The Smashing Pumpkins Live at Red Bull Sound Select SXSW 2013

March 17th, 2013
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With the town abuzz with the word of super private shows happening from Justin Timberlake and Prince, there was an even more exclusive show that set the last night of SXSW on fire. For Red Bull’s excellent five-night Sound Select series, The Smashing Pumpkins were the final, super secret headliner of the week. And this event, literally around only 350 capacity. Fans started lining up within minutes of the venue’s announcement and waited several hours before doors even opened. The line even at 7:30 p.m. was all the way around the block. And boy, was it worth the wait. Billy Corgan, Nicole Fiorentino, Jeff Schroeder and Mike Byrne make complicated, technical and epic rock seem painlessly easy. Aside from a few vocal oddities in Corgan’s delivery on “Cherub Rock,” the set was practically flawless. Fans were treated to a helping of songs from almost every Pumpkins album. “Zero” provided the simple singalong playoffs, “United States” became a monumental worked out jam and “Disarm” brought the contemplative emotional weight they’re famous for. Elsewhere, “Pale Horse” was a soothing, quiet number and “Bullet with the Butterfly Wings” delivered on cathartic power. Even new track “Oceania” was intricate and rewarding. For good measure, they did a dead-on cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The strongest two highlights however came in the form of “X.Y.U.” and “Tonight, Tonight.” The former exploded into cascading walls of distortion prompted by Corgan’s snarling mid-song roar, “And in the eyes of a Jackyl I say Ka-boom!” and the latter, a heart wrenching testimonial on the enigmatic talent Corgan possesses. There one and only encore was a special treat, the multi-passage suite “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans.” The crowd warmly sang “Happy Birthday” to Corgan (guitarist Jeff tipped the crowd off earlier such was the case) and they were done. Throughout the whole set, it barely looked as if the band broke a sweat. It was a fitting, appropriately incredible end to SXSW 2013.

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By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews


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