REVIEW: Jane’s Addiction and The Smashing Pumpkins at Fiserv Forum

The Smashing Pumpkins

Fiserv Forum hosted Jane’s Addiction and The Smashing Pumpkins as part of their Spirits on Fire Tour on Sunday night.

Jane’s Addiction consists of vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro (although Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age filled in on guitar for this tour), bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins. Formed in 1985, the Los Angeles-based rockers are considered to be pioneers of alternative rock and metal in the 1990’s. They were named for a housemate of Farrell’s at the time; Jane’s Addiction are notable for founding the Chicago music festival Lollapalooza in 1991, which was originally supposed to be a farewell tour.

Their debut studio album “Nothing’s Shocking” was released in 1988 for which they toured with both Iggy Pop and Ramones. Sophomore album “Ritual de lo Habitual” came out in 1990, followed by compilation album “Kettle Whistle” in 1997 that contained live, alternate and unreleased tracks with a couple songs featuring Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. Their third record “Strays” was released in 2003, then they went on a four-year hiatus, and fourth record “The Great Escape Artist” came out in 2011.

The band’s set on Sunday consisted of four “Ritual de lo Habitual” songs, three “Nothing’s Shocking” songs, two songs from their eponymous 1987 live album, and one song from “Kettle Whistle” (the title track, which was their first time playing it in 21 years). Jane’s Addiction’s most popular songs – “Jane Says”, “Mountain Song”, “Been Caught Stealing” – all got played, which had to have been nostalgic for anyone who grew up listening to alternative radio.

The Smashing Pumpkins is vocalist-guitarist Billy Corgan, guitarist Jimmy Iha, touring bassist Jack Bates, touring multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Katie Cole, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain. Formed in Chicago in 1988, the band’s densely layered style received acclaim in the 1990’s for incorporating a diverse palette of gothic rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, grunge, dream pop elements plus more into their sound.

The Pumpkins’ first two albums were produced by Butch Vig. Debut album “Gish” was released in 1991; the record’s sound attempted to find balance between heaviness and dreaminess. Their second album “Siamese Dream” came out in 1993 and was their mainstream breakthrough album, containing some of the band’s most well-known songs including “Today”, “Cherub Rock”, and “Disarm” although its recording process was notoriously rigorous. In 1995, Corgan wrote over 50 songs, 28 of which would become the band’s 1995 double album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” which earned them seven Grammy nominations and was certified Diamond by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). “Mellon Collie” themed around on youth, life and death and included more of the band’s greatest hits such as “Tonight, Tonight”, “1979”, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “Zero.” In 1998, the Pumpkins’ next album “Adore” took them in a darker direction with electronica elements without a permanent drummer at the time. Following their two “Machina” albums released in 2000, the band broke up that year and its members would pursue other projects for a while. They reformed in 2007 and would release seventh album “Zeitgeist” in 2008, eighth album “Oceania” in 2012, ninth album “Monuments to an Elegy” in 2014, tenth album “Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.” in 2018, and eleventh album “CYR” in 2020. The Smashing Pumpkins’ upcoming twelfth album “Atum: A Rock Opera” will be released in three parts with eleven songs total.

The band’s set for this tour has remained largely unchanged; they’re playing a lot of old songs with a few recent ones mixed in all in mostly the same order each show. On Sunday they played five “Mellon Collie” songs, three “Siamese Dream” songs, a couple from their upcoming album, and various other tunes from across their discography plus a cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” Closing their set was “Silverfuck” from “Siamese Dream” for which they were joined by guitarist Michael Angelo Batio.

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