The Smashing Pumpkins Las Vegas Show - August 27, 1996
Rolling Stone October 17, 1996
Half-hour into the first performance by The Smashing Pumpkins since their summer tour was derailed, Billy Corgan decided to clear the air. "You know we haven't had the easiest year," he told the arena-size Vegas crowd. "But I don't want to talk about that. We appreciate your support, and we'd like to think your hear cause you love our music." The arena shook with cheers and stamping feet, and a palpable release of tension could be felt as Corgan led the band into the opening riff of "Rocket," from 1993's Siamese Dream.
With Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the Pumpkins fourth and most ambitious album to date, garnering critical plaudits and multi platinum sales, 1996 should have been a bumper year for the Pumpkins. Instead Mellon Collie woeful title has turned out to be a prophetic one: In May a teenage fan was crushed to dearth at a Pumpkins show in Dublin, Ireland. In July, some dates of the band's summer tour were canceled when touring keyboardist Johnathan Melvoin died of a heroin overdose, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, struggling with his own drug habits, was dropped from the band's lineup. Filter drummer Matt Walker and Frogs keyboardits Dennis Flemion were quickly drafted as replacements but skepticism ran high over the jury-rigged band's ability to carry a live show.
But in Las Vegas, the Pumpkins proved themselves up to the challenge, demonstrating a degree of skill and maturity well above the self-conscious tropes and somnambulant jam sessions that characterized their mini tour earlier this year. Although guitarist James Iha and Corgan still noodled Walkers meticulous drumming-backed by a more confident showing from bassist D'Arcy- inaugural show was a template for things to come, the band has managed to transform its recent mishaps into catalysts for musical growth. Fittingly, the group's final encore featured a video ripe with images of fluorescent spermatozoa lay siege to a sea of eggs. It was the summate metaphor for a band embarking on a new beginning.
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