A Smashing ReturnOctober 19th, 2011
Smashing Pumpkins – Terminal 5 – October 18, 2011
An early set time of 8:45 p.m. seemed odd for the Smashing Pumpkins, that is, until they began what turned into a muscular two-hour show last night at Terminal 5. The band sounded phenomenal, picking up where they left off at this same venue just over a year ago, the polish possibly a product of them finally hitting their stride with the newer touring lineup behind frontman Billy Corgan. You could hear and even feel each drum hit, heavy bassline and wah-wah-pedaled note that came from Corgan’s guitar, all without it being incoherently loud.
The set was missing many of the band’s big hits, but those are all more than a decade old, so the inclusion of only a few makes sense at this point (especially since newer material has been released in the last few years). And the omission of songs like “1979” didn’t seem to bother much the fans in attendance; most heads didn’t break their gaze focused on the shimmering stage before them, which was decked out in all sorts of flashy and reflective surfaces ranging from a giant, glass-covered fan to a circular LED screen behind drummer Mike Byrne that featured kaleidoscopic imagery throughout most of each song.
There was always something to look at or listen to (even while the band switched instruments between songs there were audio interludes and big-top lights that flashed). Not only has the storied alt-rock band returned to form with their live show, the fans last night showed they were no longer just here for the hits. —Sean O’Kane