Smashing Pumpkins – Live At Manchester Academy 1993 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Following their mainstream breakout of 1992, Smashing Pumpkins were on a roll. With their second album, Siamese Dream debuting at number 10 on the Billboard charts and selling well over 4 million copies in the U.S. alone, the band were poised to cross into the big leagues. Despite a lot of problems within the band, namely drummer Jimmy Chamberlain‘s drug problems, and an album that went way over time and budget, the success made up for at least some of the discord happening.
This 1993 recording puts them in the middle of a one of the many tours the band embarked on to keep the momentum going. During this time, their mainstream success managed to alienate some of the die-hard members of the audience as well as certain members within the Independent community. And rather than cheer the success for the band, some chose to make snarky comments about Smashing Pumpkins “selling out”. But more than that, the discord which was developing between members of the band had become glowingly apparent during the recording of Siamese Dream, with some reports in the Independent press claimed founder, guitarist and vocalist Billy Corgan had turned into a tyrant, and was making life for the rest of the band members miserable. The fact of the matter was, that Billy Corgan was suffering a serious bout of clinical depression which, at times, bordered on suicide.
It didn’t prevent the Independent Press from taking shots at Corgan, nor did it prevent supporters from coming to the band’s defense. However, in one review, praising Siamese Dream as a significant album, producer Steve Albini wrote a scathing letter in rebuttal to a good review, saying the band had evolved into a hybrid of R.E.O. Speedwagon, and was no longer significant in the grand scheme of things. It triggered off a feud between Corgan and the Indie Press.
So this concert signals a change in attitude for the band and a change of fortunes. Their mainstream success would carry them into 1997 when the first of several breakups, reunions and personnel changes would begin.
Still, an important band that epitomized America’s Indie scene in the 1990s.