Before I get to my thoughts on The Smashing Pumpkins, I have to mention how fantastic The Louisville Palace is. Over the years, the venue has remained as one of the premier regionalspots to watch music happen, which is easy for me to forget as I probably only attend 2 or 3 shows there a year. The music always seems to sound really good, the sight lines are pretty great, and the inside of the theater has a majestic, elegant vibe that really sets this place apart from the others. Having said that, the drink prices are fucking ridiculous, as PBR tall boys were going for $13. Uhhhh, no. But I suppose that’s to be expected from any premier venues around, right? It’s ok, the overpriced beverages weren’t going to sour my evening.
To get things started, Billy Corgan graced the stage alone with an acoustic guitar and a goofy hat, where he performed a few songs including crowd pleaser “Tonight, Tonight.” A few songs in, another guitar player joined him to play lead mostly, and soon after that the full band formed making the progression reminiscent of the classic live Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense. As the show progressed, Billy Corgan & company went on to perform a number of classics such as “Mayonnaise” and “1979,” mixed in with a litter of covers from bands like Hole, Zwan and David Bowie. It was super fun to hear them play “Space Oddity” but I was a bit surprised when, for the encore the band reunited on stage to play The Rolling Stones classic “Angie,” and not one of their own deep cuts. Whatever, it was unexpected but fun nonetheless. (Get the entire setlist here)
Adding to what I said before about how good the music normally sounds in The Louisville Palace, this show was no different. It sounded fucking fantastic, as good as it has ever sounded in there actually, and that’s no exaggeration. I’ve gotta say, who ever runs the sound inside that giant theater does a great job, as I haven’t attended more than a couple shows that didn’t sound very good. Well done, sir or madame.
My only real complaint is that Corgan didn’t embrace or even acknowledge the audience very much, taking more of what seemed like a workman attitude as he plowed through song after song. That’s cool… I suppose I don’t care what he’s been up to or where he ate lunch, but I have to say I am a sucker for bullshit conversation from the person I’m watching. Aside from this, I had a great time. Much better than my last Smashing Pumpkins experience in 2010 at Forecastle where the band sloppily stumbled through a bland setlist that really left a bad taste in my mouth. The songs performed last night seemed to have been coming from a much more genuine, appreciate place, making my experience one to remember.
Watch a pair of videos I snagged from YouTube user Mel Music below, the first showcasing the band performing “Mayonnaise” and the second being their rendition of “Space Oddity”: