On the fourth night of Asheville’s biggest concert series in recent history, Billy Corgan and crew eased in the brutally hot evening at The Orange Peel. Appearing alone on stage with only a 12-string guitar; Corgan, gaunt, awkward and out of proportion, summed up the feeling of a lot of listeners in the audience with nine simple words aimed at the lackadaisical mix of scenesters and beautiful people.
“I’m doing the best I can, so f**k you,” was the simple refrain of the opener of Wednesday night’s show.
It’s normal to have some excitement when coming to a show. It’s normal to feel the need to let everyone know that you are in possession of one of the hottest tickets in town—but what’s not normal is people spending the entire evening taking pictures of themselves drinking beer with other beautifully quaffed friends rather than to actually listen to the band many people have jumped through hoops to see.
After 3 acoustic songs, including a lovely, country-inspired, full band number, the Pumpkins raced into material mostly from their new album Zeitgeist, as well as a few classics.
There were moments of true revelation; “United States,” Saturday evening’s set opener, was placed in the middle of the show, and still managed to keep the interest of one of the worst audiences this reviewer has ever been a part of.
This was an “oldies” crowd, and The Pumpkins are doing their best to avoid being an oldies act.
Maybe it was the scorching heat inside of the club, maybe it was the long lines to the bars. But something was preventing the stuffy audience from having fun inside of the equally stuffy club. But the Pumpkins were on fire.
The band’s set consisted mostly of its harder-edged material; but it also displayed Corgan’s fascination with The Cure on songs such as “Bleeding the Orchid.”