Three dates into the newly unveiled Us + Them World Tour, Roger Waters brought the epic political spectacle to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. The tour has received widespread publicity for its intense scrutiny of President Donald Trump.
Kansas City’s date featured several people reportedly walking out with middle fingers raised during Animals song “Pigs (Three Different Ones).” There was only one noticeable walkout in St. Louis, as an attendee raised a Trump yard sign as he was peacefully escorted out. Waters noted towards the show’s end that, “Some morons suggested we might not receive a very warm welcome here in St. Louis, but we have received a very warm welcome. It means a great deal to us.”
For the first time in my adult life, Waters is not touring behind a classic Pink Floyd album, but rather had put together a set that blends expertly with a few songs off of his rock release since 1992 album, Amused to Death, titled Is This the Life We Really Want? The new songs blend seamlessly, which is great news for fans of Pink Floyd. “Smell the Roses” and “The Last Refugee” particularly stood out.
The stage is intense and perfect. The screen is as large as the famous wall from his last tour when assembled. There were some staging issues that arose before the St. Louis show. The large screen that stretched over the middle portion of the crowd during “Dogs” and “Pigs (Three Different Ones) apparently malfunctioned during rehearsals, so a decision was made to take it down to avoid any potential crowd danger issues.
At the end of the day, it didn’t matter. The stage was stunningly executed, the sound was PERFECT, and the crowd returned the love sent to it. As the iconic pyramid was formed from lasers during “Comfortably Numb” it finally hit me how surreal of a moment I was actually in. As two giant hands on the screen finally connected and an explosions of confetti with the word, “Resist” printed on them rained from the sky, a sense of connectivity washed over the crowd. Political messaging aside, this was a night that brought together Waters collective discography and (almost) everyone in the room.
“Another Brick in the Wall”
For the past two years, I couldn’t help but wonder aloud why Billy Corgan had brought the Smashing Pumpkins back to be ridiculed, and insulted.
The band released Zeitgeist in 2007 and left fans feeling the same way. It’s not that the CD was awful, just that it wasn’t that good, and it certainly wasn’t a reunion featuring fan favorites James Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky.
Billy Corgan has often been accused of just bringing the band back for a quick cash grab before leaving again. I, however am back on the Pumpkins ship.
After their return to St. Louis on November 26th, all my faith in Billy, and whoever he chooses to put around him, has been restored.
The band was of course fashionably late, coming on stage around fifteen minutes after scheduled start time, to the roaring guitar strums of one of the better songs off of Zeitgeist, “Tarantula”.
Jimmy Chamberlin’s drumming immediately showed it’s as strong as ever, and he continues to be the only stabilizing feature of the Pumpkins, and Billy Corgan’s other musical half.
New bass player Ginger Reyes then dove into one of the heaviest Pumpkins bass lines in a very long time on new single, “G.L.O.W.” The song is a driving force that distinctively proves that Corgan is as capable as ever as a hit producing front man.
“Siva” came next featuring the first of many “jam” moments of the night, almost as a reminder in case anyone had forgotten that Corgan still knows how to play a blistering guitar solo.
The hits seemingly were on a never ending streak, continuing with “Eye” and “Tonight, Tonight”, but this was the groups first return to St. Louis since the reunion two years ago, and eight years since their last visit overall, so maybe he was trying to make up for the absence.
Many dates on the “20th Anniversary Tour” have received less than glowing reviews, as Corgan often seems perturbed with the crowd as he goes off on a twenty minute cover of Pink Floyds “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, which goes over less than swimmingly with fans hoping for actual Pumpkins songs.
As it turned out, that song would end this show as well to the usual reaction, but not before a set list full of classics, which even featured Corgan pulling out an acoustic guitar for his cover of “Landslide” originally performed by Fleetwood Mac.
The band covered over two and a half hours, which was actually cut a little bit shorter than other dates on the tour due to Corgan having a persisting cold.
Corgan seemed in great spirits, maybe it was the cold medicine, even at one point telling the crowd a story about how he wrote “Disarm” underneath the arch at 6 a.m. one morning, though of course that wasn’t true.
At the end of though show, though some were disillusioned by the Floyd cover song, it was clear that the Smashing Pumpkins seem to back on the right track.
With thundering new songs like “As Rome Burns”, mostly instrumental “Superchrist” and “G.L.O.W.”, as well as a astounding lineup that seems to be growing well together, here’s hoping the next CD will hopefully continue the good feelings everyone left with after the show.