Home Live Review Live Review: The Smashing Pumpkins @ Jiffy Lube Live — 8/31/23

Live Review: The Smashing Pumpkins @ Jiffy Lube Live — 8/31/23

Live Review: The Smashing Pumpkins @ Jiffy Lube Live — 8/31/23
The Smashing Pumpkins perform at Jiffy Lube Live on August 31, 2023. (Photo by Marc Shea)

Labor Day weekend kicked off a little early this year In Bristow, Virginia. Thursday night, Jiffy Lube Live played host to iconic alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins on their The World Is A Vampire Tour.

The show started early, with two opening acts, Rival Sons and Interpol.

The lineup for The Smashing Pumpkins has changed over the years. The current touring lineup has remained very consistent. The core remains guitarist and singer Billy Corgan, guitarist  James Iha, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Jeff Schroeder is the third guitarist and “new guy,” even though he’s been an official member since 2006.

Joining the band on tour for the past nine years are Jack Bates on bass and Katie Cole, who sings backup and plays acoustic guitar.

At Jiffy Lube Live on August 31, the band entered the stage to a recording of “Atum” from their latest album and made quite an impact. Billy and James entered as opposites. They walked on from opposite sides of the stage; James wearing a white suit and Billy wearing a black robe. Once Atum ended, the band started the show by blasting into “The Everlasting Gaze” with Billy crying out “YOU KNOW I’M NOT DEAD”!

They kept the intensity going with “Doomsday Clock” and an incredibly heavy cover of Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime.” After three songs that set the energy level for the show, Billy played the familiar opening riff to “Today.” If somehow, anyone in the crowd wasn’t feeling the energy, it changed with that song. The entire crowd started singing immediately and kept it up throughout the entire song. It’s always amazing to hear such a huge group of people singing in unison and dancing around.

Watch the official music video for “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins on YouTube:

“Perfect,” from Adore, followed by “Disarm” progressively slowed the pace down a little, while still keeping the crowd happy. Because you don’t want to wear your audience out, especially when the majority of them aren’t teenagers anymore. After six songs, the band finally played one of their “newer” songs, “The Celestials” from 2012’s Oceania. 

Billy and James are the MCs of the evening. At this point in the show, Billy lets everyone know that his family is touring with the band. But the kids would rather play Nintendo than watch dad at work. In the hierarchy of the Corgan house, it’s Mario first, dad second. And after a few bad jokes (which the band admitted were terrible), the music began again.

“Purple Blood” and “Ava Adore” were a prelude to the next huge crowd pleaser, an acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight” with only Billy and James on acoustic guitars. This was another one where the crowd was almost as loud as Billy. But the energy quickly revved up with the title track of the tour, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” At this point, we got as close to having a mosh pit as we were going to have all night.

“This Time” and “Spellbinding” followed. “Spellbinding” is the first song (and one of just three in the set, not including the pre recorded song, “Atum”) from the latest release Atum. The Smashing Pumpkins like to throw unusual covers in their sets. At this point, they pull out their second of the night and play Manfred Mann’s “Hubble Bubble (Toil And Trouble).” Once again, the band put their spin on it and made it super heavy! Another great thing about seeing The Pumpkins live is that they like to play songs that may not have been hits, but are definite fan favorites — like the burner “Jellybelly.” Songs like this really benefit from the three guitar attack of Billy, James, and Jeff. “Empires,” from Atum was up next, followed by my own personal favorite, “Hummer” from Siamese Dream. This was where Jack Bates really stood out.

After a little bit of banter, the band broke into “Beguiled” from the new album. And Billy’s kids stopped playing Nintendo long enough to come out and dance on stage.

After the kids exited stage right, the band played arguably their most popular song, “1979.” Everyone in the crowd sang along, sang to each other, danced, and felt like they did in 1995. The show closed on a high note with tons of energy. The final two songs were “Cherub Rock” and “Zero.” After “Zero” ended, Billy walked from one side of the stage to the other, waving, throwing picks into the audience, and thanking everyone for coming out. Someone even threw him a cowboy hat, which he toyed with before punting it back into the thinning crowd. There was no encore.

I hadn’t seen The Smashing Pumpkins since Lollapalooza 1994 in Philadelphia. The band has been through some tough times since then. And I love that the setlist was full of songs from every era of the band. It was proof that the band’s music has endured and sounds just as good today as it did in the early ’90s.

The band sounds better than ever. Billy’s voice and approach to the songs, particularly the classic material, are possibly better than the first time I saw them. And the addition of Jeff Schroeder has been invaluable, particularly when it comes to playing some of the more multi-layered songs. And I definitely won’t let another 29 years go by before I see them again.


  • The Everlasting Gaze
  • Doomsday Clock
  • Once In A Lifetime (Talking Heads)
  • Today
  • Perfect
  • Disarm
  • The Celestials
  • Purple Blood
  • Ava Adore
  • Tonight, Tonight
  • Bullet With Butterfly Wings
  • This Time
  • Spellbinding
  • Hubble Bubble (Toil And Trouble) (Manfred Mann)
  • Jellybelly
  • Empires
  • Hummer
  • Beguiled
  • 1979
  • Cherub Rock
  • Zero

And here are some more photos of The Smashing Pumpkins at Jiffy Lube Live on August 31, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here