The Smashing Pumpkins are in the midst of their Shiny And Oh So Bright Tour. To rehash, this tour comes close to reuniting the band’s original lineup by bringing guitarist James Iha back into the fold with Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin, and it features only music from before that lineup’s breakup in 2000 — i.e. they’re playing the hits. The tour stops in the band’s hometown of Chicago tonight and tomorrow for a pair of shows at the United Center, and the band showed up a day early to throw out the first pitch and sing the 7th inning stretch at the Cubs-Nationals game Sunday.
Photo and video evidence is forthcoming, but first: I caught the Pumpkins’ show Saturday in Columbus, and like my colleague Michael Tedder, I found my cranky disposition toward InfoWars endorser Corgan melting away — or at least temporarily suspended — when presented with three-plus hours of peak Pumpkins. I’m not hardcore enough to actually want three-plus hours of music; I could have done without the “Landslide” and “Stairway To Heaven” covers, for instance, but would never dismiss the ridiculous all-out theatricality they brought to “Space Oddity.” At least after three hours my anticipation for screaming along to “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” was fully piqued.
Even if I showed up looking forward to the MTV anthems, I left most impressed by the rich, full sound they brought to the deep cuts. The core sound of Gish and Siamese Dream involves dense layers of roaring guitar beauty, an MBV-meets-classic-rock sound that wasn’t reflected in most of their biggest hits beyond “Cherub Rock” and “Today.” I’m thinking of tracks like “Rocket,” “Hummer,” and “Mayonaise,” all of which sounded at least as good as the studio versions, as did early jams “Siva” and “Rhinoceros.” The Mellon Collie epic “Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans” unfolded with an overwhelming splendor as well. Throw in every ’90s hit you could possibly ask for, and people definitely got their money’s worth.
Anyway, back to the baseball: Corgan, Iha, Chamberlin, and replacement bassist Jack Bates took the mound at Wrigley Field to throw out the first pitch — looks like Chamberlin did the honors — and then Corgan brought his distinctive bleat to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” midway through the 7th. Have a look below.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 12, 2018
In other Chicago Pumpkins news, Billy Corgan has returned to the cover of PAWS Chicago magazine:
Four years ago, he broke the internet by appearing on the cover with his cats Sammi and Mr. Thom.