Grunge/indie pioneers The Smashing Pumpkins brought their unique and pensive brand of rock to Denver’s Ball Arena on November 7th, 2022. Accompanying them was the equally as infamous Jane’s Addiction, and singer songwriter act Poppy who started off the evening.
Fans filled the seats early to catch Jane’s Addiction, a band with a history and roots deeply paralleling the The Smashing Pumpkins. Led by the unstoppable and enigmatic Perry Farrell, the band blazed through a set of hits and a few staples. Noticeably absent was the charismatic axe man, Dave Navarro, who decided to forgo this current tour, as of the tour’s start was still recovering from Covid related complications. Filling in for him was Troy Van Leeuwen of A Perfect Circle and Queens of the Stone Age fame. His presence was more than adequate as he brought his own level of skill and dexterity to the role. In between songs, Perry didn’t disappoint with his brand of quirky banter engaging the crowd at every possible moment. After their short but honed in set, one thing was more than apparent; this band of rockers haven’t lost their edge or appeal as time has gone on. I would have liked to have seen this show as a co headlining tour, giving them a slightly longer set.
After a short intermission, The Smashing Pumpkins exploded onto the stage with “Empires”, a new song from the upcoming three part album, Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts. The first of the three installments is set to be released later in November 2022. The ecstatic crowd didn’t seem to mind one bit as they sang along as if it was an old favorite. Backed by an impressive production, the band quickly segwayed into some old favorites as the night went on. Stopping in between nearly every song, frontman Billy Corgan engaged the crowd telling tales and anecdotes, one even recalling a Denver show almost thirty years ago which Jane’s Addiction frontman and tour mate Perry Farrell came to see the Pumpkins play at a now defunct venue, The Garage, while also in town with his infamous festival Lollapalooza.
After an acoustic number and a jam solo featuring the talents of famed drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Billy’s rhetoric came in for a seamless save as they launched an impromptu and unscheduled older gem while the crew was replacing an amp that went out. All in all the Pumpkins played for an impressive 2 hours, showing that they are in this game for the long haul, and have no plans of slowing down anytime soon. The tour plays through the end of the month, ending in Los Angeles.