The Smashing Pumpkins are back in Oz, touring ten cities across the country. I’ve been a fan since the mid 1990’s and fell in love with Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness albums back in the day.

Playing in an industrial shed at PICA Port Melbourne on Saturday night, for their World is a Vampire Tour, the band opened to a resounding cheer from a packed crowd. Standing there took me back in time, and instantly made me acutely aware that I, and my Gex X counterparts and millennials alike, have aged. Especially when Corgan reminded the crowd they have been around 35 years. Dressed in a tunic that partially embodied a futuristic vampire, Corgan brought spades of energy that kept the fans going. The moment the words, “the world is a vampire”, left Corgan’s lips, the crowd knew what was coming and sang, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” in unison.

Current members include Billy Corgan, (lead vocals and guitar), James Iha, (guitar), Jimmy Chamberlain, (drums), and Jeff Schroeder (bass guitar). Corgan was happy to be back in Australia and both Corgan and Iha thanked the audience for coming out.

Opening for the band were a mix of local and international acts including wrestling from Billy Corgan’s establishment National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Corgan owns and promotes NWA which he purchased in 2017. Other than the Pumpkins, highlight for me was watching Jane’s Addiction. Lead singer, Perry Farrell embodies all that is a rock star and watching the band sing crowd favourite, “Caught Stealing” was phenomenal.

Between the periodic strobe lighting, the synthetic sounds and long psychedelic riffs, I almost felt like I was in a trance and lulled into Corgan’s sphere. It was all encompassing and almost transported me back to the festivals I attended in the mid 1990’s. The Smashing Pumpkins have that effect and their poetic lyrics have a way of engulfing you. That’s the power of music.

“Tonight, Tonight,” “Today”, “1979” and “Zero” were among the hits and each song further showcased the bands’ prowess as storytellers and musicians. Corgan joked that Iha went viral singing a song about chicken salt, (which most Australians love) and throughout the evening gave each member their time to shine. Just as quickly as they appeared on stage, the band said their goodbyes, thanking the audience. My only disappointment was there was no encore, and with that my dream to hear “Disarm” live left with the band. Nonetheless, a memorable evening with a band I grew up with.