Tag: Universal City

Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson 6/6/13 – Gibson Amphitheatre – Universal City, California

Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper


The legendary shockstar, Alice Cooper, and The Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson both set out for the inevitable opportunity for the two of them to tour together for the Masters of Madness Shock Therapy tour. I had just seen Marilyn Manson in February and I had an urge soon after to see him again but I didn’t think he’d come around again for a while so when I heard he was coming back so soon, I jumped at the opportunity. This was my first time seeing Alice Cooper and I had only heard about his shows and seen pictures/videos of his shows so  knew more or less what to expect, but I wasn’t prepared to the madness that I was exposed to seeing him live. This was a night of pure madness and horror!

 Marilyn Manson 2

Up first was Marilyn Manson. Personally, I think he was better this time around than when I saw him in February. He just seemed more energized probably because it was early on in the tour instead of near the end of it. He opened with “Angel With The Scabbed Wings” which was nice to see him play that song and he changed his setlist from his previous tour. His songs included the grammy-nominated “No Reflection”, “The Dope Show”, “Sweet Dreams(Are Made of This)”, “Disposable Teens”, “This Is the New Shit”, “Irresponsible Hate Anthem”, and his most popular song, “The Beautiful People”. Manson had his usual stage props like walking on stilts, a giant wooden chair, a judge stand, and flashy lights.

Lately Marilyn Manson has been on the news lately due to an attempted suicide by Paris Jackson(Michael Jackson’s daughter) because she was unable to attend this show. Manson dedicated “Disposable Teens” to her as seen on my video:


For me, Alice Cooper was the highlight of the night. The guy is absolutely insane. I’ve read about his use of props which included 1 of his pet large snakes, a guillotine, electric chair, and put in a straitjacket.

Alice Cooper 4

I was very surprised at how well he performed for a 65-year-old man. He performed and sounded much better than bands I’ve seen that are 20-30 years younger than him. I haven’t seen someone’s live performance shock me the way he did in a while.  He opened up and started with “classicks” such as “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Under My Wheels”, and “Poison”. Later on the show he did the more spooky sounding songs like “Welcome to My Nightmare”, “Ballad of Dwight Fry”, and “Feed My Frankenstein”.


His live show was similar to that of a horror movie, you felt like you were in an insane asylum. Some of the highlights were: 1. During “Is It My Body” he brings out his pet Red-Tail Boa. 2: in “Feed My Frankenstein he dresses up as a mad scientist that gets setup into an electric chair and is electrocuted to which after, a giant Frankenstein monster comes out singing which was awesome. 3: Following his electrocution, he is put into a straitjacket and performs “Ballad of Dwight Fry” where he lets out the psychotic mental patient in him and goes berserk and even chokes his nurse. 4: After being restrained, Alice Cooper is placed in a guillotine where he is beheaded in front of everyone! How he did it? I have no idea but it was gruesome to watch and after that the band proceeded to play “I Love The Dead” on their own. They finished with one of his anthems, “School’s Out”, or so we thought before coming out for an encore.


The night ended with his classic, “I’m Eighteen” and he was joined on stage by Marilyn Manson for a duet to end this awesome night. Seeing  these two shockstars in one night made for one unforgettable night.

Marilyn Manson live – The Dope Show 6-6-13

Marilyn Manson live – Sweet Dreams(Are Made of This) 6-6-13

Marilyn Manson live – Irresponsible Hate Anthem 6-6-13

Marilyn Manson live – The Beautiful People 6-6-13

Alice Cooper live – Billion Dollar Babies 6-6-13

Alice Cooper live – Feed My Frankenstein 6-6-13

Alice Cooper live – Ballad of Dwight Fry 6-6-13

Alice Cooper live – School’s Out 6-6-13

Alice Cooper live – I’m Eighteen(w/ Marilyn Manson) 6-6-13

Marilyn Manson 1 Marilyn Manson 3


Alice Cooper 2 Alice Cooper 3  Alice Cooper 1

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2012 Night 1: Gibson Amphitheater – Universal City, CA

For the past 23 years Southern California radio giant KROQ has held their Almost Acoustic Christmas charity concerts. This year I had just heard about it for the first time after hearing one of my favorite bands, Linkin Park, would be headlining the first day on December 8th, 2012. This event took place at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, California. The bands for that day were: Linkin Park, Rise Against, Bush, Garbage, Slightly Stoopid, Awolnation, The Lumineers, Walk the Moon, The Gaslight Anthem, Two Door Cinema Club, and Youngblood Hawke.

