Live Review & Photos: The Smashing Pumpkins at Viejas Arena, October 13, 2012

Photos by Alex Matthews

The Smashing PumpkinsOceania tour rolled into San Diego’s Viejas Arena on Saturday, October 13.

Featuring the current lineup of Jeff Schroeder on rhythm guitar, Nicole Fiorentino on bass, Mike Byrne on drums, and founding member Billy Corgan on lead guitar and vocals, the Pumpkins played through a set of new material, classic hits, and covers. The night started with a full rendition of their 2012 album Oceania, which is itself part of the larger Teargarden by Kaleidyscope concept album project.

The band played the new material with energy and excitement, and songs like “The Celestials” and “My Love is Winter” went over well and pumped up fans. A large projection orb dominated the band’s stage setup and provided visualizations to all the new tracks, enhancing the band’s performance. With their spacey feel and solid rock foundation, the new songs have been described as a return to older Smashing Pumpkins albums such as Gish, but performed live the material felt new and unique.

The crowd for the show was surprisingly light, with even a half-sized Viejas Arena setup going unfilled, despite a $9.91 sale on tickets leading up to the event. Fans missed out if they skipped the show, though, as the smaller stage setup and ambient lighting provided a more intimate feel than typical Pumpkins performances. At one point, Billy Corgan reminisced about playing in San Diego many times over the years, sometimes at a club which he eventually remembered was called Soma.

Alas, Corgan did not choose to play his song of the same name, but did roll out several hits from Siamese Dream including “Disarm” and the fan favorite “Today.” Also featured in the set were several cover songs, with an interpretation of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” separating the Oceania set from the rest of the classic hits.

Toward the end of the set, the band seemed to lose some interest as they slogged through the mandatory hits. Even the giant orb hanging over the stage stopped featuring projections toward the end of the set. But overall, the show was entertaining and an excellent rendition of The Smashing Pumpkins’ newer material. Billy Corgan seems completely content to do his own thing, and many die-hard Pumpkins fans still seem happy to go along for the ride.

Photos – The Smashing Pumpkins at Viejas Arena

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