First Pumpkins show was no nostalgia act

The most eagerly anticipated show in recent memory took place in Asheville Saturday night when The Smashing Pumpkins took the stage for a marathon 29-song set at The Orange Peel.

Amid a wash of sound effect and noise, the Pumpkins took the stage to raucous applause. The set began with a new song, “United States,” and mostly featured lesser-known tracks from the group’s previous albums, as well as songs from the band’s upcoming Zeitgeist.

“For a year now,” Corgan wrote in an ad he placed in The Chicago Tribune upon the release of his first solo album TheFutureEmbrace, “I have walked around with a secret, a secret I chose to keep. But now I want you to be among the first to know that I have made plans to renew and revive the Smashing Pumpkins. I want my band back, and my songs, and my dreams.”

Saturday night,Corgan’s band was back, and judging from the smile he flashed to drummer Jimmy Chamberlin as the screams of the crowd filled in the gaps in the stop-start breakdown of “United States,” Corgan couldn’t be happier.

The audience responded with energy, especially when the band played their hits “Today” (which was as rocking as the album version is whiney), “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, “1979”, and “Zero.”

For a lot of fans, Corgan was the king of rock in the mid-1990s, picking up the torch from the ashes of Nirvana and carrying it with zeal. Many people felt that this incarnation of the Pumpkins was going to be strictly a nostalgia act, the last throes of an artist out of ideas and merely resting on his laurels.

But Saturday night Corgan and his band proved that they were no nostalgia act, and that the emperor was wearing clothes.

Jason Bugg

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