The only band I was truly familiar with was Linkin Park so I will focus my review on them as well as other events throughout the night. Every band except for Linkin Park got a 1/2 hour set. The stage was a rotating stage in the form of a half-circle. So while one band was playing, the other side was being prepared for the next band. So once the current band finished, they left the stage and there was a 1 minute intermission, then the stage rotated and the next band started with the band ready to play and wasted no time.

During Bush’s performance, Gwen Stefani came out to sing “Gylcerine . Rise Against was one of the highlights of the night, they had the audience pumped up the whole time. Once Linkin Park came on, the whole place went berserk. They started with the first track off of their new album, Lost in the Echo. Throughout the night they did a good job of mixing it up with old and new songs. They played primarily singles from throughout their career such as “In The End”, “Numb”, “What I’ve Done”, “Breaking the Habit”, and “Waiting for the End”. The stage was a bit small so they weren’t able to move around as much as they usually do. Chester Bennington, the lead singer, sounded amazing as always and pulled off his screams perfectly. When they were finishing up with “Bleed It Out”, singer/rapper/guitarist Mike Shinoda, went out into the crowd and crowd-surfed for a bit and eventually made his way to the middle walkway on the floor and ended up a few feet from. I would’ve loved to get up close and personal with him but there was a wad of people surrounding him and if I had gotten in the way, I would’ve been turned into a tortilla for sure.




With me primarily being a metalhead, I felt out-of-place being at a show like this since the crowd consisted of people who look like they had no clue who the bands were or were just there to take up space. Regardless, I had fun seeing my favorite band for the 5th time.


Full recording of Linkin Park, Rise Against, and The Gaslight Anthem: KROQ: Linkin Park, Rise Against, The Gaslight Anthem 12-8-12

Ghost & Mastodon 04/26/12: Gibson Amphitheatre – Universal City, CA

Ghost & Mastodon 04/26/12

Gibson Ampitheatre – Universal City, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Universal Studios Hollywood is always a bizarre place to see a heavy metal show. As you make the long walk from your car to the Gibson Amphitheatre it’s hard not to laugh as metal fans stuff their faces with food court fair as tourists walk past and modern day Madonna songs blast upon the jumbotron. I actually thought it was an odd place for the Heritage Hunter Tour to be stopping in Southern California and upon seeing how many sections of seats were closed off inside the large venue it was at least refreshing to know my suspicions were correct. Undersold or not I was just excited to be catching Ghost and Mastodon together.

The show was set to kick off at 8:15 pm, but actually started around 8:13pm. As music you would hear on church during Sunday morning service rang through the PA many fans rushed in from the lobby to their seats. As the intro music faded the familiar bouncy bass line of “Con Clavi Con Dio” began and our ritual was underway. For thirty minutes Ghost enchanted the few diehards who made it into the venue while winning over every single individual smart enough to show up on time. Having spent a decade now living in Los Angeles, I don’t recall ever hearing a band refer to us as Tinsletown, but that is exactly what Papa Emeritus addressed us as. With the band’s February 2012 appearance at The Roxy being one of the best shows I have ever had the privilege of seeing, I knew a 30 minute opening slot would never be able to compare. While brief, it was still magical and I am still convinced that one day we will be watching Ghost headline venues this size in America. For the first time in my life I actually taped an entire performance of a band, and you can watch Ghost for yourself down below.

