The Smashing Pumpkins, possibly one of America’s greatest modern rock exports, played to an almost-full house at Festival Hall last Friday. Touring with a surprisingly juvenile bunch, the night was undeniably the Billy Corgan show.
Belting out classics such as Today, Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Cherub Rock and Zero, Corgan and his exceptionally youthful band mates received the recognition they deserved.
Flaunting his latest efforts at new age grunge, the now 43-year-old Corgan spent most of the night calling upon the audience to cheer himself and his fellow Pumpkins on, only stopping after Bullet with Butterfly Wings to schmooze the crowd with seemingly tiresome stage banter.
Testing out the crowd with the band’s newest material from Corgan’s epic online project Teargardern by Kaleidyscope, the Pumpkins audibly bored the audience with mind-numbing guitar riffs and twenty minute solos.
Corgan eventually gave in to the pleading crowd, trading his newer miss-hits with his infamous rock ballads. But the evening fell short with Corgan refusing to play the high-charting hit 1979 and the heavily melancholic Disarm, a song that ended what became a relatively adequate night.
Although a die-hard fan, I found myself disappointed with Corgan’s attempt to resurrect the Pumpkins’ name. After hearing praise on the radio and web alike that the new ensemble was capable of outdoing those that provided classics like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie, I was let down that it didn’t pan out as such.
Yet despite Billy’s attempts to woo the middle-aged crowd desperate to re-live their youth with the Pumpkin’s timeless classics, there is no denying that Billy Corgan has cemented himself as a rock legend and a lyrical genius, even if he is far past his use-by date.
(This article originally listed Billy Corgan’s age as 46 – this has now been corrected.)