Riding High on Nostalgia at the Smashing Pumpkins Concert

Riding High on Nostalgia at the Smashing Pumpkins Concert


It’s not completely out of character for me to feel emotionally overtaken at a concert. Music therapy is something I rely on, and seeing the Smashing Pumpkins live at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday night was not only a restorative experience, it was meaningful reminder of what life is all about.

When I listen to a band like Smashing Pumpkins, my subconscious always takes me back to a certain time and place from my adolescent life. The intensity of their music in particular makes it easy to go back to that place. With my eyes soaked in the same deep shade of black eye shadow I used to rock in high school, I was riding high on nostalgia at this concert; a mood I assume everyone in the audience was feeling.

Seeing a band I love in concert does something special to me – it connects me to myself. The memories I have listening to the Pumpkins’ version of Landslide for instance, are fulfilling reminders of the changes I’ve been through. The performance comforted me as I thought about getting through the transformations I’m enduring at my current age. It also made me think about the people closest to me. The song is telling, and deeply reminiscent of the relationships I adore.

Tonight, Tonight is another one of those emotionally connective songs for me. As I stated above, the lyrics and the attitude of the song represent the perfect cocktail of here and now. As a teen full of angst sitting in my treehouse blasting this song through my walkman, it made me feel like I was going to be alright. It had the same effect on me that night, which just goes to show the staying power of music.

Believe in me
That life can change
That you’re not stuck in vain
We’re not the same
We’re different

The big screen visuals really made this concert pop for me. They represented the spirit of the Smashing Pumpkins, and kind of gave us a look into what’s really going on in Billy Corgan’s head. It proved to be more than just a rock concert; it was a night full of emotions both from the reunited band and the fans who were living up every second of it. I was kind of freaked out by how I reacted to the performance of Stand Inside Your Love. I believe I had some sort of out-of-body experience when I was swaying along to what felt like a 20 minute guitar riff. Rhinoceros was also an intense moment for me. I used to watch that music video on repeat in high school, and now I was seeing it live.

Photos by RKH IMAGES


The three other tributes of the night included David Bowie’s Space Oddity, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and Baby Mine by Betty Noyes. The stage visuals looked their most impressive during these tributes. The only song I was upset about missing was XYU. I could have used an intense headbanging session. Other stand-out moments for me were obviously during the most memorable hits: Bullet with Butterfly Wings1979, Today and Disarm. It felt like collectively as an audience we never left the 90s, and it kind of made me wish we never did. I was thankful I got to relive a little bit of how I felt during that time of my life.

I loved hearing songs I had never heard before at this concert. Admittedly I wasn’t exactly a die-hard fan of Smashing Pumpkins growing up, but I do understand the band and why so many feel obsessed with their music. The songs I didn’t know were interesting enough to keep my groove going strong for the three-hour set. I thought it was wonderful that they played so many of their songs from a variety of their most beloved albums. It was cool to be sprinkled in with the super fans dressed in their vintage tour t-shirts who were clearly obsessed with this band — something that was most noticeable when we all screamed “let me out” together at the top of our lungs during Cherub Rock.

I am really happy that most of the original members of the Smashing Pumpkins reunited for this tour. An insane amount of bands these days just refuse to do so. Whether it’s because of personal differences, money or ego, it’s a depressing pill to swallow for music obsessed freaks like me. I felt very connected to the messages their performances were spewing out. The music they make are about growing up, going through changes and understanding the reasons for it. Life is all about the relationships we have with other people. It made me grateful for them, and excited for my life to grow alongside them, and this concert experience made me dwell on that fact like no other.

Featured photos are by RKH IMAGES. See them all here: 

PHOTOS: The Smashing Pumpkins at Xcel (August 19, 2018)