The Smashing Pumpkins, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, December 13, 2014
This past May, I was waiting outside Brooklyn Bowl to photograph Jane’s Addiction, when Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins and Tommy Lee of Motley Crue walked past me and into the venue together. I’m used to seeing celebrities at concerts in Las Vegas but seeing Billy Corgan and Tommy Lee hanging out peaked my curiosity.
That night the photographers were set to shoot from the balcony instead of our usual space in front of the barricade by the stage. As I lined up on the rail of the balcony to prepare to photograph the concert, I found myself standing next to Billy Corgan. We struck up a conversation and spent some time before the show talking about his new album, the last time he played Las Vegas and we discussed how frustrating it is for an artist to be progressing and presenting new music when most fans only want to hear the old familiar tunes. He told me Tommy Lee was playing drums on his new album and they were taking a break from recording that day to come to Las Vegas to see their friends in Jane’s Addiction. I told him I hope he likes the Brooklyn Bowl and I would love to see him bring The Smashing Pumpkins there for a concert.
Flash forward to Saturday, December 13, 2014 . . . my hope for that concert is now reality. The Smashing Pumpkins are about to take the stage. Billy Corgan and longtime Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder have enlisted Rage Against the Machine drummer, Brad Wilke and Las Vegas’ own Mark Stoermer, bassist for The Killers to complete the lineup for this tour. Standing at the stage preparing to photograph the concert, I am excited to see new music on that setlist taped to the stage in front of me. I had spent the prior week listening to the new album on vinyl at home and the digital version in my car and I am already in love with it. My favorite songs on the album are Tiberius, Being Beige and Monuments and they are all on the setlist in front of me, along with other great songs from the album, One and All and Drum + Fife. Honestly there isn’t one bad track on the the new album and I would have been happy to hear them all live. The rest of the setlist was packed with great songs, including crowd favorites Disarm, Tonight Tonight, Ava Adore and closing out with an newer, unreleased song, Burnt Orange Black. I love that Billy Corgan closed out the night with a the gift of experiencing a song that has not yet been released on an album.
Following the concert, The Smashing Pumpkins showed up at Zia Records on Maryland Parkway for a surprise acoustic set and record signing with several hundred lucky fans who got the message through social networking and at the concert. You can check out a couple of fan filmed videos of that appearance posted below my photos of the concert at Brooklyn Bowl. You can also check out a great version of the new song Being Beige as performed on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.
For those of you who won’t be lucky enough to attend one of the few Smashing Pumpkins concerts currently on schedule, I’ll share video of their recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel where they performed some of their new music:
Here’s a video clip of The Smashing Pumpkins’ surprise acoustic performance at Zia Records in Las Vegas at 1am following their Brooklyn Bowl concert: