Entertainment Weekly Cybercast article 5/96

(Sent to us by E C Stahlberger)

Smashing Pumpkin's Online Concert
A Patch of Blue

Outside it's a sunny afternoon in Brooklyn. Inside, I am sitting at my computer, getting ready to "attend" a gig by The Smashing Pumpkins. They'll be playing the Point Theater in Dublin, and I'll be on the World Wide Web using Real Audio software that permits me to hear the music as it downloads. The event will also offer pre-concert text and audio interview with the band. In the short history of web concerts this is the biggest to date. (I don't know it yet but it will also be the genre's early Altamont.)

May 11, 2:10 pm
I sign onto AOL, check out the site and try to get through to the IRC chat room. my computer crashes.

2:30 pm
I get into the AOL chat room but not cannot access the web site or IRC due to heavy traffic. No matter, since the Pumpkins never show up on AOL, causing near riot traffic among the 200 or so cyber fans.

3:20 pm
I get through to the IRC site. An angry crowd did see about five minutes of the pumpkins interview because the host computer crashed. Text of the abbreviated chat is on the site, as are Real Audio files that do not load correctly.

4:20 pm
The band hits the stage but we can't hear it because the Real Audio isn't working.

The problems fixed, I can finally listen online. Unfortunately even with a high speed modem and good speakers the music sounds as if it is coming from am AM radio. After two songs there is a long break while singer Billy Corgan begs moshers to "make sure that anyone who is injured can get up and out. " The band segues into the mellow To Forgive.

My computer crashes.

I finally reconnect and hear Corgan tell the audience that if they don't chill out the band will stop playing. I wonder if anybody is badly hurt.

While the Real Audio is still on, the sound just stops as if someone has pulled the plug. I curse, turn off my computer and go play in the sunny back yard with my infant\ daughter.

Two Days later
I read that 17 year-old Bernadette O'Brien died of injuries sustained in the front row crush, and the Pumpkins left the stage as the situation got worse and canceled their remaining concerts in Ireland. For all the hype the Internet was not able to put me there for once i am grateful.

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