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Smashing Pumpkins Concert Review – 12/10/12 – Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY

18 December 2012 14 Comments

By: Andrew

Originally, the Pumpkins’ Brooklyn debut was supposed to happen on Halloween, but Hurricane Sandy had other plans. Subsequent to Sandy, ticket prices were reduced to $25, with a portion going to relief efforts. While I commend those involved for their charitable contributions, the main reason the ticket price was lowered is because sales were extremely poor. Once postponed, the show should have been moved to a smaller venue. In 1996, I saw them headline a sold out Madison Square Garden. In 2008, I saw them booed off the stage at one of their reunion shows in the Bronx. In 2012, it’s large clubs or bust.

The show opened with Oceania being played in its entirety. Great album. But playing it in an arena to a rapidly dwindling fan base? After they finished playing the record, they did a set of – wait for it – classics.

Space Oddity (Bowie Cover)
Tonite Reprise
Tonight, Tonight
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
The Dream Machine


Ava Adore
Cherub Rock

The show was absolutely terrible. Billy Corgan sounded terrible. His band sounded terrible. Billy Corgan looked terrible. His belly hung out the entire set. Never, ever, ever will I waste another second of my time on a Billy Corgan live show.

Note to all: The Smashing Pumpkins put out some tremendous records. If you want to continue to love this band, listen to the recorded material. Stay far away from their live shows and save your money.

My review of the show in one photo…

Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan Barclays Center 12/10/12 Brooklyn, NY
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  • 007 said:

    I was there. I could have wrote this review in one word.


    I grew up on this band and seeing them post 2007 is an absolute disappointing experience.

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  • free-tebow said:

    i went to the show with my gf too and got ga for 25 bucks. cant complaint about that. i feel for those who paid full price though. crowd was dead for the show and the set was depressing.

    i dont comment on this site much but this review is accurate. as short and really without facts as it is, you get the picture (literally) of how it was. just a dreadful show. dreadful, my live dollars going to pumpkins shows are through

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  • hades said:

    I was duped into the $25 tickets too.

    Whatever he had in a live setting is GONE. I’ve been a diehard since 93. Pains me to admit that one of my life favorites is such utter crap now.

    Accurate review.

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  • Carla said:

    What happened to swearing off them after the show in 2008? I heard you rant about that for weeks.

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  • ZERO said:

    I have one issue with “reviews” Andrew writes: they’re all black and white – no shades of grey. For the most part I find them counterproductive and unintelligent. This is different. I was at this show. Like some of the people above me – A FAN OF THE PUMPKINS SINCE I WAS IN 8TH GRADE. This show was deplorable. I had a full price ticket. My friend had the $25 ticket. We should have been paid to attend this snooze fest. Of this era of music in a live setting, the Pumpkins are in a league of their own when it comes to WTF HAPPENED TO THEM?!?!

    That picture you took speaks a million words. Dead on.

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  • gish1 said:

    The show wasn’t that bad. I’ve just lowered my expectations for Billy when he performs. I’m pissed because I had a full price ticket. They should have lowered them for everyone.

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  • RIP DIMEBAG said:


    I was at the 2nd show when he did NYC in 2008. I went to this Bk show because I thought it can’t be that bad. That 2008 show had to be an anomaly. Nope. And I know that’s why he prob went to the Bk show too.

    Listening to him do Disarm could have broken glass that’s how bad it was.

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  • ALL KNOWING FORCE: Andrew Bilach (author) said:


    You’re not the first person to mention this to me. I have been a Smashing Pumpkins fan since Siamese Dream. I decided to give them a second chance after being invited to the show. The show was abysmal, and now that must be relayed and slammed into the heads of the masses. Save your money on their live show, and spend it on their music. You won’t be sorry.

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  • Vernon said:

    TRUTH! I was dragged there and when the show was over I wanted to kill my friend.

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  • Griffin said:

    the show wasn’t that bad, it was just weak but that’s better than what most others put out there. i will agree the sp live show sucks in 2012. still oceana rocked!

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  • Jxnatti said:

    Contrary to commoner opinion, the quality of sound was really good that night, in the shiny new complex, with the exception of one of the
    later Oceania songs in which William just banged on his mistuned tinny Strat
    like a monkey and gave everyone a frontal headache. His drummer, who had kind of a timberlake
    look, was positively shredding. The bass
    and other guitar played well but like they were at the end of a long tour…let’s
    get home and crawl under the sheets for a few weeks.

    Both the big globe visual screen and light show were a total
    bore. I read somewhere it was designed
    by the Pink Floyd guy, who I’m sure wasn’t cheap…waste of money. I don’t think I looked at the video more than
    once. Ooooh, archival footage of a
    missile factory….think deep thoughts about the slightly tangential relationship
    to the music…ooooh a big lonely tree and a starry night sky, how trippy…who
    cares? Maybe it’s because William, with
    his chubby belly hanging out of his too tight tshirt and dramatic rock poses,
    is more interesting to check out. I love
    how coming from the era he does that he clearly worships overproduced rock gods
    like Floyd…at one point during a ballad he even did a pretty decent Waters
    imitation croak. Awesome.

