The End Times were happening at Irvine Meadows last Thursday night. I would have never really expected that Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson would tour together. With their past historyand the fact that their shows are very different, it was most definitely an odd pairing.
The first headliner was Manson. It was still light out. The sun, unfortunately, had not set for Manson. He came out as expected, with his face painted goth pale and morbid-looking. The stage was decorated with faux Christian iconography but instead of the image of Jesus Christ painted into the fake stained glass it was Manson, the Anti-Christ Superstar. The music was loud, hard and fast, and Marilyn was mesmerizing. Of course along side of him was long-time bassist Twiggy Ramirez who was absolutely stunning as well. Manson played music spanning his career from his first album Portrait of an American Family to his most recent, The Pale Emperor. I stood below him in awe of his performance as I snapped photos continuously and he at one point reached down and grabbed my lens, I thought he was going to take it out of my hands but instead he moved his hand and put his face directly into my lens and looked dead into my lens as I shot. That was pretty exciting. We only had one song to shoot which was unfortunate because his theatrics proved to be 100 percent photo worthy for the entirety of the show. For example, when he did his cover of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)“ he came out in stilts and crutches which gave him somewhat of a demonic-haunted-psycho-ward kinda feel. I was in the stands when I saw this and I was wishing I could have been shooting, but that’s just how it goes.
At the end of Manson’s set he did an encore. A podium was set as if he looked like the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. He rose high on the podium and lit the Holy Bible on fire and then went into the song “Anti-Christ Superstar.” He then ended his set introducing “Beautiful People” by singing Beatles lyrics “how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people.” Manson put on a spectacular show and my only complaint would be that it would have been nice to see him do his act with the sun completely set.
Smashing Pumpkins was up next. They started the set with “Cherub Rock” and after that it was pretty much one hit after another. Unfortunately there was a douche bag behind me complaining that there was nothing but hits being played. He was loud and obnoxious yelling out “just play hits all night long Billy!” He did not just say this one time, he may have said it about five or six times. Man shut the fuck up bro, and enjoy the show and maybe let the people around you enjoy the show instead of listening to your ignorant ass. Who in the hell complains about that?
The Pumpkins’ set, as expected, was a much different set form opening headliner, Marily Manson. Corgan did not interact much with the crowd. He even said “the more I talk, the worse it gets, so we are just going to play music all the way through”. That was cool and all, but I think people would like to hear the artist, especially one as iconic as Corgan. I hate to say it, since I am huge fan of the Pumpkins, but I do feel a little like Corgan was out there just doing a job and making that money. He and the band played fantastically, but at the same time there was a sense of ambivalence from Corgan. I could be wrong but that’s what I felt.
When the Pumpkins left the stage, I watched Corgan as he as he walked off and he made a facial gesture as though he was a bit disappointed, which I think he was. When they came back out for their encore he made note that he noticed all the people who left after “1979,” which I definitely noticed too. Too bad for those people because the Pumpkins ended the show with “Geek U.S.A,” which was unexpected.
I am not sure what was going on with Corgan, I think he may be jaded on the state of music these days, he has been vocal about it lately and I agree with him.
Regardless, Smashing Pumpkins played fantastically, and Jimmy Chamberlain is a mad man on the drum kit. This is definitely a show to see. If you can see the show in another area, you should definitely do it.