Concert Review: Smashing Pumpkins at House of Blues

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Despite all his rage, hes still just a rat in a cage
  • Despite all his rage, he's still just a rat in a cage

The Smashing Pumpkins chose Cleveland to launch their first tour since December 2008. It's to support their ongoing Teargarden by Kaleidyscope singles releases, but it may as well be a road test for Billy Corgan's latest lineup.

The refreshed quartet features guitarist Jeff Schroeder, bassist Nicole Fiorentino, and drummer Mike Byrne. And they more than lived up to past incarnations, with the possible exception of Byrne, whose youthful exuberance can't quite match the veteran seasoning of former drummer Jimmy Chamberlain.

Their two-hour set consisted of most of the numbers you'd expect to hear — "Tonight, Tonight," "Disarm," "Ava Adore," and "1979." ("Today" was scheduled for the second encore, but that didn't happen due to time constraints.)

Four of the five Teargarden tracks released so far were played, including the latest entry, "Freak," which was released as a free download on the band's website earlier in the day. "Widow Wake My Mind" received the best response from the audience, mostly because Corgan lead the crowd in a pre-song singalong tutorial.

"No cheers for corporate rock?" Corgan asked mid-set. "Look at all the great music over the past 15 years."

Audience members hurled a bunch of band names at the stage — Creed seemed to be the consensus — prior to the opening strains of "Cherub Rock." Corgan took his diatribe one step further by replacing a few instances of "honey" in the song with "Sony."

Corgan promised rarities in the band's set and delivered renditions of live-only (so far) cuts "Owata" and "Gossamer." —Jeremy Willets

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