The Smashing Pumpkins•Stone Temple Pilots•Rival Sons• August 1, 2023• USANA Amphitheatre
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
The Smashing Pumpkins started off August by putting on an epic performance at USANA Amphitheatre. They were supported by Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons. Those in attendance were treated to an unforgettable show, with iconic hits ringing out through the night. Fans of the band had the chance to relive their favorite moments and create some truly smashing memories.
As the crowd eagerly awaited The Smashing Pumpkins to take the stage, they were treated to two outstanding opening acts: Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons. These talented bands set the perfect tone for the night. Getting the audience hyped up and ready for an unforgettable concert experience.
Rival Sons took the stage first, bringing their own electrifying performance. They showcased their unique blend of blues rock and soulful vocals. Their raw energy and tight musicianship had the crowd dancing and cheering. From the moment they started playing, it was clear that they were there to leave a lasting impression. Songs like “Do Your Worst” and “Pressure and Time” had the audience completely captivated, with their catchy hooks and infectious rhythms.
Stone Temple Pilots followed, bringing their signature sound and energetic performance. They played a mix of their classic hits and newer tracks, pleasing both long-time fans and newcomers. Scott Weiland’s absence was definitely felt, but Jeff Gutt’s powerful vocals did justice to the band’s iconic songs. Their set was filled with high-energy moments, with the crowd singing along to favorites like “Plush” and “Interstate Love Song”. Overall, the opening acts set the bar high for the night, delivering performances that left everyone wanting more. Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons proved to be the perfect warm-up acts for The Smashing Pumpkins. Ensuring that the energy in the amphitheater was high.
The moment the lights dimmed and the intro music started playing, it was clear that The Smashing Pumpkins were about to take us on a nostalgic journey. From the very first chords of “Today,” the crowd erupted in excitement, instantly transported back to the 90s when alternative rock ruled the airwaves.
The setlist was a carefully crafted blend of old favorites and hidden gems that only true fans would recognize. As each song played, it felt like a time machine whisking us away to different moments in the band’s illustrious career. “1979” brought back memories of lazy summer days, while “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” reminded us of the angst and rebellion of our teenage years.
But it wasn’t just the hit singles that had fans cheering. The Smashing Pumpkins also treated us to some really interesting covers. Songs like “Once In A Lifetime” by The Talking Heads and “Hubble Bubble (Toil and Trouble)” by Manfred Mann. These covers resonated with longtime fans who seemed to really enjoy hearing them live. Overall, the setlist was a trip down memory lane. Evoking a sense of nostalgia and reminding us why we fell in love with the band in the first place.
The production value of The Smashing Pumpkins concert at the USANA Amphitheatre was nothing short of spectacular. From the moment the band took the stage, it was clear that they had put a lot of thought into creating a visually stunning experience for their fans.
The lights, effects, and visuals that accompanied each song were truly mesmerizing. As the band launched into “Tonight, Tonight,” the stage was bathed in a soft, ethereal glow, perfectly capturing the dreamlike quality of the song.
As the tempo picked up and the guitars blared, the lights transformed into a pulsating sea of colors, creating a dynamic and electrifying atmosphere. The production team truly deserves recognition for their impeccable work. The attention to detail and the seamless integration of lighting effects elevated The Smashing Pumpkins’ performance to another level. It was a feast for the eyes, adding an extra layer of excitement and immersiveness to an already incredible concert experience.
Billy Corgan’s voice and stage presence was nothing short of mesmerizing. From the moment he stepped on stage, he commanded the audience’s attention with his powerful vocals and magnetic energy. His unique vocal range and distinctive tone filled the amphitheater, immersing everyone in the raw emotions of each song. Corgan’s stage presence was equally captivating. With his signature bald head and enigmatic presence, he exuded an aura of mystery and intensity. He moved across the stage with purpose, connecting with fans in every corner of the venue. Whether he was playing the guitar or taking center stage, his commanding presence demanded the audience’s full attention.
But it wasn’t just Corgan’s vocal prowess and stage presence that made an impact. It was the emotional depth he brought to each song. Whether he was belting out the anthemic “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” or delivering the hauntingly beautiful “Disarm,” his performance was filled with genuine emotion and vulnerability. Every word he sang resonated with the audience, leaving a lasting impression Corgan’s voice and stage presence were truly the heart and soul of The Smashing Pumpkins’ performance. He captivated the audience, transporting us into the depths of his songs and leaving us in awe of his talent. It was a true testament to his artistry and why he continues to be one of the most revered frontmen in rock history.
It was great to see original Pumpkins members, guitarist, James Iha, and drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin. Iha made us laugh with some of his stage banter with frontman Billy Corgan. He mentioned that the band formed 36 years ago. “That’s a long time.” Then Iha joked that he was going to do a rap about it. He followed with, “I’m old as hell. 36 years makes me feel, old as hell.” And that was it. It was pretty funny. There were several moments like that and the crowd ate it up. And of course, they sounded great. It was good to see them together playing again. And while it would be cool to one day see D’Arcey Wretzky play with The Smashing Pumpkins again, I really enjoy Katie Cole’s contribution to the touring lineup. I think she sounds great and brings a strong presence to the stage.
The Smashing Pumpkins concert at USANA Amphitheatre was filled with special moments and unexpected surprises that left the audience in awe. From intimate interactions with the crowd to unexpected covers, to all the favorites, the concert was full of exciting moments that elevated the overall experience.
The Everlasting Gaze
Once in a Lifetime
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Hubble Bubble (Toil and Trouble)