'Rip it Up'
Smashing Pumpkins, Garageland
Mt Smart Supertop, Auckland New Zealand,
Anyone lucky enough to be in the mosh pit 'section' was treated to an amazing half-time crowd crush ballet. Under harsh floro lights, hundreds of kids were being pulled out of the steaming, squirming mass of greasy hair and wet t-shirts to the sound of Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No.3. Ominous cellos bellowing out of the speakers as bouncers struggled to save the fearful young kids who got more than they bargained for.
Billy walks out, silver pants and Zero shirt, composed and ready to rock. D'arcy, having jumped up the sexy scale since she was last here, grabs our attention, the beauty and the bass. Jimmy's ready to beat those drums into submission, James iha is primed to operate his guitar with geek chic. their new 'cyber metal of the future' look could've done more with the average light show and the psychedelic back projections provided, but that's a small compliant against two-and-a-quarter hours of Pashing Munckin brilliance.
The screeching version of Today gave us an idea of what we were in for. No time for melancholy or sadness. Zero's chant of, 'Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness, and cleanliness is godliness, and god is empty, just like me!', received a huuuuge chant from the audience, like some sort of rock religion. It's the next single and it deserves to be number bloody 1. Disarm was poignant, with Billy on acoustic and 12,000 people singing every word - but then, they could've been singing to every song, the band were so loud you'd never know!
The supertop got a nod with cute TV sample - 'Welcome to Howdy Doody's greatest circus on the earth' after which billy launched into BwBw with 'Doody is a Vampire'. The stadium, quite rightly, went mad. Steam wafted over the packed crowd like mustard gas, as Jellybelly kicked big hairy arse, and they ended their first set with Cherub Rock, which was almost buried amongst the other great tracks. In the old days it would have been the climax, but they've come so far since Siamese Dream and that great Big Day Out performance. We're talking brilliance now.
For the fist encore, James comes out and whines: "Hey, Auckland, yuuur rawkin' meeee." Big laugh. They play 1979 with these big circle lights all over the place, and it was bloody 1979. Yup, we were there, baby - the safe sex, easy drugs, naive materialism and the freaks were one step closer to ruling the earth.
The playfulness of the band and the buzz of excitement from the fans made this an amazingly intimate gig. Sure, the band were huge, they were stars, but they still dicked around and made us laugh. James Iha was the class clown, with his pogo demo and his 'Jimmy motherfuckin Barnes' blues jam. They were having big, geeky, stupid rock fun - and so were we.
For the second encore they launched into the thundering XYU, with rocket take off visuals, 'She didn't wanna be, she didn't wanna know, she couldn't run away cus she was crazy' was huge, jumping and stomping all over the place. The only thing missing was the rockets being fired from the guitars. Then they completely swing the mood to accommodate the soft, pleading, brilliant Mayonnaise.
The third encore saw the menacing Bodies bleed into a 25 minute rock fest - bass rippling through your chest, drum solos, meandering guitar rituals. Most of the crowd stood dazed, but the rest of us felt like we were breathing rock'n'roll. It was music to fly attack helicopters to.
It all ended, appropriately enough, with Farewell and Goodnight. D'arcy singing in her silver top, cuddling a white teddy bear, while the rest of the band took turns singing like rock Osmonds around the campfire.
Billy had the last word, "Goodnight, you crazy motherfuckers", and it was over. The crowd had arrived excited and full of spunk, and had left limp and satisfied, with the sound of Xanadu in their ears. There was magic at Mt Smart tonight, and if you missed it, really missed out.
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