I have had some time now to digest seeing The Smashing Pumpkins for the second time in my life. The first time was when I was at the cool and funky age of 21 in 1996 at the Perth Entertainment Centre and now at the not as cool and funky age of 35, I see a very different version of the original band at the Perth Convention Centre.
There are many factors that have contributed to me writing this review.
I am unsure why the Perth Convention Centre (from now on PCC) was picked as the promoters venue of choice. The PCC is pretty much a glorified university lecture hall with a stage. In other words, there were seats from the front of the stage to the back of the room. The people at the front had a fabulous view up Billy Corgan's nose, and the people at the back had a fabulous view of the crowd and stage. It did feel very intimate which was nice, however, the lack of a dance floor (of any kind) made it very hard for people to be able to let lose when their favourite songs came on. The many security staff certainly made sure you sat back down in your seat if you even considered moving even 1mm from where your seat was. Three separate incidents made me laugh: A bunch of kids (ok probably 10 years younger than me) getting dragged back to their seats when trying to dance on the stairs; A lusty woman dancing at the front of the stage and having a security man yell in her ear over and over to move, and her ignoring him for the entirety of the song; and my favourite, a man who was larger than security stand up from his front row seat, standing up to dance, only to have security stand right in front of him. sigh! Having the no dance floor meant that all of us oldies were able to sit and enjoy the show comfortably as it did go for over 2 hours and 15 minutes. I am calling the concert a show from now on as that is is when you are in seats instead of on a dance floor. I am also unsure how long the support band played for as I did not see them… I forget the support band's name now.
The Concert Goers:
I am confident that the majority of the fan base were over thirty years of age. You could see the excited for being out and about face as they called up the babysitters for the third time in 2 hours checking that their kids were in bed. I can imagine how they were feeling when at 10:30pm there was no sign of the Smashing Pumpkins getting off the stage any time soon. How they had told their babysitters that they would be home at 11pm. What to do? What to do? Jokes aside. I found it very pleasurable being at a show with people in my age group. People who have followed the Pumpkins from day one, ok, when Australia first heard of them in the early 1990s, the "old" Smashing Pumpkins. I also enjoyed sitting next to a bunch of people who have followed the "new" Smashing Pumpkins over the last few years. When an old song came on, I was carrying on and they were watching intently, when a new song came on, they were carrying on and I was watching intently… and when a song came on that we both had no idea about, we all sat with a confused look on our faces, still happy.
The Smashing Pumpkins themselves:
Whatever happened to the original members of the group? Why did they split up? Without going to google or wikipedia, I am presuming that perhaps every member of the band liked each other when they formed the band, then they got big and had to spend pretty much 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 52 weeks a years together, which led to them starting to dislike each other to the point of the original band splitting up. That is my opinion anyhow. I can see why this would happen. Although it makes me sad that the original group isn't together still. So… the new group hey? What did I think? The Smashing Pumpkins still has a female bass player. I am unsure what I completely think of her. She looked bored the entire time. Not "I am so cool but bored", but, more like a "I am so bored because I am bored". I hate that when seeing a band. That bored look! She did look good though in her vertical striped dress, grey laced up heels and long dark flowing hair. The boys in the crowd had something to look at. The replacement co-guitarist looked like he would have been about 5 years old (maybe) when the Smashing Pumpkins was first formed. I am unsure what he was thinking or what his face was like as he always had his head down. He looked like he was having fun though. The drummer was good. I have a thing for drummers. I like their need for precise coordination. And he could drum a mean tune! And now, Billy Corgan. He really does look the same to me as he did when I first saw the group 14 years ago. Yes, he is older, and a little chunkier, but he still dresses and acts the same way on stage as he did back then. Baggy long sleeved tshirt with baggy pants and comfy sneakers and still a very white bald head. We were wondering how he keeps his dome so pristinely white! Would he visit Rottnest Island while the sun was shining and have to wear a long sleeve shirt, one of those hats with the flaps on the sides and back and white gloves on his hands so he gets no sun on his skin at all.
I cannot remember the set list. I am not even going to look it up. As Billy, (I can call him Billy without the Corgan now after the intimate show), mentioned half way through the show that this is now a "new era"… whaaaat? A new era for The Smashing Pumpkins? Yes, it brought a little tear to my eye. And then I thought about it. In the first half (time wise: up until the "new era" was said); three or four old favourite songs were played including my absolutely can't get enough of song "Today" interweaved between at least eight or nine newer songs; stuff that I had never heard of (but the youngins' next to me had). I am positive that I was not the only over 30s to sit their being disappointed at what I was hearing and seeing. And then the second half began (time wise: after the "new era" was said); and it was like my eyes and ears and mind and soul were reopened to the Smashing Pumpkins. I sat and listened to every song, and sometimes totally psychadelically zoned out to hearing myself go "Woooohhh" and coming back up again. I think I may have seen a new light. Yes, I still prefer the "old" Smashing Pumpkins, but I am certainly not thinking negative thoughts of the "new" Smashing Pumpkins either.
I appreciated the show, at the time, sitting there for over 2 hours on a school night and looking at the clock at 10:30pm was really hurting me. I didn't want to leave, but I wanted to… it was a school night! I am so glad I didn't. The encore was fabulous. Thank you for sending me off into a dream state. I also really enjoyed how all member of the band chucked out their picks and drumsticks to members of the crowd during and at the end of the show. I also enjoyed watching Billy sign autographs for people. I like that. It's like old skool actions there. I am really glad I have seen the Smashing Pumpkins twice now. Once when I was funky and cool and the next when I am not as funky and cool. I’m also pleased that Billy did not end up down that narrow laneway of drug overdosing like I thought he would have done all those years ago, like so many big time ‘alternative’ band members did. It seems that we (Billy and I) have both grown up to be very respectable people with still a slight hint of naughtiness to our nature.
Yes, I enjoyed the show after all.
TD nee V
15 October 2010