indistinguishable at many points.
However, the key problem of the show was not bad sound but bad music.
Tarantula and Cherub Rock were good. Everything else was an ungodly mix of boring choruses that seemed to go on forever. Picture Coldplay with a lobotomy, mixed with mildly entertaining guitar solos that seemed to blend together at the end of the night.
Corgan, who wore a gothic dress, a shirt with a Tarantula on the front, and Nike high-tops, did his best to make the show entertaining. He interacted with the crowd and really seemed into the music.
His singing was better than advertised. After years of accusations that the Pumpkins sound terrible live, he seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. He hit almost every note and gave an outstanding individual effort on guitar.
His backup guitarist, on the other hand, apparently didn’t realize that there was an audience, because he rarely looked up from his basic chords.
One was Ginger Reyes, a bass player who replaced the longtime Pumpkins member and crack cocaine enthusiast D’arcy Wretzky. She looked good in fishnets and nailed every bass line.
The best part of the show was the drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin. One of the most underrated drummers and producers in rock music did his thing the entire night, and even employed a gong to an ecstatic reaction from the crowd.
If the drummer steals the show from the rest of the band, something is amiss. That ‘something’ happened to be the majority of the band’s song writing from the last decade.
The concert was not terrible; it just was not worth $50. Diminished expectations can define a concert and a career, and Billy Corgan has demonstrated that like no one else.
As the concert progressed into the newer, psychedelic material, I couldn’t stop thinking of the chorus of their only legitimately great song, Cherub Rock
Let me out / Oh, let me out.