Hit Parader - September 1996
Caught in The Act
By James Harding

Contributed by Irene Tien

"If you've got the dough, you can go," the ticket scalper blurted out in his best Johnny Cochran rhyme-in-time voice. "Good tickets? I got 'em. Great tickets. Got 'em? But they're gonna cost ya."

Cost, indeed. It was still almost two hours before the Smashing PUmpkins were due to take the stage, yet a crowd of over two thousand slightly over zealous fans had already gathered, some looking for drugs, some looking for love and some looking for tickets; believe us, the drugs and love cost a lot less than the tickets! Many fans were gladly forking over upwards $100 for each of the $25 "face value" ducats. These were the fans that had to be there-had to experience the Pumpkins live, had to share in the atmosphere surrounding what is currently the hottest band in the land.

" I traveled over 50 miles just to get here," and attractive young girl dresses in jeans and a Nirvana T-shirt explained. " I didn't have a ticket, but I knew I would do whatever was necessary to get in. This was one of those shows that I had to see-just to be there and be part of it."

Such is the adulation generated by Billy Corgan and his troops as they circle the globe in support of their latest release Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It seems wherever this Chicago-based quartet travel, they're met by sold-out mobs who view this quixotic unit with a degree of reverence usually reserved only for figures discussed in holy scriptures. At a time when many major acts have been forced to drastically scale back their tour plans, the Pumpkins have boldly forged ahead. deciding to play only moderate size halls and reaping the benefits of the fan frenzy cause by the marked lack of available tickets. While some have criticized the band for playing 1,500 seat halls-even in major markets like New York-others feel it's just Corgan proving he know how to create "heat" just about better than anyone else in the rock world.

"It's nice that so many people want to come out and see us," Corgan said. " I have been pleasantly surprised by it all. If i knew for sure that the album was going to do as well as it has, maybe we would have tried to play bigger places. But i didn't want to go out there and find we were playing in halls where the ticket demand wasn't there. If people aren't able to get in the show, I'm sorry."

For those lucky ( or wealthy ) enough to get inside the packed hall, the show that the Pumpkins put on proved to be a non-stop, two hour marathon of rock and roll energy. Drawing material primarily from their most recent two-disk set, and it's predecessor, Siamese Dreams, the group performed a tense, often emotionally moving show that managed to hide Corgan's reed-thin voice behind the surprisingly heavy wall of guitar thunder supplied by James Iha. Such recent hits as "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" brought the house down, but ut was the band's more sedate material that proved the most effective in the hall's relatively intimate surroundings.

While it was always the tall, gangly Corgan who maintained a virtual stranglehold on the spotlight, it was often attractive bassist D'Arcy that drew the greatest cheers from the crowd-especially the males in attendance.

"Everyone in the band has their fans," Corgan said. "That's nice. I don't want to be the star. This is a band and we've worked together for a long time to convince everyone of that. We finally have an album out that captures the kind of energy we have live, and now we have a tour that showcases all our material in its best light. We really rock when we're on stage, and now everyone get the chance to hear that. It's not like we're out to prove anything to anyone, but we do want to silence anyone who thinks that we're not a real rock and roll band. Trust me when I tell you that we're all just enjoying this very much."

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