The last time I saw a show at Gibson Amphitheatre, Live Nation incompetence cost me a chance to see Mastodon. Thankfully that was not the case on this night. Having just seen the band in New Orleans last October, I was excited to see what they could do in a “headline” capacity. With their most recent release The Hunter being my top album of 2012, I was hoping for a set that was heavy on songs from the record and I got exactly that. Opening with “Black Tongue” we were in store for 75 minutes of hard hitting Mastodon action.

The group followed up “Black Tongue” by taking it back a few years to Blood Mountain. Both “Hand of Stone” and “Crystal Skull” got the mosh pit moving as an impressive light show caused more than one fan to fight of seizures. Yet after those two songs, the next 45 minutes was dedicated to material from The Hunter. With limited interaction of the crowd, highlights of this run of songs included “Dry Bone Valley,” “Octopus Has No Friends,” “Blasteroid” and of course the title track “The Hunter.”

The group snuck in a stellar version of “Crack The Sky” before going back to more songs from The Hunter. Instead of listing off all the songs the band played; let’s just say they didn’t play one of my favorites “Creature Lives.” That didn’t matter as the show was still incredible. The problem with Mastodon is that they are too good. It’s hard not to say cliché terms like “they killed it” or “brought the house down” because that is exactly what they do. Towards the end of the set, they did sneak in fan favorites “Aqua Dementia” and the mighty “Blood and Thunder” before closing with “The Sparrow.”

What I really love about Mastodon is that they change things up each time you see them. I do believe this was my 5th time seeing the band and I am inclined to say this was the best one yet. Phenomenal playing, killer light show and the sound was superb. As I am not a fan of Opeth (I have a ton of respect for them, but they tend to put me to sleep) I called it an early night and made the long walk back to the car grateful to catch two of the best live bands on the planet together on a Thursday night in Tinsletown.

My Morning Jacket Announce December US Tour

My Morning Jacket Announce December US Tour

My Morning Jacket will sneak across the US for a quick tour this December. The band is out in support of the recently released album “Circuital.” The trek will kick off in scenic Universal City, CA on December 1st and wrap with the bands triumphant return to Madison Square Garden on December 14th. Acts set to join Jim James and crew on the tour include Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Delta Spirit and Band of Horses. Dates for the tour are below the nifty viral video the band has produced to support their latest journey across America.

My Morning Jacket December 2011 Tour Announcement! from My Morning Jacket on Vimeo.


Dates for the trek are as follow:

12-01 Los Angeles, CA – Gibson Amphitheatre #

12-02 San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic #
12-06 Tulsa, OK – Brady Theatre ^
12-07 Dallas, TX – Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie ^
12-08 Houston, TX – Verizon Wireless Theatre ^
12-10 Boca Raton, FL – Sunset Cove Amphitheatre ^
12-11 Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live ^
12-12 Greensboro, NC – War Memorial Auditorium ^
12-14 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden *

# with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
^ with Delta Spirit
* with Band of Horses


21st Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Lineup Announced

21st Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Lineup Announced

The once groundbreaking Los Angeles radio powerhouse has unveiled the details for the 21st annual Almost Acoustic Christmas.  For most music fans snobs, the lineup is very average to say the least.  Thankfully, most fans of KROQ are not fans of music, so chances are the show will sell out faster than you can scream PAYOLA.

Pre-sales are later this week, but that does not matter as Gibson Amphitheatre will be filled with close and personal friends of KROQ as well as individuals with nothing better to do then listen to the radio and call KROQ in hopes of being lucky called #20.  As anyone in Los Angeles knows, it’s very hard to actually buy a ticket for these shows.

