Review: Smashing Pumpkins Debut New Lineup Featuring Killers & Rage Against The Machine Members In Chicago

The Smashing Pumpkins debuted their new lineup last night featuring frontman Billy Corgan, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Mark Stoermer (The Killers), and drummer Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine) at Thalia Hall in Chicago. Read our review written by Bryan Arbut, then check out the setlist, videos, and photos below.

Thalia Hall had, in all likelihood, its most rousing performance in its storied history as The Smashing Pumpkins (Corgan-Schroeder-Wilk-Stoermer) 2014 vintage live show made its debut.

After an extended sound check resulted in a near 75 minute delay to the posted start time, the wait proved worth it, as the band came off polished, even after just a few rehearsals.

One and All began the set, sounding as well put together as its album version. Starting with the opener and never letting up, Jeff Schroeder’s guitar fills were precise and rang clear over Corgan’s power chords.

Speaking of chords, Corgan, rock’s nasaly curmudgeon’s vox appeared to have been transported in time to the early 90’s. He’s never sounded better, and rarely opted out of the high notes with octave adjustments.

The set continued with Being Beige, where it became clear that this lineup would feature no backing vocals. This was not a detractor from the set, rather it felt like an extension of Corgan’s ownership of the songs and the Pumpkins brand, all his own.

Rather than plowing through Monuments, the band took the Chicago crowd back with Hummer, performed note for note in line with the album. This was the first time that Wilk and Stoermer really shined, and it was impressive to see them both perform new and classic material as well as their predecessors. Wilk smiled often, and it was clear he felt at home behind the kit.

The set then shifted back to Monuments, and Tiberius proved to be the dominant force out of all the MTAE songs debuted live tonight.

The set then stepped back into a pretty conventional, slightly unremarkable, yet vocally powerful rendition of Tonight, Tonite, before flipping back to MTAE for Drum & Fife, which was the only song debut that noticeably could’ve benefitted from backing vox.

From here, the flip flop back to past albums continued in order, as Machina was called upon in perhaps the most surprising song choice of the night, Glass & The Ghost Children. This was a joy for the die-hards, but left the majority of the crowd wondering what was happening as the psychedelic jam took on an alternate direction entirely in the show.

The crowd was reeled back in with another precise rendition of Stand Inside Your Love.

Back to (Presumably) MTAE, with another yet unknown rocker that was instantly gripping, and felt like a classic despite it never being heard previously outside of the band. More to come on this song, as it will be a contender for one of the heaviest and most revered from MTAE.

This song was followed up by Drown, which was one of the top crowd pleasers, and again featured spot on vocals, accompanied by solos and fills that sounded perfect. Wilk’s drumming on Drown was remarkable.

It was at this point in the set that it became time to “play the hits” as Disarm, Zero, and BWBW were blasted through. After these three, the set reached a point where jt became hard to believe the band had barely taken a breath between songs, and I began to wonder when they’d give the set it’s defining moment and go off script.

That they did, ripping through a memorably heavy and scream filled take on Bowie’s Fame. Truly, this cover stole the show up to this point in the set, only to be followed up with something that, rock gods willing, someone captured in HD audio/video.

What followed Fame seemed to begin as a Silverfuck tease, with the beginning drum fill and riff, but meandered all over the map, becoming a true alternate standalone version of the song, and it was amazing.

Finishing the set with a single encore was Burnt Orange Black, which did indeed close the show well.

If Corgan is content with modeling the Pumpkins’ live show after a NIN like approach to supporting musicians, with BC and The Shredder at its core, this lineup is a great place to start. A classic show.

Setlist:

One and All (We Are)
Being Beige
Hummer
Tiberius
Tonight, Tonight
Drum + Fife
Glass and the Ghost Children
Stand Inside Your Love
Monuments
Drown
Disarm
Zero
Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Fame (David Bowie cover)
Silverfuck

Encore:

Burnt Orange-Black

Videos & Photos:

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THE SMASHING PUMPKINS ANNOUNCE SPECIAL
ONE OF A KIND LAUNCH DATES IN SUPPORT OF NEW ALBUM

BRAD WILK (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE) AND MARK STOERMER (THE KILLERS) WILL JOIN THE SMASHING PUMPKINS LINEUP FOR THE INTIMATE SHOWS

MONUMENTS TO AN ELEGY AVAILABLE DECEMBER 9

November 18, 2014; New York, NY – In support of their eighth studio album Monuments to an Elegy, available December 9, The Smashing Pumpkins will play a series of special shows in select cities around the globe. The tour will begin in Berlin at Kesselhaus on November 30th, and make stops at Koko’s in London on December 5th, Le Trabendo in Paris on December 6th and New York’s Webster Hall on December 8th (see below for list of current tour dates). Tickets for the New York date go on sale tomorrow November 19th at 12pm EST via Ticketweb. The band wishes to inform fans to look for additional dates to be added very soon in Chicago, San Francisco, and other select markets.

