TVD Live Shots: Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and AFI
at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/17

Smashing Pumpkins singer, Billy Corgan fell ill right before the band’s performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night. Luckily for those in attendance world-famous vampire, Nosferatu was on site to fill in for the ailing singer. If not for his long fingers, sharp teeth, and creamy pale skin, the vampire would’ve been an odd stand-in for Corgan, but things seemed to work out just fine as the crowd were none the wiser to have the doppelgänger center stage.

Buffoonery aside, it was 9:25 when the Smashing Pumpkins took the pavilion stage in the woodlands of Columbia, Maryland. Billy Corgan—the real Billy Corgan—and his re-united Pumpkins, (James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin) must have been eager to play because I can’t recall any artist at the pavilion appearing on stage even one minute early for their set.

Prior to the Pumpkins taking their places on stage, the atmosphere had been set with dramatic stage props put in place; three striking Matryoshka dolls that stretched to the upper ceiling lights of the pavilion.

Reunited with guitar player extraordinaire Iha and drummer Chamberlin for this tour, the band is almost completely reformed. The only missing element is D’arcy Wretzky. the founding bass player, whose relationship with Corgan has been one of a “he-said, she-said” for as long as I can recall.

Opening their set with “Today” from 1993’s Siamese Dream, The Smashing Pumpkins played roughly a 90-minute set that spanned their catalog and of course showcased their many hits—”Solara” and “Zero,” with a sullen version of “Disarm” following. Later the classics “Ava Adore,” “1979,” “Tonight, Tonight” and “Cherub Rock.”

The band I was most excited to see on this particular tour was Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Added to the tour to presumably round out a ’90s feel, I thought it was an odd pairing as Gallagher’s star somewhat outshines the Smashing Pumpkins on just about every level. But here we are, and I’m quite glad Noel was indeed there.

One thing I always look forward to is a Noel Gallagher performance. His sound is always a different animal in a live setting versus his studio recordings, and it’s a thrill to watch him work. His music shines and that’s when Gallagher is at his best.



Smashing Pumpkins Setlist:
Knights of Malta
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Fire and Rain (James Taylor Cover)
Ava Adore
Tonight, Tonight
Blue Skies Brings Tears
Cherub Rock
The Aireplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)
Sarabande (Handel)

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Setlist:
Fort Knox
Holy Mountain
Keep On Reaching
It’s a Beautiful World
She Taught Me How to Fly
Black Star Dancing
This is the Place
Wonderwall (Oasis)
Little by Little (Oasis)
Stop Crying Your Heart Out (Oasis)
Don’t Look Back in Abger (Oasis)
All You Need Is Love (Beatles Cover) (Oasis)

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