The line up for the 2010 KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas is as follows:

Night 1 – 12/11/10

Smashing Pumpkins

Social Distortion

My Chemical Romance

Bad Religion

Jimmy Eat World


A Day to Remember

The Dirty Heads



Night 2 – 12/12/10


Vampire Weekend

Brandon Flowers

The Black Keys

The Temper Trap

Neon Trees

Florence & the Machine

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Broken Bells

Slayer & Megadeth 10/21/10 – Gibson Amphitheatre – Universal City, CA

American Carnage Tour featuring Anthrax, Megadeth & Slayer 10/21/10

Gibson Amphitheatre – Universal City, CA

Words/Photos by Steve

A good friend of Reverend Justito – Steve sent us his thoughts on the Southern California stop of the American Carnage tour.  Truly one of the good guys, we thank Steve for sharing and ask that you check out his awesome design work via Non-Compliant Industries.  From furniture to stage set designs for As I Lay Dying, Steve is a highly talented and if you can dream it, he can create it.

To have seen Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer is a treat for any metal head. I was lucky enough to see the three legends live at Gibson Amphitheatre this past Thursday night. Megadeth (aka MegaDave) has proven that no matter what happens in your personal life or professional career you can always be on top of your game. Collectively the band sounded just as good with the new members as they did with Marty Friedman and Nick Menza well over a decade ago. The band proved it has withstood the test of time by rocking the 1990 classic “Rust In Peace” from front to back.  Another highlight of the set was Slayer Axe-man Kerry King joining the band on stage.

Slayer no doubt still has it and they proved it by playing “Seasons in the Abyss” in its entirety.  One of my favorite metal albums of all time, the band played each song back to back.  Tom Araya and company were brutal and made sure you knew they were in your face all the way till the end when they finished with “Angel of Death.”

My final thought is that I felt just like I was 14 again when I saw Guns N’ Roses & Metallica with Motorhead serving as support.  Though I love listening to albums from start to end, when I see a band live, I prefer a mix of material, not a complete album front to back.  Regardless, it was a great night in Universal City, and I am glad I was able to attend.

Epic Fail – BlackDiamondSkye Hits Southern California

Blackdiamondskye Featuring Mastodon, Deftones & Alice in Chains

10/11/10 – Gibson Amphitheatre – Universal City, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconessions.com

When rumors of a Mastodon/Deftones/Alice in Chains fall arena trek began to gain steam earlier this year, I found myself very excited.  All great bands on both record and stage crisscrossing our nations arenas, what could go wrong?  Well as it turns out, lots could go wrong with Blackdiamondskye as I found out first hand at Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, CA.

In the weeks leading up to the announcement of west coast dates, this was going to be the one fall tour I refused to miss.  Yet when I learned that my local stop would cost  $50+ dollars for a seated venue on a Tuesday night, I had no problem missing a tour that featured bands I have seen numerous times over the past year.  It was at that very moment that I decided I would save my heard earned cash and skip Blackdiamondskye.

So why are you reading this?  Well it turns out that somewhere along the line, I entered a contest for free tickets and a pair of Vans tennis shoes.  Guess who won the contest?  So I called up a friend and we headed up to California’s worst amusement park/tourist trap for a night of hard rock.


Mastodon is one of my favorite bands, and they never disappoint live.  I wish I could tell you all about the groups opening set, however the same folks who got me into the show for free (a little company called Live Nation, you may have heard of them) are the same reason I missed the bands entire set.  You see, it turns out that I am not the only person who didn’t want to see these bands for a high price in a venue that is better built for Neil Diamond then hard rock/heavy metal.  With only a handful of tickets sold 48 hours before the show, Live Nation decided to drop the price down to $10.  A great deal for fans, but as anyone who has been to a show in North America knows – Live Nation will do anything to fuck over those fans.  I am going to guess that 4000+ fans bought $10 tickets starting Monday morning.  Knowing it’s a week night and that fans would be traveling in heavy traffic from all over the Southland, how were fans greeted?  Two people working Will Call for 4000+ people.  After 45 minutes in line, I finally made it to the window and I almost snapped.  The envelopes were apparently not in alphabetical order which caused an overworked staff member to sort through hundreds of envelopes to find my tickets.  With the line not getting any shorter, part of me wanted to give her a hug and donkey punch her employer.  I get that Live Nation lost their ass on this tour, but can you not afford an intern who can put the tickets in alphabetical order?  Could you not afford four or even eight Will Call employees?  So while I am stoked I won some silly Live Nation contest, the way they handled the entire process only makes me hate the company more.  So I am sorry Mastodon, I really was looking forward to rocking out with you guys.


