Smashing Pumpkins If All Goes Wrong

Smashing Pumpkins If All Goes Wrong
At long last, the Smashing Pumpkins have released a full concert DVD, and that’s just supplemental material to the main disc documentary, which turns out to be a very candid look at a band in a unique position. It seems the Pumpkins are about the only major act of the ’90s to have a rebirth instead of a revival. Through the course of documenting the band’s string of small venue residencies leading up to the release of Zeitgeist, Billy and Jimmy make it abundantly clear that their reason for resurrecting the Pumpkins is artistic. Assembling a new crew of musicians for the remainder of the line-up was about finding the best possibly players to handle the material and flesh out Corgan and Chamberlin’s vision of the band’s future. There probably isn’t another bandleader who’d purposely eschew the hits the loogans crave in favour of showcasing radically reworked obscurities, songs in progress and a 37-minute, partially improvised prog epic. But for anyone who’s been paying attention, that’s always been the Pumpkins’ mandate. This refusal to adhere to star structure conventions and the adamant need to continually evolve or abandon material is a stance that makes Bob Dylan a legend but leaves Corgan open to massive amounts of criticism because he just isn’t cool. It’s not meant as a slight, and for Corgan’s music and fans, it’s a celebration, however torturously conflicted that may leave him. He’s too honest for the media, willing to present his heart flopping on his sleeve like a suffocating fish, belaying a transparency of character that will endear or alienate most listeners. "The Ghost Children” are those fans who "get” Corgan’s vision, some of them connecting with the music to a frightening degree. Their voices are expanded on in a bonus feature. An "Interview with Pete Townsend” is an extension of his thoughts on the connection between musicians and audience. "The Fillmore Residency” disc, in addition to a main set jammed with Pumpkin rarities and new material, also includes bonus rehearsal footage of new material being considered for that night’s set. It’s a bold package and portrait of a band not willing to rest on their laurels, and contains almost nothing to lure the average listener but everything a true Pumpkin fan could want. (Koch)