LIVE REVIEW: Smashing Pumpkins reunite and it feels so nice

Smashing Pumpkins at Infinite Energy Center in Atlanta, GA , 22 July 2018

One of the most anticipated rock reunion tours of the year made its way to Duluth, GA at the Infinite Energy Center on July 22nd, 2018.  The Shiny and Oh So Bright tour is the first time in 20 years that Smashing Pumpkins founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin have toured together. Although it wasn’t a full reunion, with bassist D’arcy Wretzky missing from the lineup, seeing even 3/4 of the original Pumpkins perform seemed like a pipe-dream to most fans even a year ago. It comes as no surprise that the three members (plus Jeff Schroeder on guitar, Jack Bates on bass and Katie Cole on keyboards) put together a musical performance that would surpass even the harshest critics expectations.

It’s a rather bold move for grunge rock legends like the Pumpkins to start a massive 3 hour, 31-song set with a slow and beautiful song like “Disarm,” but the Pumpkins have never been one to mince words when it comes to convention. Several months ago the band polled fans on social media for input on what songs they would like to see performed from their massive discography. Corgan and company did not disappoint as the setlist was filled with some of their biggest hits including “1979,” “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and “Tonight, Tonight”  but also rounded out with deeper cuts and fan favorites like “Drown,” “Mayonaise” and “Blew Away” featuring Iha on vocals. Other musical highlights of the night included stellar covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Corgan’s longtime friend and solo bandmate Linda Strawberry was the mastermind behind the stunning visual content for this tour. As a long time fan of the band, the stage production wasn’t lost on me. From childhood photos of Corgan to clips of music videos and easter eggs that any die hard fan would appreciate, the overall attention to detail was extraordinary.  

Overall the concert was a huge success from a fan perspective. The rumor that ticket sales were not going as expected could not be seen from the large crowd turnout. Smashing Pumpkins really outdid themselves by all accounts as the setlist and stage production was a most gracious gift to fans of all ages.