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Smashing Pumpkins go acoust-ish in Egyptian Room

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KRISTEN PUGH
  • Kristen Pugh


Most of last week's "Acoustic-Electro" Smashing Pumpkins show felt more like an evening of karaoke at Billy Corgan's basement. The set pieces (only a cooly-lit backdrop recalling LOTR's Mines of Moria — seriously, though) were minimal — and it could be argued, vaguely basement-esque, if your basement was a dwarf kingdom — and Corgan's onstage antics were limited to moving between piano and center mic. But the structure was incredibly odd: almost two and a half hours of Smashing Pumpkins song (plus one cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide") performed either by Corgan, solo on guitar, or with lead guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who uttered nary a word. 

KRISTEN PUGH
  • Kristen Pugh
 

New Pumpkins bassist Katie Cole (who also took over opening duties) played on a handful of tracks, adding background vocals as well. And the drummer was a machine. Nope, not Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk — an actual machine. Apparently Wilk and Killers bassist Mark Stoerme are out for this go-round with Corgan (and perhaps forever?), with Stoerme replaced by Cole, and Wilk replaced by, well, drum tracks that Corgan swayed and arm-pumped along to. 

KRISTEN PUGH
  • Kristen Pugh


Odd, yes. But interesting. The night was ideal for a Smashing Pumpkins completist. Corgan announced at the top of the show that he planned to perform for two and a half hours, if the crowd was feeling it. And they were! The seated audience of the Egyptian Room was reverent when called for — a solo piano performance of "Tonight, Tonight" — and rowdy when need be (the last drum machine-centric 30 minutes). 

KRISTEN PUGH
  • Kristen Pugh

Was it a little too much Corgan? Perhaps. But the show covered enough ground, and allowed enough space for odd moments, like when he whipped out a ukelele for Adore track "Blessed and Gone," that even the most casual radio listeners of '90s-centric radio could find a lot to enjoy. 

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