The Smashing Pumpkins perform at Capital One Arena on Oct. 18, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / @kgustafson)
The Spirits on Fire Tour featuring The Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction paid visit to Capital One Arena last week featuring two bedrocks of the ’90s alternative rock scene taking different approaches to their sets.
At Capital One Arena on Oct. 18, headliners Smashing Pumpkins, led by alt-rock curmudgeon Billy Corgan, were ostensibly promoting their upcoming triple album, Atum, which is being released in three phases with Act 1 arriving on Nov. 15. The band’s set featured four new songs from Atum, “Beguiled,” “Empires,” “Harmageddon,” and “Neophyte.” “Beguiled” is out on your streaming service of choice, and it’s the best thing Corgan and Co. have done in years.
Watch the official music video for “Beguiled” by The Smashing Pumpkins on YouTube:
The aforementioned “Empires” led off the night and was quickly followed by “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “Today” had the capacity crowd all on their feet. The next phase of the show was more for the hardcore fans and the energy in the venue dragged a bit when the band played a gothy cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” and the industrial-sounding tracks “Eye” and “Ava Adore.” However, a heartfelt acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight” by Billy and guitarist James Iha was a nice change of pace and got everyone’s attention back.
A late set 1-2-3 punch of “Cherub Rock,” “Zero,” and “1979” showed the breadth of the Pumpkins sound and returned the crowd’s energy level to 10/10 for the final few songs.
All in all, not a bad performance (certainly better than their somewhat stodgy 2019 show at Merriweather) that showed Billy Corgan still has things to say that are worth hearing.
One thing Billy Corgan has been very good at recently is choosing excellent openers for his tours. In 2016 for Billy’s “Plainsong” tour he brought Liz Phair and in 2019 Noel Gallagher did the honors. This time around it was Jane’s Addiction, a band that somehow I had never seen. I still regret not seeing their 2009 NINJA co-headlining show at Merriweather with Nine Inch Nails but I unsuccessfully tried to see the Beastie Boys in Baltimore that night.
I did not have high expectations for their set, especially with Dave Navarro’s absence due to long covid (get well soon, Dave!) but I could not have been more wrong. Perry Farrell and Co. sounded brilliant and aside from one cover, stuck to material released before 1991. Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen filled in at guitar and with all respect to Navarro, he fit in seamlessly and you’d have never known this was his first tour with the band.
We got all the band’s best known songs, “Ocean Size,” “Mountain Song,” “Stop!,” Been Caught Stealing” and of course, “Jane Says.”
Watch the official music video for “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction on YouTube:
Perry Farrell’s voice was magnificent and the rhythm section of bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins supplied the tribal beats and basslines that propel the band. The 10-minute epic “Three Days” was a particular highlight and a song I’ve waited decades to hear live.
Here are photos of Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction performing at Capital One Arena on Oct. 18, 2022. All photos copyright and courtesy of Kyle Gustafson.
Smashing Pumpkins set:
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
We Only Come Out at Night
Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads cover)
Stand Inside Your Love
I of the Mourning
Jen’s Addcition set:
Up the Beach
Ain’t No Right
Slice of Life (Bauhaus cover)
Ted, Just Admit It…
Been Caught Stealing