The Smashing Pumpkins kicked off their co-headlining North American tour with Noel Gallagher last week, playing a set heavy on classics like “Today,” “1979,” “Cherub Rock” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” However, One surprise came near the end of the night when they played the Machina/The Machines of God deep cut “Blue Skies Bring Tears” for the first time since 2007, and another came earlier in the show when they performed a cover of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” It marked the first time they’d ever done the song, which has now become a staple of their current trek.
Much like their classic cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” Billy Corgan and company took a classic 1970s ballad and gave it the full Pumpkins treatment. It begins with a nearly two-minute instrumental jam before Corgan starts singing the song and ends with a guitar solo.
In 2018, the Smashing Pumpkins reunited with estranged guitarist James Iha for the first time since the original band broke up in 2000. (Original drummer Jimmy Chamberlain re-joined the group in 2015.) Attempts were made to bring back bassist D’arcy Wretzky for a complete reunion of the classic lineup, but they broke down when Wretzky went public with a series of private text exchanges between her and Corgan. She also gave an interview where she said he “may have a brain tumor.”
“I think what she did demonstrates why she couldn’t be involved,” Corgan told the New York Times in 2018. “I was vulnerable and shared things and trusted that there was a reason to give it a chance, despite plenty of empirical evidence that that was not a wise decision.”
Even without Wretzky, the Pumpkins still played a very successful reunion tour last year that lead to their new Rick Rubin-produced album Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. Their tour with Noel Gallagher wraps up August 31st at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California.