Smashing Pumpkins Play '1979' at Their Farewell Gig - Rolling Stone
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Smashing Pumpkins Play ‘1979’ in 2000

Watch Billy Corgan’s final performance with James Iha

After a couple of warmup shows with partial lineups, the Smashing Pumpkins played their first ever concert at Chicago’s Cabaret Metro on October 5th, 1988. Twelve years and two months later, they returned to the 1,100-capacity club for their grand farewell. The emotional thirty-eight song set featured guest appearances by Cheap Trick‘s Rick Nielsen, Matt Walker, The Frogs and Billy Corgan’s father, Billy Corgan, Sr.

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Billy Corgan was a little unclear about his motivation for splitting up the Pumpkins back in 2000, though he did mutter they were “tired of fighting with the Britney’s” in one radio interview. A little over three years later, he spilled his guts in a long blog post. “The truth of the matter is is that James Iha broke up the Smashing Pumpkins,” he wrote. “Not me, not Jimmy [Chamberlin], but James. . . did it help that D’arcy [Wretzky] was fired for being a mean spirited drug addict, who refused to get help? No, that didn’t help keep the band together, not at all.”

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Billy Corgan reformed the Smashing Pumpkins with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and new musicians in 2006, but the Metro show still marks the final time he performed anywhere with James Iha. “[Iha] thanked D’arcy on stage,” Corgan wrote in 2004. “But not the two men standing next to him. . . and I was loyal until he left the Metro without even saying goodbye or an ‘its been great boys!’ or a simple ‘I love you’ to us. . . no, James Iha left the Metro that night without saying goodbye to the two people he had won and lost and traveled the world with.”

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Regardless of the backstage tension, the Smashing Pumpkins put on a stellar career retrospective show that night. It ended with a thirty-minute rendition of “Silverfuck” that culminated with Corgan crying, and right before that they played “1979.” Here’s a video of that performance.


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