Supporting his second solo album Ogilala, Billy Corgan (now preferring his full name William Patrick Corgan) arrived in San Francisco to perform the first of two nights at the beautiful Herbst Theatre.
The 6′ 3″ Corgan sauntered onto the stage at 8pm, donning what looked an awful lot like a civil war uniform, and began his first set on the piano with “Zowie”. What followed was a rich, nearly flawless execution of Ogilala in its entirety that clearly showcased Corgan’s songwriting abilities. One of the most captivating songs in this set was “Half-Life of an Autodidact”, which absolutely soared and sort of makes you wonder what a full band version might sound like. The live acoustic version hits much harder than the album track.
After completing Ogilala, the crowd dispersed for an intermission before being treated to a whopping 17-song set comprised of Corgan’s past work.
Unlike a Smashing Pumpkins concert, however, the audience had a chance to hear songs that were rarely performed, or haven’t been performed in a while. “Muzzle” sounded fantastic acoustically, as did “Annie-Dog” from 1998’s Adore.
Corgan’s well known cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” was a nice surprise, although possibly a tad fast-paced, and the audience responded very well to a cover of “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.
Clear highlights of the evening were the Smashing Pumpkins tunes “Soma”, “Stand Inside Your Love”, “Tonight Tonight”, and “Spaceboy”.
Overall, the performance was captivating and gorgeous. Billy’s voice was in great shape, and the soundscapes were lush. I personally would have preferred a few more of the Pumpkins’ tunes instead of 3 cover songs (maybe “Galapogos”, or “Thirty-Three”, or “Disarm”… maybe even something like “Rhinoceros”), but the show was certainly enjoyable as-is, and highly recommended if you have a chance to catch the remaining dates.
Photos and review by Clay Lancaster (claylancaster.com)