As an obsessive high school Pumpkins fan through much of the 1990s, Wednesday's show at the Bayou Music Center was a bit of a shocker. No more D'Arcy, no more James Iha and no more of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.
But against all odds, Billy Corgan and his merry band of replacement Pumpkins are keeping that grungy flame a-flickering — complete with new material that harkens back to the group's early years of trippy seven-minute songs, hypnotic bass riffs and indulgent psychedelic guitar solos.
Corgan, who was not wearing a Zero T-shirt, seemed legitimately happy to play into the audience's undying love.
Corgan kicked off the night with "Quasar," the opening track from the band's latest album Oceania. While a cool and compelling song, it's off-kilter rhythm made for an slightly awkward start.
But all was forgotten as the jangling intro chords of "Cherub Rock" brought the crowd back to 1993. Corgan, who was not wearing a Zero T-shirt, seemed legitimately happy to play into the audience's undying love (my term) for the band's first few albums. Just to pander, the tall bald one followed with "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" from the Pumpkins' iconic Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
After a Neil Young-inspired song from Oceania, one of the evening's highlights was a rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" done in that classic loud-soft styling that only the Smashing Pumpkins can do. Bassist Nicole Fiorentino (former of Veruca Salt) covered the "10-9-8" countdown as the performance melted into a re-worked version of the Mellon Collie's "X.Y.U."
Though personal favorites like "Disarm," "Rocket" and "Today" felt a little weak, the quintessential "Tonight, Tonight" was easily the concert's most memorable moment. As in the original music video, the band played amidst imagery from the French silent film A Trip to the Moon.
. . . I seriously almost got a little teary eyed.