Garbage & Smashing Pumpkins

8 August 2019

The lights increasingly dimmed at the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts. The crowd, as if an approaching wave, gradually let out cheers, whistles, and claps, until outstepped the performers: Garbage. Loud alternative music came blaring out of the giant sub-woofers, literally vibrating through the floor and through my body. Brandishing a microphone, Shirley Manson strutted across the stage, encouraging more screams. Eagerly, my friends and I listened and swayed to the opening band in our seats. Then, after performing most of their CD and their claim-to-fame song, “Only Happy When it Rains,” Shirley bade us farewell and walked across and off the stage as if on a model’s catwalk. The lights grew dimmer again, and the members of the feature band, Smashing Pumpkins, walked across the stage. Billy Corgan wore the shirt that I had purchased before the show – a black long-sleeved shirt with the word “ZERO” written in bold silver letters, with a silver star underneath. The floor seemed to shake as we all got to our feet at once, applauding. Smiling and gripping his electric guitar, Billy struck the first chord and started singing “Zero.” The curtain behind the band suddenly lifted, revealing a black metal jungle gym shaped mountain of colored lights that glowed and shot beams out over the sea of spectators. Two white screens showed pictures of a pulsing, blinking eye, as the words to their opening song could be heard echoing throughout the stadium: “Emptiness is loneliness and loneliness is cleanliness and cleanliness is Godliness and God is empty just like me …” I cheered with the rest of the screaming crowd, and basked in the satisfaction of knowing that we were merely yards away from the eccentric Billy Corgan – the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins. The music pulsed through my entire body. This volume and intensity rebounded through my ears and head, throwing my hearing in and out of working order. The rest of the night was spent dancing, bouncing, and singing along with the song,s mostly off of their newest CD, “Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” But, unfortunately, all good times must end. The band walked off stage and was gone for about ten minutes while the people grew uneasy and loud, calling for them to retum. Finally, they walked back, followed by a rather large man dressed in a green shiny suit with wings on his back and white fluff on his stomach. Billy Corgan took the microphone and announced that this was “Jimmy the Frog.” Billy explained that “Jimmy” was going to go around and pick people to dance on stage for the last song. The green thing returned with three teenage girls and a man dressed up in a cow costume. Taking his guitar once again, Billy strummed the strings and sang the words to “1979” as the old music video for the song played on the giant screens overhead. My friends and I sang along to this final song and wondered if anything as cool as this would ever happen to the three of us again

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