“This is going to be the best concert in Denmark this year!” The audience in Falconer Salen is waiting for the gig to begin, and I’ve been accosted by a super-fan. He’s been seeing them since the nineties. I’m a Pumpkins’ concert virgin. A year after the release of ‘Oceania’, the band’s eighth studio album, Billy Corgan is back in Denmark, and as this faithful disciple demonstrated, expectations are high.
As Corgan took to the mic to give a rendition of ‘Quasar’, the line “God, right on!” suddenly made a lot more sense. He thinks he can provide approval to God because he thinks he is God. Standing at the front of the stage, staring intensely into the audience, a straight faced Corgan is living up to his reputation, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so irritating. The band reached ‘Disarm’ after a no pause blend of opening songs, and I was hoping that the intensity that had accompanied the frontman’s stares would be channelled into this track. I was disappointed. It was a competent rendition, but by no means special. There was something lacking in his performance, and the same went for ‘Tonight, Tonight’ that followed.
Corgan didn’t speak in the first half, with the exception of telling his fans “you can cheer later.” Then, the silence was broken: “We were saying today that the American sense of humor is very ironic, but the Danes don’t get irony,” at which the frontman was booed. So began a long ramble by Corgan, who admitted “the reason I’m talking is because I’m sick and I’m trying to waste time.” That really made me feel special.
If one thing could be said for the rant, it’s that it got some more enthusiasm out of Corgan. However, as the highly self indulgent extended endings, and guitar solos set in (repeatedly), I sort of wished I could have Lacklustre Billy back. Some of us had Metro night buses to catch. In fact, I felt the highlight of the night came in the form of the first encore track, Billy and Nicole’s acoustic performance of ‘The Celestials’. Finally, I heard Corgan’s daemons.