The devil was out with me and Bob as this was my sixth time seeing A Perfect Circle, I had not seen them since the last time me and Bob saw them at the same venue 6 years ago and 4 + 1 + 1 = 6…Spooky! In all seriousness a lot had changed in 6 years such as the SDSU campus being upgraded, but one thing that had not changed was A Perfect Circle’s discography. There was no new album they were touring behind. Apparently they hope to have a new album out by the end of the year and this tour was to be the catalyst to motivate the band to get it done. Then again that is hearsay and may be wishful thinking on my end.
As per usual me and Bob could care less about the opening band so once we arrived we went in search of beer, which much to our dismay has apparently all but disappeared from the SDSU campus. The only place to get beer was from a single window inside the gates of the actual outdoor venue. As we found out rather quickly there were two lines going to the same window stretched out to either side and wrapped back around. Long story short we waited in line for about 45 minutes and had still not reached the front when the familiar opening of “The Hollow” started up. As much as we like beer we decided that we quite possibly would not be getting any for another 15 to 20 minutes so we abandoned ship and found our seats to make sure not to miss the band we came to see. The band also implemented a very strict no cell phone/camera policy that was being heavily enforced but we did manage to sneak a couple decent pictures from our seats.
Even though the rhythm section of the band (or at least the touring band) had changed, the sheer power and beauty of the songs performed live had not. The songs seemed to have a new relevance to today’s America combined with a timeless quality that all great songs have. Maynard appeared to be in good spirits, cracking jokes about the recent United Airlines debacle. Billy’s guitar prowess was a sight to behold and he sang more than I remember him singing in the past. James Iha got his turn on the microphone between songs and was awkwardly funny. “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” which is essentially a reworked version of “Pet” literally shook the earth. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of their softer songs they performed and even more surprised that “Judith” was not played. The only glimpse of new material we got was “Feathers,” a slower piano driven number that they closed the show with.
SETLIST: The Package, The Hollow, The Noose, Weak and Powerless, Rose, Imagine (John Lennon), Thinking of You, By and Down, Thomas, Peace, Love and Understanding, Magdalena, Vanishing, Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums, Orestes, A Stranger, Blue, The Outsider, Gravity, Feathers
As evidenced by the fact that A Perfect Circle played 10 of the 12 songs off of their 2004 album eMOTIVe, this was essentially a tour that never happened back when the album was new. I had not seen them since 2004 right before I moved from Portland to San Diego about seven months before eMOTIVe came out. The only new music we got to hear was the song “By and Down” that they closed the night with.
Although I respect their reworkings of an eclectic collection of politically charged songs I do not think I am alone in saying that an album of covers is not my favorite A Perfect Circle material. Despite my feelings about eMOTIVe the price of admission was worth its weight in gold when they played “The Noose” and “The Package.”
SETLIST: “Annihilation,” “Imagine,” “Weak and Powerless,” “The Hollow,” “What’s Going On,” “People Are People,” “The Outsider,” “Rose,” “Peace, Love and Understanding,” “When the Levee Breaks,” “The Noose,” “3 Libras,” “The Package,” “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie,” “Magdalena,” “Passive,” “Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm of the War Drums,” “Fiddle And The Drum,” “By and Down”
I had just seen The Offspring about a year before this at the Weenie Roast but now Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace was actually out and they were headlining their own tour. I am fairly certain Bob or his friend from work that went with us scored these tickets for free. I cannot tell you who opened but I can tell you that The Offspring were on point. The energy and performance of the songs were just too contagious to ignore. Then again if you were there voluntarily you were probably not there to avoid it. The highlight for me was right before Dexter played a solo version of “Gone Away” on the piano he played the Charlie Brown theme song. It put a great big smile on my face. I guess you had to be there…oh wait. Lucky for you someone caught it on video and posted it on YouTube so you can pretend you were there too.
SETLIST: “Stuff Is Messed Up,” “Bad Habit,” “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid,” “ Come Out and Play,” “Have You Ever,” “Staring at the Sun,” “Half-Truism,” “Gone Away,” “Fix You,” “Intermission,” “Gotta Get Away,” “All I Want,” “Why Don’t You Get a Job?,” “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?,” “Americana,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Hammerhead,” “Want You Bad,” “Self Esteem”
I had not seen the Smashing Pumpkins since the first time I saw them back in 2000 for free not long before they broke up. After one side project (Zwan), one Billy Corgan solo album (TheFutureEmbrace) and seven years Billy wanted his old band back. The only original member he brought back into the fold was drummer Jimmy Chamberlain and the reunion resulted in the album Zeitgeist that was released less than two months before this show. This was my first concert at the Open Air Theatre at SDSU, a nifty little concrete amphitheater built outside the library on campus.
Shortly after Donna and I arrived Macy’s best friend Esther spotted me, started running towards me from about 20 feet away and jumped into the air, making me catch her. The collective feeling of “what the fuck” from Esther’s husband Carlos, Donna and myself was palpable (Carlos and Esther’s marriage would sadly last less than a year). After that awkward exchange Donna and I found our way to the great seats we had in the lower section of the venue. As per my M O, I sparked up a joint as soon as Smashing Pumpkins hit the stage and as per unspoken rules I puff puff gave the joint to Donna. The problem with having good seats closer to the stage is that you are also closer to multiple security personnel. I apparently had not accounted for all of the security and was immediately caught as the handoff was occurring. Donna was trying to play it cool when the security guard had his flashlight in her face denying that she had anything. After what seemed like an eternity I convinced her to hand it over knowing that if his intention was to kick us out we would already be walking. At least SOMEONE got to smoke the joint that night…
The Pumpkins were good but to be fair I had seen them in what is essentially a bar prior to this and I never really got into Zeitgeist like I had all the previous material. “Tarantula” seemed to be the song that the band was most in sync with each other on so that was quite enjoyable when they all locked into the groove. All in all Billy Corgan is a badass and I will always remember the ONE time I got busted with my joint.
SETLIST: Superchrist, Doomsday Clock, Hummer, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Drown, Bring the Light, That’s the Way (My Love Is), Tonight, Tonight, Tarantula, Glass and the Ghost Children, 1979, To Sheila, United States, Today, Ava Adore, Starla, Heavy Metal Machine/White Rabbit/On the Road Again, Silverfuck/The End, Muzzle