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Posted September 17, 2012 by Always Acoustic in Concert Reviews

The Smashing Pumpkins Aragon Ballroom Review

Sunday, December 7, 2008
By Aaron Keker

ARAGON BALLROOM, Chicago – The Smashing Pumpkins, Chicago still adores you!

Who knows what happened when The Smashing Pumpkins performed their 20th Anniversary Tour during the week of November 16th? Maybe Chicago Bears fans were still upset because of the thrashing by the Green Bay Packers and they were taking it out on Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins.

At least the Bears crushed Jacksonville Jaguars earlier today, because who knows how the audience would have reacted to The Smashing Pumpkins. Most likely it would have been a non-issue but who knows?

The evening commenced, like an ugly bar fight scene, as several audience members shouted to The Frogs, “You suck!” In my opinion, it did not matter who opened for The Smashing Pumpkins, the audience of 2,500+ just wanted to observe any Pumpkins’ rebound from their November performances.

The Smashing Pumpkins revelled this evening as they opened with “Tonight, Tonight.” When Billy Corgan sang the verse “believe in me as I believe in you,” was he trying to send a subliminal message? Maybe?

As Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins were about to perform “Cherub Rock” Billy remarked, “How is everybody doing, okay? If not, we can stop and find out why.” I was thinking, here we go again, but the audience responded with a resounding “no!” Then Billy remarked a comedic line, “I am good at stopping shows.”

The audience adored The Smashing Pumpkins! In fact, after each song concluded on their set list, they were greeted with boisterous cheers. Not only that, but the audience provided background vocals on “Tonight, Tonight,” “Today,” “Cherub Rock,” “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “Ava Adore,” “1979” and “Disarm.”

The adoration of The Smashing Pumpkins continued as Billy Corgan played his acoustic guitar alongside the rest of his band mates on “99 Floors,” “Owata,” “Disarm” and played solo acoustically on “Medellia of the Gray Skies” and “Communion.”

I waited and hoped that some of my other favorite songs like “Thirty-Three,” “Perfect,” “Muzzle,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” and “That’s the Way (My Love Is)” would be performed either electrically or acoustically, but the moment never arrived.

There were moments that the introduction, middle or end of the songs were too long instrumentally that I thought it might divert the audience’s attention. However, once they concluded, the audience erupted with excitement.

I really did not know what to expect this evening. I read about earlier Pumpkins’ shows where Billy Corgan complained about album sales ofZeitgeist, but Billy never complained this evening. In fact, he thanked the Chicago audience on numerous occasions.

MTV and VH1 have decided to shift their focus from playing videos to reality television, which is unfortunate. But imagine the possibilities in the digital music revolution if The Smashing Pumpkins released their entire video collection on iTunes U.S.?

Currently, only “Tarantula” and “That’s the Way (My Love Is)” are available on iTunes U.S., while the entire video collection is available at iTunes U.K.? One must wonder why? The Smashing Pumpkins could package their entire video collection, like the Foo Fighters are now, and even sell it at the same price of $12.99.

If an iTunes video enthusiast does not want to download the entire package set, then they can download them individually. Maybe The Smashing Pumpkins can release videos of their most popular ringtones like “Neverlost” and “Bring the Light” from iTunes? It may just be a partial answer to Zeitgeist’s low album sales. Who knows, maybe if they enjoy the videos, they will go and purchase the album?

Finally, The Smashing Pumpkins never performed songs like “Thirty-Three,” “Perfect,” “Muzzle,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” and “That’s the Way (My Love Is)” but overall the electrified and acoustic set list was a smashing success with the Chicago audience! Billy Corgan remarked, “We’re not dead. We’re not going away.” You know what, I believe him. Below is the set list from the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

Aragon Ballroom:

1. “Tonight, Tonight”
2. “Tarantula”
3. “Stand Inside Your Love”
4. “Mayonaise”
5. “Today”
6. “Gossamer”
7. “99 Floors”
8. “Owata”
9. “Soma”
10. “Cherub Rock”
11. “Zero”
12. “Bodies”
13. “United States”
14. “A Song for a Son”
15. “Medellia of the Gray Skies”
16. “Communion”
17. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
18. “SuperChrist”
19. “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”


20. “Ava Adore”
21. “1979”
22. “Disarm”