The special lineup for these performances will include Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine) on drums and Mark Stoermer (The Killers) on bass joining The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder. “We’re absolutely thrilled and humbled to have Brad and Mark helping us out with these shows,” said Corgan “and if our rehearsals are any indication they should be one-of-a-kind.” The Smashing Pumpkins have also been confirmed to play a special outdoor stage performance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday December 10th as well as a performance at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas concert on Sunday December 14th.

The Smashing Pumpkins were recently announced as headliners for South American Lollapalooza Festival dates which include March 14/15 in Santiago, Chile, March 21/22 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and March 28/29 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Anticipation and praise already surround the December 9th release of Monuments to an Elegy, with Huffington Post calling it “the band’s super-album.” Yesterday, Vice.com premiered the new track, “Tiberius” which they called “intimate” and “expansive” while Noisey.com declared the track “sounds like a return to form—a nod to the beloved Pumpkins sound of old with a modern twist.” Monuments To An Elegy features Tommy Lee on drums and was recorded in Chicago. The album is produced by Howard Willing, along with Corgan and Schroeder. Monuments to an Elegy is “an album within an album,” part of their ongoing work-in-progress Teargarden By Kaleidyscope (with Day For Night as the project’s last work).

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  • ÐØ-BØ

    Put this writer on the payroll. He could be full-time Billy correspondent.

    • Philippe Gaudet

      What if the show was indeed that good?

    • Alternative Nation

      He’s been signed to a record breaking Alternative Nation contract worth a lifetime supply of Madame ZuZu’s tea.

      • ÐØ-BØ

        That’s more than fair.

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  • Philippe Gaudet

    Great review. Damn it makes me wish I was there.

  • God

    Brad Will seems bored

    • Philippe Gaudet

      No he really doesn’t actually.

      • God

        Actually he does. I was able to read his lips and he said…” Oh my god Billy is such a douche, what the fock am I doing playing these stupid songs.”

        On a side note, I was being vinyl on friday and some dude next to me was like….”Sweet!!!!! Used Smashing Pumpkins Vinyl!!!!” I could help but laughing hysterically and I even shed 2 tears.

  • Patrick Jones

    is this the first male bassist for SP?

    • Douglas Young

      Yeah but he has long hair so if you squint, it still looks kinda-normal.

  • Douglas Young

    Interesting that nothing from the last album was played at all… Also, at least on these few select videos the drums seem overly uninteresting. Really lacking Jimmy’s theatrics and power.

  • Cameron Fraser

    I enjoyed that in the review you said Billy didn’t avoid high notes, and then post a video showing him clearly avoiding high notes during the Stand Inside Your Love chorus.

  • Dave Brookes

    DESPITE BILLYS RAGE, HE IS STILL JUST A RAT IN A CAGE

  • Dave Brookes

    Bullets With Butterfly Wings lyrics: despite all my RAGE , i am still just a rat in a cage. THIS WAS 1995
    I think the Smashing Pumpkins were influenced by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

  • Dave Brookes

    So its no wonder Brad Wilks are asked to join. If your going to change the lineup completely I have a better idea for Billy Corgan
    Check this out:
    Billy Corgan ( Lead Vocals, Guitar )
    Slash ( Lead Guitar )
    Josh Hommes ( Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals )
    Duff McCagan ( Bass )
    Jimmy Chamberlain ( Drums )

    The new and improved Smashing Pumpkins :) hows that?
    A little bit of alternative rock, metal, punk and new stuff for 2015
    not just as a touring band but full time Smashing Pumpkins recording a new album also

  • http://no-maam.blogspot.com/ Al Bundy

    Hate to say it, but Brad is not on Jimmy’s level at all…