As a CSC security guard was busy fondling my man boobs looking for drugs, the Deftones were opening their set with “Rocket Skates” from their impressive new album Diamond Eyes.  I know up next was “Around The Fur” but I am not really 100% sure since I was trying to get a drink before making my way in for the night (thanks to the rad bartender who gave me way more then he probably should have.  That shot looked like 2-3, and I made sure he was well tipped).  I made it into my seat just in time for the bands third song “My Own Summer (Shove It).”  I was shocked at how packed the venue was (especially after Jay Porks MSG review), apparently the $10 ticket sale worked.


As a lifelong Deftones fan (this was show #15 for me) I could tell right away that this gig would be one to forget.  Gibson is the wrong venue for the band – Deftones and seats mix much like peanut butter and ranch dressing.  The crowd could care less that the band was playing intense versions of songs like “Diamond Eyes” and “You’ve Seen The Butcher.”  Hell, the crowd hardly noticed the bands biggest hit “Change (In The House of Flies).”  Deftones are a band who are powered off crowd reaction and energy.  With it feeling more like a funeral then a rock show, you could feel the frustration from the band, which is why I am shocked at how they chose to finish the set.


With front man Chino Moreno wishing his daughter a happy 6th Birthday, the band launched into a three song segue fest that would have made many Phish fans proud.  From their debut album Adrenaline and dedicated to their fallen brother Chi Cheng; the band got straight up nasty with “Birthmark>Engine No. 9>7 Words.”  For the first (and I assume only) time all night, a small pit broke in the venues small and unseated pit area.  As someone who first saw the band almost 15 years ago on the Adrenaline tour, the playing on the final three songs was my highlight of the night.  When they want too, the Deftones still have that old school kick you in the teeth flair.  Here is looking forward to show #16 in a venue that does not have seats.


 Alice in Chains

Last summer, when I saw Alice in Chains for the first time, I was levitating above the Fairplex in Pomona.  A fan for years, I was in shock that I was finally seeing a band whose music has made such an impact upon my life.  So heading into the venue, I was eager to see the Seattle four piece play a full headline set.  While the set was not terrible, you could tell the group was drained from non-stop touring around the world.  The band started off on a good pace, performing three songs from the classic album Dirt.  “Them Bones” is a perfect was to kick things off, and “Rain When I Die” is one of my all time favorite AIC songs.  The band who has released multiple greatest hits packages busted out many of the big guns early.  “Again” was hard and heavy, however the band started to fade quickly during the recent rock radio smash “Check My Brain.”  Lead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell tried to encourage the crowd to celebrate California, get into the music and check their brains.  Yet most just looked on dazed and confused trying to act cool by not letting loose.


It was clear all hope for Alice in Chains was long gone by the time they dove heavily into songs from their comeback record Black Gives Way To Blue.   “Your Decision” gave most of the crowd reason to sit down, and “Acid Bubble” gave the masses a chance to empty their bladders.  It got so bad; Cantrell would point to pockets of fans rocking out in order to encourage the rest of the audience to join them.  This move failed and as the band busted out the Facelift classic “We Die Young” you could tell that the fearless foursome were counting down the final days of a tour that has tanked from coast to coast.


