The first and only time I saw the Smashing Pumpkins live was at the Hartford Civic Center in 1996 when my sister, who had just gotten her driver’s license, let me tag along. The Pumpkins played a brilliant 2-3 hour set, but we were seated on the 2nd balcony, making it one of those stick figure rock shows arenas are famous for. Needless to say, I would’ve killed for a spot at one of Corgan’s recent extremely intimate club/coffeehouse gigs in southern California.
The good news, however, is that streaming video, live-blogging, and Twitter can now take us all along for the ride ‘cause there are high quality videos and audio everywhere online from this tour. Furthermore, Hipsters United, the preeminent Smashing Pumpkins fan blog, covered Corgan’s tour extensively and though I’ve done my best to pick out a few bits, I highly suggest you pay them a visit for a peek into the wild ride SP fans have been on while Corgan, Dave Navarro, Mike Byrne, Ysanne Spevack, Kevin Dippold, Mark Weitz, Mark Tulin, Linda Strawberry, and Kerry Brown traveled from Visalia to San Diego, and back up to L.A.
Corgan played lots of new material and cover songs on the tour, including a duet, with Sierra Swan, of Willie Nelson and Shirley Collie’s “Willingly” (watch a great vid here), Jethro Tull’s “A New Day Yesterday,” Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam,” Velvet Undergound’s “Femme Fatale,” Bonnie Dobson’s “Morning Dew” (made famous by the Grateful Dead) and, of course, The Seeds’ “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine.”
Between embracing cameras at the shows, hiring a drummer who’s 23 years his junior and playing these über-intimate gigs, Corgan is doing a great job at reconnecting with his most dedicated fans of late. Even this old school SP freak.