    It was hilariously disconnected how much he talked about
    football. All of the fake artsy fartsies
    were giving me the stink eye earlier for watching Monday night football during
    the opening band, then it turns out William probably was, too. Go cry about it, gloom cookies…its America,
    we love crippling violence.

    While we’re at it though, it was actually bizarre that the
    torch bearer for twisted, obsessive romantic love responded to boos at his
    mention of Tom Brady with “What’s wrong with it? Do well and marry a hot model.” Really, dipshit? That’s what it’s all about? Are we back at the point of admiring Aryan frat
    boys who have been given every opportunity to succeed? Is whatever Brady is doing, “Doing well”? Funny I thought it was about creating beauty
    through your art and finding lasting love and warmth and acceptance.

    Another point about the interlude commentary: the last time I saw this band was in some
    small venue in San Francisco, and I’m pretty sure that like me, nobody cares or
    remembers about New York’s acceptance of SP back in the day. You’re just playing yourself with the whole “doesn’t
    it make more sense now?” thing. Expressions
    like this don’t further your reputation as misunderstood, gifted crank, or ruin
    your mystique… it’s just irritating arrogance.
    At the end of the day you write good songs, have an interesting voice and
    can really play your guitar…let’s leave it at that. If you actually want to get into it, SP probably
    does make more sense now, but it doesn’t have anything to do with you. It’s because back in the day New York wasn’t just
    a corporate run shadow of its former self that eats whatever gets stuffed down
    its bloated throat, it actually had a music scene of its own that didn’t really
    dig your grandiose arrangements. So how
    does it feel that your way of doing the good old rock and roll goes hand in
    hand with late stage corporate capitalism?
    But don’t worry, William, you’re currently winning the battle of you vs.
    Kurt. In 20 years nobody will really remember
    Nirvana and you can still do a farewell tour.

    Oceania is a very good album. I thought so as soon as it came out, and
    still do. And getting to hear it whole
    was awesome, even if the lemmings in the crowd didn’t know any better. Takes balls to play the whole thing front to
    back (another Pink Floyd move, bravo).
    Try that, Soundgarden. I also
    think the newly remastered and expanded Mellon Collie sounds amazing, so
    amazing that the band should release an acoustic version of it and tour small
    venues to promote. Are you listening,

    All in all a good safe arena rock night was had by all. Starting the “dusty old classics” with XYU
    was a heavy, much appreciated choice, and the Bowie cover was sweet as
    well. The “new new” song (Dream Machine)
    they debuted played well, but I would have liked to hear Porcelina and Mayonnaise
    instead. Maybe next time. And the good tshirts were only $20….rock on.

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  • ALL KNOWING FORCE: Andrew Bilach (author) said:


    Great review. I always enjoy reading stuff like this. Goes all over the place.

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  • Andy said:

    Just to offer a different perspective, I saw Smashing Pumpkins (or Pumpkins 3.0 if you prefer) in Portland, ME on 12/1 and couldn’t have asked for a better show from Corgan. By the time Billy (in all of his exposed muffin-top glory) and the gang rolled out, the crowd was game. There was a great turn-out considering the show had only been announced 2 weeks prior and folks didn’t seem to mind the Oceania material in the slightest. By the time the “classic” set was underway, Billy appeared to be in pretty good spirits and it showed. He’s well-known for not wanting to play the hits (see: the 20th Anniversary Tour backlash) but if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he was having a good ol’ trip down memory lane. Save for a lazy performance of Bullet With Butterfly Wings, the songs all sounded just as awesome as they did so many years ago when I heard them the first time — especially “Hummer,” which was absolutely gorgeous. As for the “kids” in the band, I thought Jeff (guitar) and Nicole (bass) really shined. He’s got some real talent behind him, and when Mike (drums) messed up during “Zero,” the band stopped and had a good laugh before starting again. This version of Pumpkins felt and played like a real band with real chemistry.

    I won’t deny you had a bad experience, but maybe Billy is just one of those Axl Rose types who won’t put on a good show if things don’t go exactly his way. If the crowd was lame, it probably came through in his performance. Not making excuses, but it is what it is. As much as I dug Oceania, I didn’t expect much from the show and was surprised by just how solid it was. I can ABSOLUTELY understand why others have completely written him off at this point, seeing as how he’s burnt virtually every bridge connecting him to his peers as well as his audience. He’s a real dick, but a really talented dick.

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  • ALL KNOWING FORCE: Andrew Bilach (author) said:


    I definitely appreciate your difference in opinion.

    The worst show I have ever seen was a Smashing Pumpkins show in 2008. There isn’t a close second. And I’m someone who has seen Saliva, and who has also seen Blackie Lawless play in a 5x football jersey to a backing track. I didn’t mention that too much publicly, because it was like, “Hey, lifelong Pumpkins fan. Not going to drag someone down I’ve followed since I was a kid.” And that show was deflating. Went in on cloud nine, left smacked against the ground.

    This isn’t about negativity or being negative, but enough is enough. I love all his records. I love the Zwan record. I just don’t think in 2012 people should be spending money on Smashing Pumpkins tickets. It’s just not worth the risk.

    Everything you say is on-point. The guy is way too smart for his own good.

    The issue I had with Oceania is that it was played to a somewhat empty arena where tickets were almost being given away. Perhaps Irving Plaza.

    Glad you had a good experience in Portland. Always love reading your stuff.

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