Smashing Pumpkins’ Las Vegas show isn’t quite a smash

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan kept his audience waiting — and waiting — for the classics during his band’s Las Vegas set last weekend.
Erik Kabik/Retna

The Details

The Smashing Pumpkins
Two and a half stars
October 8, Cosmopolitan's Boulevard Pool

Smashing Pumpkins mastermind Billy Corgan is the kind of guy who likes to confound his audience, and the audience at Saturday’s Pumpkins concert at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool seemed plenty confounded. Sure, there were die-hard Pumpkins fans in attendance who were no doubt thrilled to hear four songs off of upcoming album Oceania, two from recent EP series Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and three from 1994 B-sides collection Pisces Iscariot, alongside a number of other vintage deep cuts. But those people were far outnumbered by the folks offering polite applause and nonstop chatter in response to songs that they had probably never heard (or even heard of).

No, big-name bands are not obligated to play all their huge hits, but Corgan waited 100 minutes to break out a single popular, recognizable song (“Cherub Rock”) and then threw in just one more (“Bullet With Butterfly Wings”) before the concert ended. That meant a lot of sitting through mediocre, meandering new tunes and unfamiliar old ones stretched out into long, enervating jams. Some of the more concise, intense songs still packed a hard-rock punch, including “Cherub Rock,” “Frail and Bedazzled” and “Muzzle.” And Corgan is still an impressive musician, although he’s so enamored of his guitar-soloing prowess that he should consider joining one of those G3 tours with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. His latest bandmates-for-hire exhibited acceptable proficiency but virtually no stage presence, and Corgan himself barely said a word to the audience, demonstrating an indifference that was apparently mutual.


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