Smashing Pumpkins

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, October 25

> > Oct 26 2012

Smashing Pumpkins - Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, October 25
Photo: Fil Zuzarte
By Cam LindsayBilly Corgan hasn't kept his opinion about artists touring back catalogues to himself. Calling out reunion act and old foes Pavement, he's stated that the Smashing Pumpkins are not an "oldies business" and are still inspired to write new music. And so, on tour for their latest album, Oceania, Corgan made this point very clear, choosing to perform the entire thing every night. It's a good way to test a fanbase that can fill the majority of the arena that houses the Maple Leafs, and his fans for the most part showed patience and allegiance throughout the hour-long set. (That said, a guy next to me shouted "play songs that we know" more than once.)

In return, the Pumpkins (Corgan plus guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino and drummer Mike Byrne) performed Oceania with proficiency and passion. Halfway through, Corgan poked fun at the crowd, noticing the young fans and teasing that they probably wouldn't want to hear the old stuff later on. A giant orb provided spectators with eye candy, shifting visuals of a scientific nature. Really, if you knew the album, there were no surprises, other than just how adept this 2.0 lineup he's put together is. You could even go so far as to argue that they might be the best live band Corgan has ever had.

For the next set, they began with a droning cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," which even with the overwrought guitar screams wasn't as dreadful as one would expect. Still, people were getting restless, and when the band finally settled into their own golden oldies, the mood swung to elation. "X.Y.U." was heavy but did not benefit from extended solos, a mini Hendrix tribute and an off-the-cuff poetic reciting of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." "Disarm" made the girls dance all sexy and everyone sing along for the first time. "Tonight, Tonight" sounded triumphant, as did "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," which sent every person — present company included — into a frenzy.

Some hockey strike banter got the crowd stirred, with Corgan offering up his "apocalyptic music" as an alternative to fill the void. Less stirred was the audience when he promoted his wrestling organization, Resistance Pro. Then came discussion about the band, and how no one believed they could survive "under this guise." Corgan said he had proven the naysayers wrong, using the 15,000 strong as justification.

When they got back to the music, the Pumpkins played the exhausting "A Song for a Son," an inexplicable choice that killed the buzz dead with torturous soloing. "Today" came to the rescue and reeled us back in, followed by "Stand Inside Your Love" and "Muzzle."

The official encore kicked off with a heavy-rockin' "Adore" that was devoid of the electronic programming but full of guitar wanking — an unfortunate constant with Corgan still. Thankfully, straight and boisterous takes on "Cherub Rock," which transported us back to 1993, and final song "Zero," made up for the nonsense.

Corgan demands a lot from his fans on this tour. Not every band can get away with a stunt like playing the entirety of an album likely less than half the crowd knows. And while the band put on an impressive show (minus all those damn solos), it's hard not to think of just how much more adoration and respect Corgan could squeeze from fans if he were a bit less selfish. Because what he has after 23 years is pretty special. Once Corgan fully realizes that, he'll have us all eating out of his palms like we did 17 years ago.

To see Exclaim!'s Smashing Pumpkins photo gallery, courtesy of Fil ZuZarte, head here.

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If you want to hear the 'oldies' then stay home and listen to them in your bedroom with headphones. I would never expect a band (even as seasoned as the Smashing Pumpkins) to play the hits night after night....especially since they just released Oceania. Music has to evolve.
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To bad the reviewer really doesn't know much when it comes to SP.
1 -
2 - NO WAY there were 15000 people. 10000 max
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Agreed. Bands release new music to be heard, not pushed aside. The new album is fantastic!
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Is it just me or are modern-day Pumpkins fans a bunch of whining bitches? Writer said lots of nice stuff about the current band and album, but these guys seem too fucking stupid to recognize it.
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Seeing an artist perform a new album in it's entirety is much easier when said album is closer to the peak of quality for their releases.

El-P played Cancer 4 Cure front to back, with only 3 or 4 older songs, and I couldn't have put together a better set list, considering how good that album is.
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^ yup
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Hey Cam, that Mary Had a Little Lamb bit was not off the cuff by any means. Those are the lyrics to that part of x.y.u Has it been a while since you've listened to Mellon Collie?
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I really enoyed the concert, There new album is very good so I enjoyed listening to the entire thing live, plus they played all their classics.

Only problem I had with this concert was the crowd was incredibly lame, The Smashing Pumpkins were putting on a great show, but the crowd reacted the way one would expect at a PGA tour or a Wimbelton tennis match.
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Sonic Youth also would play their entire latest album on tours... and they do it well. if you are a fan you shouldn't expect a band to play only the hits, but they still do play a lot of their back catalogue during the later part of their shows and encores... people who see shows have to learn concert going...
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I liked all that wanking!
I think the reviewer is stuck in the early nineties without guitar solos. Dude Billy can still wail! And the sound was spot on. His voice too.
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Smashing Pumpkins along with any band I love could stand on stage and play whatever the fuck they wanted and I would enjoy it. No use getting stuck in Nostalgia - as awesome as it is to hear those old songs - people need to get over it.

Its borderline retarded behaviour, if you ask me.

People seem so eager to disregard this band now. Its just a trend. Its a hell of a lot less difficult to bash something than it is to embrace it or even defend it.

Amazing show either way. I was on the floor fists in the air the entire time.
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this review is terrible, the whole concert was amazing, every single song all the banter, billys awesome.
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Mary had a Little Lamb is part of the song, "xyu." Clearly the reviewer has not listened to Mellon Collie in awhile. As far as the solos go, not a whole lot of guitarists have those chops. They should be appreciated.
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Seriously, how dare a band play new songs.

I guess they could have made up for all the "nonsense" (aka new songs & guitar wankery) by transporting you back to 17 years ago, when they closed each night with a 25-40 minute version of Silverf**k...which was the 5 minute song plus 20+ minutes of guitar wankery. Guess the reviewer hasn't been to too many SP shows in the past, because "all those damn solos" have ALWAYS been part of the Pumpkins live experience.

p.s Song For a Son was one of the highlights of the show for me! Was not expecting them to play that at all.
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