Real Live Action

Smashing Pumpkins


PNE Forum; September 24, 2007

Review By Miné Salkin

There’s a reason why the Pumpkins have been around since 1988, and the Pumpkins PNE show proved this.

The set was a well-balanced blend of all the best aspects of their career. Starting off with an energized performance of “Doomsday Clock” (the debut track from their latest album, Zeitgeist), the band rocked out with “Zero” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” among other quintessential Pumpkins tunes. It was the best of the past and the present, from “Down” and other Rotten Apples songs to, surprisingly enough, “Ava Adore” and “To Sheila” from their most experimental album Adore.

While Corgan was missing his iconic Zero shirt, his long-sleeved, striped replacement made us all remember the heavy psychedelic roots of the band, tossing everyone around in a cathartic cloud of the past, present and future. I also particularly liked the fact that original band members James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky were replaced by another female bassist and Asian guitarist. Did he think nobody would notice?

Live, the Pumpkins reminded concertgoers that, as an album, Zeitgeist explores many conceptions of nationality—particularly those in the U.S.—and the alienation that comes with an individual being attached to certain values and meanings based on locality. It’s for this reason that the album is so monumental. Phenomenologist philosopher Georg Hegel described a “spirit of the time” as a single historical figure representing all aspects and values of that period, and eventually when such meanings are overturned, another zeitgeist comes to be. Tracks such as “For God and Country” look at this phenomenological dialectic and describes how everything—including music—is a subject to this temporality.