Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Mighty Smashing Pumpkins Release Zeitgeist

I was one of the relatively "few" lucky people who struck gold on Friday, July 6th at around 10:07am. Having heard the huge announcement on the radio just a couple days earlier that the Smashing Pumpkins would be performing a secret show at the 9:30 club the day their new album, Zeitgeist, goes on sale, I was truly ecstatic! Although James Iha (and D'arcy Wretzky) would not be part of the band and thereby not making it a true Smashing Pumpkins reunion, but a Zwan-ish collaboration, I was still excited to see Billy and Jimmy perform live again (we did see them, Zwan, open for Coldplay in December 2003 at the Orpheum in Boston).

The tickets were being sold only on, which had this awful queuing system that essentially put you in line, refreshing every 30 seconds on its own accord, until you get through. I was in panic mode, as probably the rest of the SP fan base in the DC area was, as the result would be truly random and uncertain. The minutes ticked away, and I was truly helpless, and then suddenly, the page refreshed to a new look, a look that allowed me to buy tickets! It was such a relief! Just a few minutes later, the show was sold out, with many angry fans defeated and unsatisfied.

Tuesday, July 10th 2007: 9:30 club

With all the hubub this show has caused, we probably should have gotten there earlier, as we normally would have, but getting out the door just took too long for me. Brian even got home earlier than usual so we could leave early. Oh well. No surprise, when we got there, the line was gigantic and went around the block.

Those in front were lucky enough to pose as supporters and protestors for the return of SP. They also got a bunch of free things - t-shirts, buttons, stickers, mini-flags, serenaded by a barbershop dressed quartet among other things.

The band pulls up in a classic Le Baron, "secret service" and all in tail.

hi Jimmy!

Once we get inside, I make my way to the merch table and buy a t-shirt. Then wanting to be in the mix of things, unlike at Rooney's concert, I found a semi-decent area on the floor just near the speakers on the left. Thank goodness we brought our earplugs, otherwise we would be deaf or wouldn't be standing so close to the stage. Anyone standing near us that didn't have earplugs would pretty much be subjected to ringing ears for several days.

The Revolution opens for them. Interesting sound and frontwoman, but I just wanted SP to start the show already.

The waiting was unbearable as the time goes by, thinking the band would be out by 9:30pm. It's around 9:50 when the quartet comes out and sings before introducing SP.

An annoying drunk man actually took this picture of me:

Annoying because he kept yelling to what sounded like disgust, and essentially disrupting some of the earlier songs. He finally ended up keeping his big mouth shut. Maybe he just went back to the bar since I didn't hear him much later in the show.

Can't believe it's been seven years since their last album, the year when Brian, Henry and I along with Jeff and Scott from APL (that's Ammirati Puris Lintas) saw them at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC on April 25th, 2000. Being on the floor and in the crowd reminded me of that fun time way back when.

Some of the Billy's banter included disbelief on performing with Bon Jovi at Live Earth, saying "yeah" a few times to fill in dead air, announcing that "I'm having one of those I-don't-wanna-play-music moments", and holding a rant session where a couple people yelled "Where's James Iha?!" or just "James Iha!" and "Freebird!"

I did manage to make my way to the front row, when a tall man and his daughter left (I totally knew it would happen eventually since they did not have earplugs). Near the end of the show, the security in front handed out bottled water those in the front row to share with others since it was so freaking hot in there. I was handed one first and took a nice sip before handing it to a teenager next to me who stood pretty still until they performed "Cherub Rock". The bottle came back to me not too long afterwards, since the other folks didn't want to take a sip from a communal container, and I handed it to Brian who was an arms-length and at the 8 o'clock position behind me.

I thought it was an overall solid show, even though I really prefer the "classics" over the new material. I enjoyed the acoustic set they stuck in the middle, especially "Thirty-Three". I'll have to add that to my list of songs to learn.

Unfortunately, the show was not without faults, as their classic hits "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and "Zero" didn't shine quite as brightly as they should have, and we REALLY could have done without the second encore "Gossamer" which was an excruciating 27-minute-long song! It definitely killed the audience's spirit, especially since the show ended up being 3 hours long!! which is insanely too long. Maybe I wouldn't have minded so much if it consisted of just classic songs. But it was just too painfully drawn out at the end.

Some recorded material:

Billy thanking the audience at the end. We missed the last metro train by an hour - not like in Boston where the T ends at 1am, which we would have barely made. But we did get a glimpse into some of the neighborhoods while sitting in a cab on our way back home.

Setlist, as taken from the SP website:

It wasn't a flawless show, but it was still worth being a couple of the lucky ones to get to go see them.

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