By Colette Custin
The Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction gave Chicago a double-header of ‘90s alt-rock at the United Center on Saturday night, proof of the lasting power and impact of that generations most exciting and unique bands.
Jane’s Addiction took the stage and immediately set the energy level to eleven on a ten scale with the majestic “Up the Beach” leading into “Whores” and “Ocean Size.” Frontman Perry Ferrell looks like he hasn’t aged a day, and while founding guitarist Dave Navarro was certainly missed, the multi-talented Troy Van Leeuwen made for a solid presence alongside bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins. Ferrell offered well wishes to the people of Ukraine, waxed poetic on his love of trucker hats, and ended the hour-long set with a fantastic version of “Mountain Song” into “Been Caught Stealing,” telling the crowd to ‘go home and f**k the s**t out of each other.” Almost forty years into their career, Jane’s Addiction remain a musical celebration of hedonism and freedom.
The Pumpkins are in the midst of a huge creative period, with the triple album ATUM set for release this year and next in three parts. New songs like opener “Empires” (a massive-sounding riff that called to mind their ‘90s heyday) and single “Beguiled” offered a taste of what’s to come, and “Beguiled” saw Corgan’s two children come onstage to dance as the band looked on with amusement. A bizarre, thunderous cover of the Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime” and the rarely played “I Of the Mourning” were highlights featuring Corgan’s excellent guitar work on full display, and the massive stage complete with a giant ‘north star’ and twinkling backdrop was a perfect set piece for an acoustic “Tonight Tonight” and the discotheque visuals of “Cyr.” The Pumpkins managed to hit on just about every era, and Siamese Dream’s “Silverfuck” (featuring Frank Catalano on saxophone) was a stunning end to an epic night.