Depressed and under-stimulated, my friend and I left during the encore break.  Sure we could have hung around and watched a tired band struggle to make an impact with hits like “Man in the Box” and “Would?” but why watch something you love suffer?  Looking back, for as excited as I was for BlackDiamondSkye, I see why it failed.  In the last 14 months, the Southern California area has seen Mastodon three times, Deftones six times and Alice in Chains three times.  I am not sure if it was Warner Music, Live Nation or perhaps a combination of both who decided it was a smart move to place these bands together with a steep ticket price during a bad economy.  It’s a shame as both bands and fans deserve better.  At least I got a free pair of shoes out of the deal (updated 08/11 – I am still waiting for my shoes to show up).


From The Vault: The Smashing Pumpkins Perform Two Sold Out Shows In Los Angeles

The Smashing Pumpkins

12/02 & 03/2008

Gibson Amphitheatre – Universal City, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com




As any fan can tell you, it’s not easy being loyal to The Smashing Pumpkins.  Being a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins is much like being in an abusive relationship.  They break your heart and beat you down, yet you keep coming back for more.  In my days, I have seen some amazing shows, and I have seen some train wrecks.  Walking into the Amphitheatre once known as Universal on the 8 year anniversary of their “last show ever” I fully expected a beat down from my sometimes abusive lover.  I had read the reports of Kazoo solos.  I saw the YouTube clip from NYC where Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan invited an unhappy fan on stage only to humiliate him.  Knowing how lame Los Angeles fans can be, I expected a riot.  I suppose Billy Corgan did as well, as the set him and his 8 piece bad played was another fuck you to every fan they have pissed off across the country on this tour.


I was a little bit worried when Billy Corgan came onto the stage in a weird outfit that looked like the bastard butt baby of a bald Cabbage Patch Kid and the Statue of Liberty.  A horn heavy welcome number was screeched out by the lanky front man.  However, as soon as he picked up his guitar it was a full on rock and roll assault.  “Tarantula” from the bands come-back album “Zeitgeist” felt like an obvious natural opener.  I didn’t recognize the next number, and I figured we were well on our way into the downward spiral of selfishness and sadness.  Yet when Corgan and company started teasing the opening chords of “Siva” from their debut album “Gish” only to blast into a version well over seven minutes, I knew deep down in my guarded heart that tonight was going to be much different.



While I expected tears from watching my one time favorite band piss on 20 years of history (this is after all being billed as their 20th anniversary tour) the last thing I expected were tears of joy.  Yes folks, after well over 300 shows of various bands, I finally cried at a rock show.  “Mayonaise” is my all time favorite SP song (with “Drown” coming in a close second).  Never in a million years did I ever expect to hear this song live.  I thought it was the drugs at first, playing tricks on me with those oh so familiar opening notes.  Clearly I was wrong when Corgan stomped on that Big Muff guitar pedal and played those phat chords that clog your artery much like the product the song is named for.  I stood and watched as tears rolled down my face.  Billy Corgan could have killed a puppy on stage at that point, and it would have been ok with me.



The night kept rolling on.  Hits such as “Tonight, Tonite” and “Stand Inside Your Love” were mixed up with more obscure songs such as “Once Upon A Time” and “Superchrist”.  The opening notes of “Today” also shocked me.  I have heard over time how much Mr. Corgan hates the song.  More so even then Courtney Love & Sharon Osbourne.



It wouldn’t be a Pumpkins show without a good amount of silly stage banter from Mr. Corgan.  He joked about our freeway system (101 is for cruising, 405 makes you suicidal and 5 gets you to Mexico) which quickly transformed into jokes about the Red Rocker Sammy Hagar.  He also joked at one point about couples (market research shows that couples spend more money on Pumpkins tickets then singles) and made mention how the crowd should just quit and sit down since the 1990’s were a long time ago.  This all lead up to a rant about how fans quit on The Smashing Pumpkins in 1998, but it was ok as they had quit on the fans 8 years ago today.



The end of the show for lack of a better term was rather jammie.  “Heavy Metal Machine” seemed softer than usual and lacked focus at times.  However the cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Song” was anything but.  Corgan beat drums, played weird bird call instruments and conjured feed back well beyond the wildest dreams of Syd Barrett.  While two men in the section over disagreed, I thought it was a genius way to end the set.  I also thought the encore of “We Only Come Out At Night” was genius with jokes, Kazoo solos and teases of “Close To You” by The Carpenters.



