Friday, October 3, 2014

Smashing Pumpkins - Live - San Francisco 08-17-91

Label: Bootleg
Year: 1991

Say what you will about the current status of Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins. Hell, say what you will about the status of Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins post-1994, and I probably won't disagree with your condemnations of his erratic and self-sabotaging behavior and the rapid decline in quality of their music. No argument here...they (he) crapped the bed and his ego got the better of him (them).
But, I WILL argue that the first two Smashing Pumpkins (really, all the material that preceded "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness [a title so preposterous it's even difficult to type with a straight face]) is pure fucking gold. Fight me if you want, but you can't deny the majestic bombast of "Siva"'re lying if you try. And if you saw the band in that era, the 1990-1993 years, you're probably still mentioning it to your friends as "one of the best shows I ever saw". They were loud, they were soaked in feedback, they got real, real heavy, they rocked harder than you could imagine, and they weren't afraid to unleash the taboo (at the time) guitar solo. They were fantastically glorious.
How have those songs aged? Depends on your tolerance for the vocals probably.
I'm in though.
This set was recorded right after the release of "Gish", but includes songs that would end up on "Siamese Dream", plus a couple covers just to round out the evening.
Look, I'm as bummed as the next guy that Billy Corgan shaved his head and fired the band and started to believe his own hype, and attempted "goth", and all that, trust me, I am. Super bummed, cause, as much as I know they're a punching bag today, I really really loved Smashing Pumpkins. I bought their shit hook, line, and sinker. Those first couple records, and the shows around those records are cherished mementos for me, and no matter how ridiculous the legacy of the band is, or gets, I'll always revisit those things and get enjoyment from them. I'm an old softy in that regard. So, suspend disbelief or whatever and set the way-back machine for "awesome", and let's go!



topher44 said...

Where was this show? The old I-Beam on Haight? If so, I was there. Thank-you for this!

Fat Black Gas said...

I'm with you, Gray.
Gish and Siamese were about the best rock albums at the time. I was hooked the first time I saw Siva on 120 Minutes.... before I knew of KXLU and 12 o'clock Rock on KPFK.
Thanks for the upload!

Anonymous said...

I just had this exact same argument the other day. Gish was pretty much perfect and Siamese Dream while a tad bit more commercial was pretty fucking killer. I can't say I listened to Mellon Collie at all or anything after that.

Now everything smashing pumpkins is just pretty pathetic.

side note: the reason i had this argument is that my buddy works for some music startup company and he told me he was having a lunch meeting with jimmy chamberlain who is the CEO of some company that i forgot the name of as well as what they do. i was like oh i thought he was a H junkie, but apparently he has cleaned himself up and ecome the CEO of some internet start up. so i guess he is doing a touch better than corgan.

Gray said...

Yes, this show was from the I-Beam, which, based on a quick Google search, they actually played twice in 1991.

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