Concert Reviews

The Smashing Pumpkins at Budweiser Stage

Photo by Angelo Marchini, 2019

You would think a band that’s been around for 35 years, sold over 30 million albums at the height of the alternative music era and are responsible for one of funniest lines in Simpsons history would be immortalized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by now.

The Smashing Pumpkins have never even been nominated for inclusion in the Cleveland-based institution; Jimmy Buffett probably has a better shot at getting in given the announcement of his passing on September 2nd. That’s the same day the Pumpkins – with original members Billy Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin – were acknowledged by 102.1 the Edge for their outstanding achievements in the field of alt-rawk excellence and inducted into the Toronto radio station’s own “Rock of Fame”.

This conveniently coincided with a sold-out show that night at Budweiser Stage along with Rival Sons and Interpol where multiple generations of fans came out to show unadulterated love despite no shortage of events going on in the city. The only thing louder than the air show fighter jets roaring across the sky earlier in the day was the guitar-ral assault repeatedly perpetrated by Corgan, Iha and third axeman(!) Jeff Schroeder. Their cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” was unrecognizable with all the heavy distortion.

For anyone who has had the good fortune of seeing the Pumpkins live, they’ll be quick to tell you it’s not always about the decibels. There is just as much beauty in their extensive catalogue that they laid bare acoustically, which the audience drank up as if everyone’s favourite seasonal lattes were on sale at Starbucks.

This is not a legacy band that intends to get thrown to the curb like a used pumpkin on November 1st. Even if they just released the third act of the Atum 33-song rock opera back in May, Corgan and company are already planning their next studio effort. I don’t know if the world is in fact a vampire, but it is definitely a more interesting place when his music patch overruns with prodigious output.

Be sure to check out Live Nation Ontario to see all of the other great acts that they will be bringing to Toronto this year.

About author

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” way back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. You can follow his alter ego on Twitter: @ROCKthusiast.