Over all, I am shocked at how great night one of The Smashing Pumpkins stay here in Los Angeles (ok, Universal City).  I expected to get beat down and abused, instead I was treated to great make up sex.  Yes, I have quit on The Smashing Pumpkins.  Yes they have quit on me.  Sure, some changes may have occurred over the years, but without a doubt The Smashing Pumpkins reminded me last night why I fell in love with them in the first place.




Can I tell you a secret?  Deep down inside, I was praying for a riot.  I had heard the tales of terror about how the 20th Anniversary tour was a scam.  I read horror stories about how folks were walking out, booing and demanding refunds from the Uncle Fester meets Jack Skeleton hybrid that didn’t bring D’arcy & James along for the ride.  I just have one thing to say to all those folks who cried, bitched and didn’t have the time of their lives.






That’s right.  FUCK YOU.  While it was not the feel good greatest hits set of night one, night two of the Pumpkins stay here in Los Angeles was just as intense as the first time around, but on an entirely different level.  The biggest problem however with this entire tour (and a section of the sold out crowd last night) is simple.  Simple people with closed minds can not handle new music. 




Early on in the set, after a rocking intro of the late 90’s Goth techno power metal hit “Ava Adore” the band took it down a notch and sank into a stripped down acoustic set.  Three songs were played (sorry, I don’t know the titles of any of them) all of which I felt were really good.  One song had all 9 musicians on stage playing totally different parts, yet it all came together very well.  Another song reminded me of something you would have heard on Neil Young’s “Harvest” record.


My personal highlight of the night was “Soma” from their 1993 record Siamese Dream.  With its quiet intro and loud chorus, the sonic assault was perfect.  Another favorite of mine from that album “Cherub Rock” soon followed bringing the crowd to their feet with great energy and enthusiasm.  A few other hits followed.  “Zero” was the noisy harmonic fueled feed back laced grove we all know and love, and while in my book it still feels played out, “1979” was probably the highlight of the night for just about everyone else.




The second half of the show (as far as I could tell) was basically new music.  The only way I can describe most of it is The Mars Volta meets Willie Wonka.  With the exception of the Conga/Caribbean number (sorry guys you lost me there, just not my thing) I enjoyed all of it.  Sadly, I can’t say the same for most.  Two very drunk macho looking men with trophy dates fresh from the taxidermy clinic sitting behind us clearly felt that Mr. Corgan was a faggot for dancing around the stage with his tambourine.  They begged for more hits, yet talked all through “Landslide” about their small genitalia and oversized pick up trucks. 



Guitar shredder George Lynch joined the band for two songs last night.  With all the lights, and seats somewhat far back (I have had worse that’s for sure) I wasn’t even able to make him out until Corgan announced his name.  While I may not be a fan of Dokken, the man can play guitar and took these new jams to another level.  As Corgan also mentioned, he is in better shape then anyone in the band.


I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t understand these two night stands The Smashing Pumpkins have performed.  Who cares if James and D’arcy are no longer around?  The Smashing Pumpkins have always been Billy’s baby, and without the deadweight, he is free to expand not only his musical horizons, but the horizons of his fans.  At one point, the violin player strummed out the instrumental title track for “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”.  Not only was it unexpected (as the original is piano) it challenged you to see the song in a beautiful new light.  Over these two nights, anyone who is truly a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins got everything they could have wanted.  90% of the bands hits were played (maybe next time I Am One and Thirty-Three).  Album tracks from their biggest selling records of the 1990’s were busted out.  Yet most important, we got a glimpse into the future.  1994 is over, there is never going to be another “Today” or “Tonight, Tonite” and I am fine with that.  Music is supposed to evolve; it’s boring when musicians do the same thing over and over again.  So here is to another 20 years from the band by the lake.











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