HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Concert Reviews:
Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher blend past and present at DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019

» See more SOUND CHECK

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Back in 1995, Smashing Pumpkins and Noel Gallagher's Oasis released two of the biggest albums of the year -- the former's Diamond-certified "Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" and the latter's four-times platinum "(What's the Story) Morning Glory."

So there was plenty of nostalgia involved when the Pumpkins and Gallagher's High Flying Birds (along with AFI) teamed up for a show Wednesday night, Aug. 14, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. But the takeaway was that, heritage aside, the two acts remain potent and productive, as exciting to see and hear now as they've ever been -- even if their commercial appeal has diminished over the years, to the tune of a barely one-third full house on Wednesday.

Gallagher in particular is living decidedly in the present. Following AFI's powerful but brief half-hour set, the singer-guitarist and his 10-piece High Flying Birds -- including Charlotte Morionneau, who played scissors on "She Taught Me to Fly," and John Rutherford and Keith Kaminski of Detroit's Motor City Horns -- powered through an hour-long set that leaned primarily on the group's latest album, 2017's "Who Built the Moon?," as well as this year's trio of EPs. The blend of Gallagher's Britpop roots and propulsive EDM remained a good fit, with rock-steady drummer Chris Sharrock pushing the ensemble through tracks such as "Black Star Dancing," "This is the Place" and "Beautiful World."

But Gallagher is the Oasis guy, after all -- as well as a Manchester City soccer club fan, with a team placard by his amplifiers. After thanking the DTE crowd "for sticking with us" through the newer material he traipsed down Memory Lane with "Wonderwall," a soaring "Little By Little," a majestic "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" and "Don't Look Back in Anger" -- quipping after the latter that, "I can see a few of you going, 'Oh, f***, it's that guy!" The Beatles' "All You Need is Love" rounded the set out nicely, nodding to a personal philosophy as well as another piece of Gallagher's musical past.

The Pumpkins, meanwhile, came in with a tall order of having to follow a 30th anniversary show just a year ago at Little Caesars Arena -- an epic and opulent, not mention exhausting, three-hour-plus celebration. That made Wednesday's 90-minute show feel like a sneeze in comparison, but it also worked to the sextet's benefit, with plenty of hits laced throughout the 17-song set and an amiable, appreciative demeanor from frontman Billy Corgan (looking like a Sikh Gru captaining the Nebuchadnezzar) along with some dry wit, and a spot-on impersonation of Paul Stanley of Kiss, from guitarist James Iha.

Boasting a three-guitar attack and performing in front of a trio of giant, colorful marionettes, the Pumpkins also nodded to its present, pulling "Solara" and "Knights of Malta" early in the set from last year's "Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1..." album. It made some deep digs into the catalog, too, for material such as "Eye," "G.L.O.W.," "Blue Skies Bringing Tears" and "Superchrist." And while Its teched-up recasting of "Ava Adore" never really took off, an electrified, anthemic arrangement of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" was revelatory and audacious.

And no Pumpkins fan could ask for much more than a bomber's run of late-show favorites that included "1979," "Tonight, Tonight" and "Cherub Rock" before the group wrapped with a molten "The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)." The group's short game proved to be as good as its long, and there was the "Adore"ation from the DTE crowd was well placed on Wednesday.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration