OREM In 2005, Billy Corgan took out a full-page ad in his hometown Chicago Tribune announcing he wanted to reunite his band, The Smashing Pumpkins.
In May of this year the band performed live for the first time in seven years with original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and new members Jeff Schroeder, bassist Ginger Reyes and adding keyboard player Lisa Harriton. Friday night, the Pumpkins made their return to Utah.
Opening with "United States" off their new album, "Zeitgeist," Corgan and company delivered more than two hours of songs spanning their entire career before a medium-size McKay Events Center crowd.
The older songs were the most warmly received by the audience, and rightfully so since they were also the best sounding of the evening: "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," "Tonight, Tonight," "Today," "Ava Adore" and "Zero" were some of the vintage highlights of the evening.
Although few of the new songs came off as well, "Tarantula" is one that could become a set-list regular in the future.
At times, however, the show was too much Corgan and not enough Pumpkins. Corgan's extended guitar solos sometimes turned into nothing but noise or odd guitar sounds, like Corgan's solo at the end of "United States" which seemed to be a momentum killer even with a Hendrix-like "Star Spangled Banner" solo (the show picked right back up on song two with "Bullet").
And the extended version of "Heavy Metal Machine" turned at the end into a sensory overload of constant flashing lights and high volume played without much rhythm.
In fact, Corgan may have been at his best Friday night when he unplugged all his instruments and did a fantastic solo-acoustic version of "1979," which he dedicated to a Utah girl named Alyssa who died earlier this year. Alyssa's mom met with Corgan before the concert and showed him pictures of her daughter, a big fan of the band, wearing Smashing Pumpkins' T-shirts.
Overall, Corgan gave fans what they wanted, while also indulging himself in things he wanted to do on stage.
The Bravery from New York delivered a good opening set. The band played songs from its synth-heavy first album, including "An Honest Mistake," which sounded as if it was ripped directly from the pages of the 1980s new-wave era.But it was the more straight-forward rock songs from the new album, such as "Fearless," "Believe," "Every Word Is a Knife In My Ear" and the Clash-like rhythm of "This is Not The End," that stood out and will probably provide for more career longevity.