[photos courtesy of Jill and For the Love of Brooklyn]
Originally the Smashing Pumpkins were slated to play their first NYC arena show in over 15 years at the newly-opened Barclays Center on Halloween. The last time Billy Corgan and company rocked Madison Square Garden was in 1997 during the heights of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had other ideas.
The band ended up rescheduling the show at Barclays on December 10th, which coincided with the end of their current North American tour. Corgan announced earlier this year that the band would be playing their new album Oceania in its entirety. The album has received almost universally positive coverage amongst music critics, many of whom have compared it to the classic Pumpkins sound popularized by albums like Siamese Dream and the aforementioned Mellon Collie.
After our last encounter with the band at Terminal 5 last year (which made our Top 25 of 2011 list), we knew we were in for a treat. Plus, we were looking forward to our first Barclays experience, which ended up being a highly positive one with great concessions, a friendly staff, and a surprisingly good sound system. In addition to a full album run-through, the band played a set of the hits with stand-outs like “X.Y.U.”, “Hummer” and “Cherub Rock.”
I was most surprised by my response to “Tonight, Tonight.” I often skip that song when I listen to Mellon Collie, but in concert it’s just sort of undeniable, and you realize that its sentiment is the key to understanding what Corgan has been trying to do with his music for all these years. It’s a song that blasts cynicism, and rejects the notion that any creative ambition is too crazy to be considered. I can think of a bunch of times recently when I was talking to someone who was really down on themselves, and I had to fight myself not to tell them “life can change, you’re not stuck in vain” because it’s corny to quote a Smashing Pumpkins song to someone who is genuinely distraught. But man, that line is so true. That whole song is so true.
Indeed, especially in light of Hurricane Sandy and all that led to the rescheduling of this show, this positivity and nostalgia was so refreshing. If the performance at the Barclays Center is a beacon of things to come, we can’t wait. I recorded this set up close with the Dynamic Audio Binaural microphones that I personally designed and built. The sound is in-your-face and excellent. Enjoy!
Stream “Tonite Reprise > Tonight, Tonight”
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The Smashing Pumpkins
Brooklyn, NY, US
Recordist : hi and lo
Source : DAB > DA-120F > Sony PCM-M10 @ 24 bit / 48 kHz
Edit : WaveLab V6 (EQ/Fades/Resampling/Dither)
Final Format : 16 bit, 44.1 kHz
Tracking : CD-Wave v1.98
Encoding : FLAC v1.2.1 Level 8 with TLH v2.6.0 (Build 168)
04. The Celestials
05. Violet Rays
06. My Love Is Winter
07. One Diamond, One Heart
11. Pale Horse
12. The Chimera
16. Space Oddity [Bowie]
19. Tonite Reprise
20. Tonight, Tonight
21. Bullet with Butterfly Wings
22. Introduce the Band
23. The Dream Machine
25. (Encore Call)
26. Ava Adore
27. Cherub Rock
Running Time: 2:21:29
If you enjoyed this recording, please support Smashing Pumpkins, visit their website, and purchase Oceania as well as the newly-reissued versions of their 90s records including Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness at their official store [HERE]