The Smashing Pumpkins – The Sylvee – Madison WI – 11/28/2018 – Part 2

and then it was time.

I took stock of my point in space and time. New venue was great, we hadn’t waited for hours (remember DJ Shadow?), my earplugs were a hit and I was poised for seeing The Smashing Pumpkins. All systems go!

Out they came.

Current band is Billy, James, Jimmy, Jeff Schroeder (whom I saw in the movie “If All Goes Wrong) and Jack Bates on bass.

Billy was wearing a big long jacket over what can only be described as a full gown. Again, I only had my phone, so pictures were a challenge. I did get some decent enough to include here.

The video playing behind Jimmy was pretty damn cool.

They opened with “Solara” from the new album and immediately I was engrossed. The sound was mixed perfectly and my earplugs were working great and I was blissed out. I was seeing The Smashing Pumpkins!!!

Billy’s outfit was interesting, but as far as I’m concerned, that guy can wear whatever the hell he wants as long as he can make music for us.

I was actually glad I was on the side where James was, I got to see him play and really gained an appreciation for his playing. He was chatty between songs too. It was cool. I like when the band talks to the audience.

I consider myself a staunch Pumpkins fan, and I knew “Solara” and “Zero” and “Today”… the first 3 songs they played. I loved when in “Zero” Billy dropped his vocal and let the audience shout out “wanna go for a ride?” To see Billy and the band perform was as I said in Part 1… sublime. It was SO good. I couldn’t dream it any better. I had wanted to see The Smashing Pumpkins and thought I had missed my chance years ago. This was like a dream come true. I mean I don’t want to oversell it, but I was excited and the show was even better than I had hoped. Frankly I thought we would be crushed in a crowd with barely a view and come away disappointed, but I had a rail to lean on, the music was great and we weren’t crowded at all. Success!

The fourth song made me wonder if I hadn’t listened to the new album enough yet, because I knew it wasn’t an old song and I didn’t recall it from the new stuff, I was confused. Turns out it was a Depeche Mode cover; “Never Let Me Down Again”. It was great.

Selfie with the band.

Then they did “Knights Of Malta” which is from the new album. Also great. This was the live premiere of this song evidently. See set list later in this post.

Then came “Tonight Tonight” and “Dross”. “Dross” is from the Machina II album and that was a total surprise for me. I love that song and never thought they would be playing that one!

After that Billy left the stage and James took the audience through a cover of The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”. The crowd dug it and sang along.

Then Billy came back out and they started “Disarm”. Hid new outfit was pants, but with what can only be called half a skirt. Interesting.

Again, this guy can wear whatever he wants.

“Bullet With Butterfly Wings” was amazing. I started to notice that I wasn’t bouncing anymore and was leaning and just watching, sort of stunned at how great this was and just absorbing. You get that way sometimes.

What came next blew my mind. The started “Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans” and for a split second I wondered why they would be playing that one. I never really gravitated to that song from “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness”. However, for me, this was definitely the highlight of the show. They turned that song into a shredding fest that seemed to go on forever. It was simply amazing.

Then came the live debut of “Travels” from the new album and “Cherub Rock”. They also did “Ava Adore” in which Billy walked around the stage and sang sans guitar.

Then they did “Heavy Metal Machine” a track from the first Machina album. It was so cool. I never expected them to play that one. It was another shredder and marked the end of the show proper. They ended it, thanked the audience and left the stage.

I knew there was NO way they were not coming back.

The indeed did and played “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” which is a great and singable song off the new album and to attest to the fervor of the crowd, despite the song being from the new album, everyone was singing it along with the band. It was awesome.

The they did “Muzzle”.

Then they left the stage again. I was pretty much speechless at this point. Mind simply over stimulated with surreal pleasure and a huge smile on my face.

They came back again and did “Siva”. This one is from “Gish” and was the only one they played from that album. It was fantastic. I knew it was going to be the last song as they made the ending last and last and last with all 3 guitars soloing their asses off.

Then with a round of thank yous and some picks tossed into the crowd, The Smashing Pumpkins left the stage for the last time at The Sylvee.

I probably say this after every show I see, but I think this show was definitely in my top 5 shows of ALL time.

I fell asleep that night with the strains of “Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans” in my head.

And no ring in my ears.

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