I would like to include a friend named Jay’s recollection of a Smashing Pumpkins show.
Pumpkin Love ok, without further adieu, here’s my story. I dated a girl that was from Chicago for 3 years, and we went to the big city to visit her family at least once a year. we ordered our plane tickets about 6 months in advance so we knew that we were going to be there in july of 1998.
Around April or May, I heard a report that the pumpkins were going to play a free concert at soldier field to celebrate their 10th anniversary. at this time, I was probably a bigger pumpkins fan than I had ever been to that point….mainly because adore had just come out and all the people I knew who liked them during Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie started to diss them by saying their new album sucked and they hated Billy..yadda yadda yadda.
This really made me pull into them more and more as I was constantly having to defend them and, literally, fighting people at the record store I worked at to keep the adore disc on regular rotation in our store stereo. So anyway, I heard this news about them playing this free show at soldier field during the time we were going to be there, so I naturally freaked out and was determined to get my tickets as soon as possible.
Well, the city would not let them do it, so they eventually moved it to the new world music theater in tinley park. I was so excited the day of the show that I could hardly sit still. so we get there and Cheap Trick is the opening band (not bad eh?) and they are well-received of course since they are the original Chicago band. then the Pumpkins take the stage and the place goes freakin’ nuts. I knew it was going to be a great show because they always blow it out for the hometownfolks. Sorry if my story’s dragging here. anyway, the Pumpkins are rawking out, the crowd’s going apeshit, and I’ve had a few beers so I’m feeling pretty good.
At this time, I didn’t know that the proceeds from the tour were being donated to sick children’s charities (namely the make-a-wish foundation if I’m not mistaken), so after they’ve played 6 or 7 songs, this lady walks out onstage with a couple of little bald-headed cancer-patient kids.
Billy tells the story about how they’re giving this money to the children and they’ve been put in this position by the fans and they want to use their stature to help others. So Billy then presents this little kid (couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old) with a check for $500,000 or something like that and the little kid says “Thank you billy and thank you to The Smashing Pumpkins” in a real sweet little voice. I look around me, and all of the girls are already crying….but I’m not quite there yet.
Then, the lady with the kids says into the microphone “and now Billy, we’ve got something for you.”
At that moment, about 30 little bald children come walking out from the right-hand side of the stage and line up in 3 rows of 10 like a little choir.
Well, my eyes start welling up as soon as i see these kids walk onstage, and i look at Billy and he’s crying too.
Then the kids start singing “today is the greatest day i’ve ever known”…..Billy nods his head to D’arcy and they start playing the music to accompany the kids, which surprises the kids and several of them get these huge grins on their faces as they sing the next verse…….”can’t live for tomorrow i might not have that long.”
By this point, everyone in sight is crying and I realize that the tears are just pouring down my face because this whole thing just really hits me very deeply and is so touching and moving. The kids finally finish singing and the crowd is just completely silent for a second before erupting into a roar that I’ve never heard the equivalent of at any football game I’ve ever been to.
The kids start jumping around onstage because they’re so happy and then Billy hugs them all, and as they leave the stage it really hits me why I love this band so much.
Who else would do something like this y’know?
So from that day on, anytime anyone has ever talked trash about Billy or the Pumpkins around me, I’ve told them that story and, every time, they say something like “wow, that is really cool.” It was just a beautiful beautiful thing that made me realize just how much the Pumpkins care.