Words and Photos by: Gina Pefley
The Smashing Pumpkins’ Shiny and Oh So Bright tour landed at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington last Friday night. The announcement of a reunion tour earlier this year had most longtime fans eagerly awaiting a chance to see Billy Corgan (lead vocals and guitar, keyboards), James Iha (guitar), and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums) together again on stage. While original bassist, D’arcy Wretzky, was missing from the lineup, it has been almost 20 years since the majority of the original band has toured together. Additional tour members include Jeff Schroeder (guitar), Jack Bates (bass guitar), and Katie Cole (keyboards). For those fans not fortunate enough to attend this performance, it was available to view as a live stream on Twitter, as part of the Live Nation Concert series.
The Shiny and Oh So Bright tour features songs from the bands’ first five studio releases: “Gish” (1991), “Siamese Dream” (1993), “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” (1995), “Adore” (1998), and “Machina” (2000). All of the big hits and fan-favorites are performed in the over 30-song set, which spans over three hours. Coupled with a breathtaking visual and lighting display, this is a concert that should not be missed.
The show opened with Billy Corgan emerging from behind black screens in a flood of light, playing a solo version of Disarm. A display of personal photos and videos from his childhood were flashed on the large stage screen during the song, which created a very nostalgic feeling and sucked you into the performance instantly. The full band then joined the stage, and the show was off and running!
The next three songs, Rocket from “Siamese Dream”, and Siva and Rhinoceros from “Gish”, kicked the show up a notch. Corgan’s vocals and the three guitars created such a full sound but stayed true to the original releases. As a longtime fan, I was brought back to 1992, when I saw Smashing Pumpkins in a small club during the 1992 Summer Tour. It definitely felt like a celebration of the music we all love.
A few cover songs were also played during the set, including David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Both songs were accompanied by strong visual performances. For the Bowie cover, Corgan donned a silver hooded cape and ascended a staircase with beautiful imagery of space displayed on the background screens. It was a beautiful and touching tribute to an artist missed by many. During Stairway to Heaven, four monks carried a lighted shrine around the arena floor while stunning visuals were played on the stage screen.
Corgan’s talents (vocals, guitar, and keyboard) were well-featured throughout the night. In particular, his guitar performance on Porcelina of the Vast Oceans was simply amazing and a joy to experience. I especially enjoyed the live version of Eye, which was released in 1997 on the soundtrack to the David Lynch film Lost Highway. The three guitars created a wall of sound that isn’t present in the soundtrack release.
The crowd sprang to life when hits such as Landslide (Fleetwood Mac cover), Tonight Tonight, 1979, and Today were played during the set. The nearly sold-out crowd at KeyArena sang along to all of the favorites. And I don’t think any of the favorites were missed. The crowd remained wanting more through the entire 3 hours, which was a pretty impressive feat.
There are a handful of shows remaining on the tour. You can find tickets HERE.